TODAY'S PAPER
45° Good Morning
45° Good Morning
NewsHealthCoronavirus

Fauci criticizes concept of 'herd immunity'

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, speaks at a Senate hearing on Sept. 23.   Credit: AP / Graeme Jennings

WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday criticized a declaration by a group of scientists that supports the concept of "herd immunity," which the White House is using to bolster a push to reopen schools and businesses.

Fauci says backing herd immunity — the idea that a disease will stop spreading once nearly everybody has contracted it — is "nonsense."

The top U.S. infectious disease expert says: "If you talk to anybody who has any experience in epidemiology and infectious diseases, they will tell you that that is risky and you’ll wind up with many more infections of vulnerable people, which will lead to hospitalizations and death," he told ABC’s "Good Morning America." "So I think that we’ve just got to look that square in the eye and say it’s nonsense."

The United States leads the world with 7.9 million coronavirus cases and nearly 217,000 confirmed deaths. Globally, there have been 38 million reported cases and 1.09 million confirmed deaths.

Later in the day, President Donald Trump took some of his most overt swipes yet at Fauci while campaigning in North Carolina.

Trump was defending his administration’s response to the pandemic, as he generally does at his rallies.

He offered a reminder that Fauci at one point said that people should not wear a mask. The doctor has said that an early recommendation about not wearing a mask was because there was a shortage of personal protective equipment for health professionals at the time. He has since called for universal mask wearing.

A note to our community:

As a public service, this article is available for all. Newsday readers support our strong local journalism by subscribing.  Please show you value this important work by becoming a subscriber now.

SUBSCRIBE

Cancel anytime

Trump called Fauci a nice guy, "so I keep him around."

But he also described Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, as a Democrat. "Everybody knows that. He’s Cuomo’s friend," Trump says, a reference to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Fauci has been studiously apolitical over a five-decade career in public health. The doctor has expressed dismay that the president used his comments in a campaign ad and says his comments were taken out of context.

A note to our community:

As a public service, this article is available for all. Newsday readers support our strong local journalism by subscribing.  Please show you value this important work by becoming a subscriber now.

SUBSCRIBE

Cancel anytime

Health