How many scientists are there within our countries’ leadership circles with the dangerous view that children and young people should attend school in order to help our nations reach herd immunity before having a vaccine that finally protects our populations?

First published in December 2020.

Herd immunity at all costs

To speed up the spread of Covid-19 among the youngest individuals in society, Dr Paul Alexander, a former Trump administration official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), repeatedly encouraged the adoption of a strategy to infect as many young people as possible to achieve “herd immunity”.  

According to documents and emails released by members of the House of RepresentativesSelect Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, the McMaster University professor explicitly endorsed allowing the virus to spread widely among “infants, kids, teens, young people, young adults, middle aged with no conditions etc.,” adding, “we use them to develop herd... we want them infected.”  

This is despite the Administration publicly denying repeatedly that they had adopted the herd immunity approach.

More surprising is that, even though Dr Alexander advocated for letting the coronavirus spread widely, the evidence obtained by the Select Subcommittee shows that he privately acknowledged to colleagues that the Trump administration “always knew” that those policies would fail to stop the spread of the virus and that “cases will rise” as a result of it.  

Examples of Dr Alexander’s emails sent to senior officials at HHS to try to convince them:

Proof of Dr Alexander’s influence on the White House? Following these emails, the Select Subcommittee notes, President Trump publicly expressed support for pursuing herd immunity, stating for instance in an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on 31 August 2020, “Once you get to a certain number, you know — we use the word ‘herd’, right? Once you get to a certain number, it’s going to go away.”

Trump repeated the assertion during an ABC News town hall in Pennsylvania on 14 September 2020, saying, “You’ll develop herd — like a herd mentality... It’s going to be herd-developed, and that’s going to happen.”

“Achieving herd immunity before a vaccine is widely available — which requires a very large portion of the population to get infected with the coronavirus — has been widely rejected by scientists as a dangerous approach that would lead to the deaths of several hundred thousand Americans at a minimum,” Representative James Clyburn, chairman of the panel, writes in the Select Subcommittee memo.

“In the worst case (for example, if we do not perform physical distancing or enact other measures to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2), the virus can infect this many people in a matter of a few months,” John Hopkins University explains. “This would overwhelm our hospitals and lead to high death rates.”

The downfall

Dr Alexander didn’t just stop at encouraging and promoting his herd immunity strategy at the top of power, “he also sought to promote public messages that downplayed the danger posed by the virus, attempted to blame public health officials for the pandemic, and tried to discredit scientists such as Dr Anthony Fauci who told Americans the truth about the virus — with the apparent goal of helping President Trump win reelection,” according to the Select Subcommittee findings.

It failed.

Dr Paul Alexander eventually left his position in the Trump administration in September after a string of emails published by Politico and the Washington Post showed how he had attempted to silence scientists working on the coronavirus pandemic (such as Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases), to make them change their ‘inconvenient’ reports to downplay the seriousness of the pandemic in order to support Donald Trump’s narrative, he also demanded the power to edit Covid-19 documents from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and accused CDC employees of attempting to “hurt” Trump.

In an interview he later gave to the Toronto Globe and Mail, he explained that he had been “pushing the CDC to make their reports more upbeat so people would feel more confident going out and spending money,” and that to him, “agencies should not contradict any president’s policy.”

Remember the time we were told that our political leaders were following the science?

Donald Trump. | Flickr - The White House

On children, schools, and coronavirus...

As they return to national lockdown before Christmas, a number of European countries, such as Germany, France, and the Netherlands, have decided to close schools early to prevent more infections during the holidays.

In recent months, a number of new studies have been finding links between children going to school and increases in the number of infections. In many cases, such as a recent study in England by Imperial College London, school-age children have even become the most affected age group, which the authors of this particular study say it could be linked to schools remaining open during the second UK lockdown in November.

Children may transmit coronavirus at the same rate as adults – What we now know about schools and COVID-19.
The risk associated with schools is tied to the level of community transmission. The more community transmission there is, the more transmission there will be in schools.

After learning about Dr Paul Alexander’s views on herd immunity and his influence on the Trump administration, the U.S. Covid-19 strategy, and Donald Trump himself, a question must be asked: How many more ‘Dr Alexanders’ are there within our countries’ leadership circles with the dangerous view that children and young people should attend school in order to help our nations reach herd immunity before having a vaccine that finally protects our populations?🔷

Further Reading:

J.N. PAQUET, Editor of PMP Magazine.


Check their Voting Record:

🗳️ Donald Trump

🗳️ Jim Clyburn

[This piece was first published in PMP Magazine on 17 December 2020. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

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(Cover: Jeffrey L. Meyer. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)