Trump is now embracing a pandemic strategy that unless first contained and in the absence of a vaccine, dooms countless Americans to die from COVID19.
White House officials have promoted a declaration supporting herd immunity that has reportedly been signed by fake names, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
In a Monday phone call, White House officials cited the Great Barrington Declaration, which argues that the government should push for herd immunity with more infections among the healthy population, according to two senior administration officials.
Supporters of the declaration use it to argue against lockdowns and more reopenings during the pandemic.
“Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” the declaration states.
“The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.”
The declaration has been signed by 445,902 concerned citizens, 9,510 medical and public health scientists and 25,049 medical practitioners, according to its website. But Sky News found last week that dozens of fake names had signed the document, including “Dr. I.P. Freely“, “Dr. Person Fakename” and “Dr. Johnny Bananas“, just to name a few.
Another signatory called himself “Dr. Harold Shipman“, a general practitioner in the United Kingdom. In 1998, a man named Harold Shipman was arrested after killing more than 200 of his patients.
The declaration was also signed by at least 18 self-declared homeopaths who signed as medical practitioners and 100 therapists, including massage therapists, hypnotherapists and psychotherapists.
Several health experts expressed concerns that the declaration is misrepresenting the size of the medical community’s support for the herd immunity approach, estimating that less than 10 percent of the U.S. population had developed coronavirus antibodies to fight the virus, countering the argument that the U.S. has reached or is close to reaching herd immunity, according to the Times.
Fauci: The death toll would be enormous
If the U.S. allowed the coronavirus to spread unchecked in an attempt to try to achieve so-called herd immunity, the “death toll would be enormous,” White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci warned when questioned on the possibility of allowing the U.S. to adapt a “Herd Immunity’ strategy.
“If everyone contracted it, even with the relatively high percentage of people without symptoms … a lot of people are going to die,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told actor Matthew McConaughey during a live discussion on Instagram.
According to epidemiologists, herd immunity is necessary to contain a virus and is reached when enough of the population is either vaccinated or survive infection and build antibodies to ward of new infections. The virus then doesn’t have enough hosts to infect.
Americans tend to have more underlying conditions, such as cardiovascular problems, diabetes and obesity, that lead to more serious cases and even death from the coronavirus.
Most scientists believe that to achieve herd immunity, 60% to 80% of the population would need to be vaccinated or have natural antibodies to be successful, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program, said recently.
Complicating the issue is news of an increasing number of relapses; cases of previously infected patients infected with COVID19 for a second time, with more serious symptoms the second time around.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the herd immunity approach on Monday “simply unethical,” saying it “is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it.”