Person Appointed By Trump Calls For “Collective Immunity” Approach To Fight Covid – Report | Coronavirus

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A senior White House representative at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) urged health officials in July to double down on adopting a “herd immunity” approach to tackling the pandemic of Covid-19, writing ‘we want [Americans] infected ”.

Paul Alexander, former assistant to HHS deputy press secretary Michael Caputo and known herd immunity advocate, wrote Caputo an email on July 4 – as virus cases increased in the Sun Belt – setting out its arguments in favor of collective immunity.

“Allow the nation to develop antibodies. Infants, children, adolescents, youth, young adults, middle-aged with no conditions, etc. have zero risk with little risk… So we use them to develop a herd… we want them to be infected, ”Alexander wrote in the email, which was obtained and published by Politico.

Public health experts have said throughout the pandemic that a herd immunity strategy will lead to a crushing health system and many more deaths from the virus. While children and young adults tend to have milder cases of the virus, that doesn’t mean they are completely immune to the virus’s more serious effect. A study of 3,000 adults aged 18 to 34 found that 21% ended up in intensive care.

The emails are surfacing as part of a House investigation into White House interference in the work of career scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

James Clyburn, the U.S. Democratic representative leading the investigation, lobbied the HHS to cooperate with the investigation, citing growing evidence that those appointed by Trump were meddling in advice and public information from the CDC, seeking to lessen the appearance of the severity of the virus. diffusion.

Last week, Clyburn posted a partial transcript of testimony from a CDC official who said she and others were instructed to delete an email from Alexander saying the CDC’s weekly report to the scientific community “is designed to harm this Presidnet for their sake that I’m not interested in,” apparently misspelled global “president.”

In a statement, HHS said Clyburn “is not acting in good faith” and is deliberately trying to portray the department in a bad light.

While HHS Secretary Alex Azar tried to sideline the department from ideas of collective immunity, claiming in October that “collective immunity is not the strategy of the US government,” Trump as recently as October suggested the strategy would make the virus go away. .

“It would go away without the vaccine … Over time it will go away and you will probably develop a herd mentality,” Trump told George Stephanopoulos in October, perhaps confusing the phrase with “herd immunity.” “It will be a developed herd, and it will happen.”

A former senior CDC official told Politico that Alexander represented the views of the White House to the HHS. “It was understood he was speaking on behalf of Michael Caputo, who spoke for the White House,” said Kyle McGowan, a former CDC chief of staff who left the agency over the summer.

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