White House officials support paper urging herd immunity approach to COVID-19 

The White House stood behind a declaration from a group of scientists advocating for a herd immunity approach to managing COVID-19, The New York Times reports.

The paper, titled The Great Barrington Declaration, argued governments should allow the virus to spread across a young population while protecting elderly and vulnerable patients. 

Experts believe the U.S. is far from achieving herd immunity, estimating up to 90 percent of the American population is still susceptible to the virus, according to data cited by the Times. 

Two White House officials spoke anonymously on a call Oct. 12, bringing up the paper. The paper was created after a meeting hosted by the libertarian-leaning American Institute for Economic Research. 

The paper states: "Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection." 

Two notable signees — scientists Sunetra Gupta and Gabriela Gomes — have argued herd immunity would be possible if 10 percent to 20 percent of a population has been infected with the virus. The Times said most epidemiologists disagree with that, with Christopher Murray, MD, director of the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, telling the Times that the idea herd immunity could happen at that percent was "nonsense." 

Read the entire article here

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