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Health experts say the ‘herd of immunity’ strategy will kill thousands

Public health experts are increasingly alarmed that the Trump administration is increasingly embracing scientists arguing against lockdowns and restrictions as a way to control the pandemic coronavirus.

Those scientists maintain that the costs of social locking and closing schools and businesses are greater than their anti-virus benefits. In a document known as the Great Barrington Declaration, signed earlier this month, they adopted a concept known as “herd immunity,” in which a population develops sufficient resistance to a pathogen that is depleted by victims to infect.

In a call to reporters on Monday, two senior White House officials cited the declaration, author of the part of an economist with close ties to Scott Atlas, the radiologist who became one of Trump̵

7;s chief advisers in pandemic coronavirus.

But to public health experts, allowing the virus to run its lethal and destructive course is an unacceptable choice that will lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths in addition to the 217,000 Americans who have contracted the disease.

“If you just let things get loose and let go of the infection, no masks, crowd, it doesn’t make any difference, which honestly, George, is ridiculous,” he said. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciTrump asked questions about coronavirus, conspiracy theories in the town hall fight Chris Christie said he was “wrong” not to wear a face mask at White House Overnight Health Care: Got Georgia approval for Medicaid employment requirements, partial expansion | McConnell broke the .8 trillion coronavirus deal MORE, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert Stephanopoulos Six takeaways from Trump and Biden’s dueling town hall Biden gets a sharp contrast to Trump in the low-key city hall that Biden left the door open to add Supreme Court justices MORE on ABC’s “Good Morning America” ​​on Thursday.

“You will be exposed to many more infections by vulnerable people, leading to hospitals and deaths. So I think we should just look at that square in the eye and say nonsense,” Fauci added.

In a statement on Thursday, groups such as the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the American Public Health Association, the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health and the Public Health Institute condemned the declaration and the flaws in the arguments. its.

“Covid-19 carries a higher risk of serious illness and death than other infections where herd immunity is attempted before a vaccine is used,” the groups said. “It makes no sense to ignore public health and scientific evidence if so many lives are at stake.”

Some experts point to an underlying flaw in the declaration: An assumption that a person recovered from the coronavirus will be immune to future re-exposure.

“We don’t really understand coronavirus immunology enough to know if it will be minor, moderate or major concern,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Prevention at the University of Minnesota. “We’ve learned a lot about Covid-19 over the past seven months, and we still have a lot to learn.”

Early signs do not promise. A study written by scientists at Seoul National University College of Medicine in South Korea and published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta showed antibodies to people recovering from the virus have weakened significantly over the months after they become infected, a sign that the body is not maintaining long-term immunity.

At least three people in the United States have been infected after first recovering from the virus. Doctors at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle identified a third patient, who spent more than 40 days in the hospital before re-inventing a new virus a few months ago.

Scientists have recorded about two dozen people around the world who have been infected more than once.

The herd safety approach – a term derived from the animal – also relies on the assumption that few younger people will experience serious symptoms of the disease. But nearly 30 percent of Americans have underlying conditions that can exacerbate the virus, Fauci said.

Others have been directed at a large number of younger and healthier people experiencing more mild, but longer symptoms. The so-called long-haulers, people who struggle to recover for weeks and months, show significant abnormalities in the heart and lungs, a sign that even a mild case of the virus can last a lifetime consequences.

Between 10 and 20 percent of younger confirmed coronavirus patients have been in the camp for a long time, and scientists have not yet discovered why some people fight the virus for such long periods of time.

“Letting this matter run in vain in that group only invites an epidemic of haulers disease,” Osterholm said.

The Great Barrington Declaration is a scientific fig leaf, experts say, giving Americans the fatigue and anxiety to go about their daily lives, which some have called “pandemic” fatigue. “

But it comes as the number of daily cases begins to rise again, and is large in many areas. The United States averaged more than 50,000 new infections a day last week, and the models show a steady increase in infections in the Midwestern and Great Plains states that penetrate south and west.

Models told PolicyLab at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital on Wednesday that they expect the infection rates to increase significantly over the next four weeks. Forecasts are increasingly disturbing in cities like Charlotte, Dallas and Atlanta, where hospitalization is on the rise.

“We are constantly waiting for signs that the fall of autumn, which began in the High Midwest, could reach a plateau,” said David Rubin, director of PolicyLab. “But positive test rates continue to rise in the country’s hotspots and coronavirus-related hospitals are rising in 44 out of 50 states.”

What looks more like a third peak of infections could lead to fewer deaths than the first two zeniths in April and again in the summer. Doctors and hospitals have become more adept at treating patients, both with pharmacists reducing the mortality rate and through practices such as relieving those with severe abdominal pain.

But even with lower death rates, many cases will mean thousands more deaths.

“We have really improved our outcomes in relation to acute illness,” Osterholm said. But, he warned, the Barrington document “is a dangerous mix of pixie dust and pseudoscience.”

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