- During an ABC News town hall Tuesday night, President Donald Trump pointed out herd immunity but mistakenly labeled the controversial coronavirus strategy a "herd mentality".
- "You're going to develop like a herd mentality, it's going to be developed by a herd, and that's going to happen," he said.
- Herd immunity is when enough of a population is immune to a virus and stops its transmission.
- However, health experts have warned against this approach in the absence of a vaccine, as it could cause hundreds of thousands more deaths.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday touted a controversial and potentially deadly strategy to fight the coronavirus pandemic – and misspelled it.
"It would go away without the vaccine," Trump said during an ABC News town hall of the disease.
"Over time, it will go away with time and you will develop, you will develop like a herd mentality, it will develop from a herd and that will happen. It will all happen." he added.
Trump appeared to be talking about the herd immunity, which occurs when a sufficient population has developed resistance to a virus – whether through exposure or through a vaccine – to stop the spread. This method involves spreading the disease through young and healthy people and protecting vulnerable groups such as the elderly.
Sweden took this approach and did not close in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus. There were far more deaths than in neighboring countries that have imposed lockdowns.
—ABC News (@ABC) September 16, 2020
Top health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, have strongly advised the Trump administration against the herd immunity strategy.
"As you know, Dr. Fauci disagrees with this," ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos told Trump during City Hall.
"But a lot of people agree with me. They're looking at Scott Atlas," Trump replied, referring to his new coronavirus advisor, who has no background in epidemiology or infectious diseases, and has reportedly pushed for the idea to be implemented. "Look at some of the other doctors, they think maybe we could have done this from the start."
"But with a vaccine, I think it'll go away very quickly, but I really think we're going around the corner," added Trump.
Trump also reiterated several discussion points on his coronavirus response as he answered questions from voters. Claiming that the US has the highest case number in the world because its testing rate outperforms other countries, he insisted that he did not downplay the severity of the disease, despite admitting on tape to journalist Bob Woodward that he did just that have.