Donald Trump has claimed that developing a ‘herd mentality’ will make coronavirus go away. The President of the United States misspoke while pushing for herd immunity to Covid-19 during a TV chat on Tuesday night, despite his own government scientists warning the approach would cause needless deaths.
He told ABC News journalist George Stephanopoulos: ‘It would go away without the vaccine George, but it’s going to go away a lot faster with it.’ Asked to explain his comment, Trump continued: ‘Sure, over a period of time. Sure, with time it goes away..
Stephanopoulos interrupted by saying ‘And many deaths.’ But Trump ignored the remark, continuing: ‘And you’ll develop – you’ll develop herd – like a herd mentality. It’s going to be – it’s going to be herd-developed, and that’s going to happen. That will all happen.
‘But with a vaccine, I think it will go away very quickly.’
Herd immunity would see a virus being left to spread unchecked through a population. Once it has infected a certain percentage of that population, it would eventually die out as there would be so few new people to reinfect.
The United Kingdom initially attempted to go for herd immunity to coronavirus earlier this year, and estimated around 60% of the population would need to contract coronavirus to achieve it.
But its government changed course and instead opted for a harsh lockdown after one model predicted herd immunity would cause up to 500,000 deaths.
During the same town hall – which allowed members of the public to ask Trump questions – the president repeated previous claims that Covid would eventually disappear.
He said: ‘It is going to disappear. It is going to disappear. I still say it. I still say it’s going to disappear George…We’re going to get back…
‘I want to see people, you want to see people. I want to see football games…But no, it’s going to disappear George…
‘I’m not looking to be dishonest. I don’t want people to panic, and we are going to be okay.
‘We’re going to be okay, and it’s going away, and it’s probably going to go away a lot faster now because of the vaccines.’
Last week, veteran journalist Bob Woodward revealed Trump knew that coronavirus was very dangerous in February, but that the president admitted playing down the virus to try and avoid panic.
He initially likened it to a flu, and insisted it would ‘wash through’ the United States without doing much harm.
Coronavirus is now known to have infected 6.6million Americans, and killed close to 196,000.
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