Having basically surrendered to the coronavirus, Republican President Donald Trump has increasingly said that he’d like to stop focusing on COVID-19 prevention measures and instead go for “herd immunity.” The White House is even backing a petition signed by thousands of doctors around the world who support the idea.
The only problem: Many of the petition’s signers are fake, using names like “Dr. I.P. Freely, Dr. Person Fakename and Dr. Johnny Bananas,” according to TruthOut.org.
Herd immunity is a term often applied to widespread vaccine use, in this case means “allowing the virus to spread in the general population … so that allowing those least likely to be killed by the virus to return to normal life” while protecting those most vulnerable to the virus’ lethality.
While that might sound appealing, the Trump administration has shown how poorly it protects the most vulnerable—the lack of a national prevention strategy, widespread affordable testing, and Trump’s refusal to use the Defense Production Act to get manufacturers to make widely available personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers are just its most glaring failures.
Dr. Fauci says herd immunity through widespread infection—w/ vulnerable populations protected—is “really problematic.”
Up to 30% of the population is at risk and we're not suddenly able to magically protect them, he says.
“You’re going to wind up with a lot of dead people.” pic.twitter.com/BxIcqJitLh
— Firing Line with Margaret Hoover (@FiringLineShow) October 16, 2020
To promote the idea, which Trump has repeatedly mentioned on the campaign trail, the White House has shared a petitioned called The Great Barrington Declaration, promoting the idea. However, anyone can sign the petition and declare themselves as a doctor, including people who work as massage therapists, psychotherapists and homeopaths, a practice with no proven medical benefits.
Furthermore, on Monday, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the herd immunity strategy “scientifically and ethically problematic” because scientists don’t know enough about how much immunity a person gains after catching COVID-19 and how long it lasts, especially since some people have been infected by the virus more than once.
“Letting the virus circulate unchecked therefore means allowing unnecessary infections, suffering and death,” he said.
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Tucker Carlson Says COVID Vaccines Are ‘Anti-White’ as Anti-Vaxxers Train Folks to Refuse Them
On Friday’s installment of Tucker Carlson Tonight, the Fox News commentator accused the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of suggesting that COVID-19 vaccinations should be distributed based on race rather than need. Carlson’s claims was a deliberate misrepresentation of a CDC presentation on the groups most needing vaccination.
In the presentation, the CDC said that healthcare personnel, adults ages 65 and older, people with high-risk medical conditions, and essential workers would be the first to receive vaccinations.
In explaining why these groups were chosen for vaccinations first, the CDC mentioned that essential workers tend to be poor people and people of color who can’t work from home. People of color also tend to be underrepresented among people ages 65 and older (ie. They don’t typically live as long). As such, inoculating essential workers who are largely poor and people of color will help reduce healthcare inequalities among these communities.
Mind you that this was a presentation about groups in Phase 1 of the vaccine distribution list. They’re all in that group, they’re all as close to the front of the line as can be. pic.twitter.com/475LdxSmQL
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) December 19, 2020
Always eager to whip up racial resentment and outrage, Carlson explained the presentation this way:
“It is true that more lives would be saved if the elderly receive priority access to the vaccine. But here’s the problem, quote, racial and ethnic minority groups are underrepresented among adults aged 65 and older. Therefore, the elderly should not be a top priority.”
He continued, “In other words, it’s entirely racial. They’re making the decision based on race. Kathleen Dooling’s presentation concluded that doling out life-saving medicine on the basis of skin color would quote mitigate health inequities. Of course, it would kill people, and she effectively concedes that. But the people who would kill come from a disfavored race, so it’s not a big deal. It’s been a very long time since anyone close to what we would consider the mainstream has endorsed eugenics that’s exactly what that is — it’s eugenics.”
Tucker Carlson is claiming that vaccine distribution is "eugenics" against white people pic.twitter.com/z7kEI34j56
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) December 19, 2020
Media Matters writer Parker Molloy pointed out that Carlson has effectively made Dooling a target for harassment and death threats following his misrepresentation.
Democratic California Representative Eric Swalwell commented on Carlson’s falsehoods by asking, “How many people did Tucker Carlson try and kill tonight?”
How many people did Tucker Carlson try and kill tonight?
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) December 19, 2020
Atlantic science writer Ed Yong pointed out that people of color younger than age 65 are disproportionately dying from COVID-19 at higher rates, which explains why the CDC would want to inoculate them.
This paper doesn't get enough attention. It shows Black/Latino/Indigenous folks aren't just dying from Covid at higher rates than whites but are also dying *younger*.
90% of white deaths in 65+
90% of Black deaths in 55+
89% of Indigenous deaths in 45+https://t.co/klmmxIPqik
— Ed Yong (@edyong209) December 18, 2020
MSNBC commentator Chris Hayes pointed out that Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch who himself received a COVID vaccine this week.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) December 19, 2020
As Carlson peddles these dangerous distortions, anti-vaxxers are flooding Facebook and YouTube with videos training people how to refuse inoculations.
President-elect Joe Biden has said he won’t make vaccines mandatory nationwide, although employers and states may require people to get vaccinated before allowing them back into workplaces, schools and colleges, USA Today reports.
Trump’s Super-spreader Events Have Left 40 Advisers and 300 Secret Service Affected By COVID-19
Outbreaks of COVID-19 amongst Trump’s inner circle has left nearly 350 people close to him either infected with coronavirus or actively quarantining.
That includes 40 people close to Trump, including his family, aides, and staff who attended White House events like the September 26 party celebrating Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett and the Election Night party, both of which featured people not wearing masks or social distancing.
Amongst those infected were Trump’s racist policy advisor, Stephen Miller; his rabidly dishonest press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany; his birther conspiracist wife, Melania Trump; his dishonest political advisor, Kellyanne Conway; his transphobic Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson; the Republican National Committee chief of staff, Richard Walters; the president’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows; and Trump political director, Brian Jack, among others.
Additionally, 130 Secret Service officers who helped protect Trump during his largely maskless and thankfully ineffective campaign rallies have also either tested positive or are currently in quarantine after having close contact with infected co-workers, effectively sidelining “roughly 10 percent of the agency’s core security team,” according to The Washington Post.
“Trump went on a travel blitz in the final stretch of the campaign, making five campaign stops on each of the last two days,” the publication wrote. “On Nov. 2, Trump’s campaign schedule required five separate groups of Secret Service officers — each numbering 20 to several dozen.”
“Some Secret Service personnel have privately complained to colleagues that they were instructed by presidential detail agents and White House staff not to wear masks in his presence, according to two people who heard the complaints,” the Post continued.
“The number of officers who have been pulled off duty creates a major stress on an already overworked team and will force many officers to forgo days off and work longer hours to compensate for absent co-workers.”
The publication also stated that 300 Secret Service officers overall have had to quarantine or have been infected with COVID-19 since the start of March.
After White House Super-Spreader Event, GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz and 7 Trump Staff Get COVID-19
Following the recent revelation that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows tested positive for COVID-19 and attended a White House election party on Tuesday, coming into close contact with members of the president’s family and not wearing a mask for days afterwards, Republican Representative Matt Gaetz, 6 White House workers and one Trump campaign worker have all contracted COVID-19 as well, according to Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent for The New York Times.
Furthermore, Bloomberg News reports that other White House and campaign employees are upset that Meadows didn’t publicly issue a statement or tell other workers after testing positive for coronavirus, but rather just told a few close individuals within his personal circle.
While the White House Medical Unit suggests that anyone who has 15 minutes of exposure with an infected individual should be notified as a means of contact tracing — that is, tracking the virus’s potential path of infection from one person to the next — none of the upset staffers were told of Meadow’s diagnosis until much later.
After Republican President Donald Trump contracted COVID-19 near the start of October, at least 34 individuals connected to him contracted the virus soon after.
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