President Trump said it was “terrific” that so many Americans have caught the coronavirus as he appeared to back the concept of herd immunity.
‘You develop immunity over a period of time. And I hear we’re close to 15% [of Americans], I’m hearing that, and that’s terrific, that’s a very powerful vaccine in itself,’ he told reporters on Tuesday.
Herd immunity has been largely discredited as a strategy for tackling the virus because to achieve it in a country as large as the United States would risk millions of deaths.
President Trump has said that it is “terrific” that so many Americans have caught the coronavirus because being infected is “a powerful vaccine in itself”.
Trump told reporters at a White House coronavirus vaccine event on Tuesday that “the vaccine was our goal,” before adding: “that was number one because that was the way it ends, plus you do have an immunity [sic], you develop immunity over a period of time.
“And I hear we’re close to 15% [of Americans], I’m hearing that, and that’s terrific, that’s a very powerful vaccine in itself.”
The president’s comments appeared to back the concept of herd immunity, a process by which the majority of a population become infected with a virus and subsequently develop immunity to it.
Some countries, including the UK, initially backed the idea of herd immunity but it has since been largely discredited as a means of tackling the virus, principally because to achieve it in a country as large as the United States would mean that millions of people risk dying.
There are also growing concerns about “long Covid,” a debilitating set of symptoms including fatigue and shortness of breath which many people who had coronavirus experience for months afterwards.
The US already has recorded over 280,000 deaths, according to John Hopkins University, the highest tally of coronavirus deaths in the world.
The total number of recorded cases continues to rise dramatically across the country, passing 15 million in Tuesday, per Reuters, and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that hospital admissions were at their highest rate since the start of the pandemic.
Attempts to achieve herd immunity have not been successful elsewhere. Sweden, which was almost unique in its decision not to impose lockdown measures on citizens, is currently experiencing a surge in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths and last week moved to shut high schools for a month, per Reuters.
A British woman this week became the first person in the world to receive a coronavirus vaccine, and Trump is pushing the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve the same treatment in the US.
Per Reuters, Pfizer on Tuesday moved one step closer to securing approval in the US after the FDA released documents saying that it had found no new issues with the safety of the vaccine.
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