COVID-19: Watch for a New White House Push for Herd Immunity

If all the deaths come after the election -- no problem!

A Washington Post article highlighted the growing influence of Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist from Stanford's conservative Hoover Institution, after being seen by President Trump as a commentator on Fox News. He now works at the White House. 

Very basically he is advocating that the United States give up on testing and isolation and go instead for herd immunity. This is a strategy that Sweden has taken. 

The estimate is that somewhere between 20% and 70% of the population need to become infected with the virus to achieve herd immunity. Today we just crossed the 6 million mark of infections and by COB today we will be over 180,000 deaths.

The Washington Post estimates that with a population of 328 million in the United States, it may require 2.13 million deaths to reach a 65% threshold of herd immunity, assuming a 1 percent fatality rate. 

In World War I, the combatants never looked at the "acceptable number of casualties" as a measure for their tactics. "Casualties topped 1 million, including the deaths of more than 300,000. British troops sustained 420,000 casualties — including 125,000 deaths — during the Battle of the Somme. The casualties also included 200,000 French troops and 500,000 German soldiers."

Herd immunity at what cost? It has a magical quality to it. An instant solution to a complex problem that hopefully won't impact the decision-maker. 

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
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