Dr. Anthony Foci, a leading infectious disease specialist, warned against using herd immunity due to widespread infection as a means of fighting the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that “you are going to end up with many dead people.”
Foci, who is a member of the White House Task Force COVID-19, spoke with host Margaret Hoover during a speech on PBS ‘ Fire line Friday night. He discussed at length how the country was responding to the ongoing pandemic, including how the United States could eventually stop the coronavirus.
As one possibility, Hoover asked Foci about the Barrington Grand Declaration, a petition signed by more than 10,000 scientists that states that blocking COVID-19 “has devastating consequences for the short-term and long-term health of the population.”;
The petition, co-authored by professors of medicine from Harvard, Oxford and Stanford universities, instead argues for an approach called “targeted defense.” The method advocates for the protection of the most vulnerable to the coronavirus and that the rest of the population should be “allowed to resume life as usual immediately.”
The White House accepted the declaration, Hoover said, but Fauci said it was impossible to fully protect the country’s most vulnerable population. Although the immunologist said that imposing regular rounds of blockade, similar to those observed earlier this year, “is not a solution,” he also thought that the United States could suddenly save “a significant proportion” of Americans.
The statement, according to Fauci, suggests that state and health officials “are doing nothing to block the infection,” such as introducing face mask mandates and social distancing measures, as the focus will be on creating measures to protect people who are in long-term care facilities.
This is problematic because up to 30 percent of the total population falls into the “vulnerable” category – meaning they will face serious consequences if they become infected with the coronavirus, including hospitalization and even death, Fauci said.
“So if you think you have the ability – which we’ve shown so far that we can’t do – to suddenly magically protect all obese people, people with diabetes, people with hypertension, people with chronic lung disease, – said Fauci, “I say, and many, many, many of my health colleagues say that if you think you’re going to do that, you’re going to get a lot of dead people.”
“And that’s what we really want to avoid.”
The authors of the Barrington Grand Declaration acknowledged that “the entire population will eventually achieve herd immunity,” and therefore the goal should be “to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.”
Earlier in the interview, Foci mentioned that the idea of ”boosting the herd’s immunity” by a widespread infection “poses a great danger” and is “not a reliable way” of long-term protection, as the rate of reinfection is not yet known.
Despite the declaration that mortality and social harm should be minimized before achieving herd immunity, one of the co-authors, Dr. Martin Kulldorf, said earlier News weekly e-mail that they “do not advocate a” herd immunity strategy.
Herd immunity is not a strategy, but a scientifically proven phenomenon like gravity, and you wouldn’t say that an airplane pilot uses a “gravity strategy” to land an airplane. No matter what strategy is used, we will reach the herd’s immunity sooner or later. , just as the plane will reach the ground one way or another, “Kulldorf wrote.
Foci discussed the current state of the pandemic in the United States, telling Hoover, “that we are not in a place where I would hope we would be.”
The United States averages 50,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day, and most states have seen an increase in cases over the past week. Foci hoped that the country would begin to see a baseline daily infection rate of “even less than 10,000,” but the United States seemed to be moving “in the opposite direction.”
The cold months of autumn and winter present new challenges for the pandemic as more people move to areas where the virus is more likely to spread. “Every time you deal with a respiratory infection, it always makes it more problematic,” Foci said.
The health official really hoped for a vaccine, predicting that Americans are likely to receive ads by the end of the calendar year, but the degree of effectiveness is not yet known.
Foci predicted that “some aspect” of the coronavirus would remain here, that it would “not just disappear.” But by combining appropriate global health measures with an effective vaccine taken by the majority of the population, “we could get the level of infection so low that … it loses its force.”
“I don’t think we’re going to eradicate this, but I think we can get much better control than we have now, with a well-established vaccine and proper health measures,” Fauci said.