Frieden was responding to recent efforts to promote herd immunity as an answer to Covid-19. The idea is being pushed by those eager to stop the economic damage the pandemic has caused.
White House senior administration officials, in a call with reporters Monday, discussed a controversial declaration written by scientists that advocates for such an approach.
But the idea is “a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence” that risks “significant morbidity and mortality across the whole population,” 80 scientists from around the world wrote in an open letter.
“Any infection anywhere is potentially a threat somewhere else because even if you feel fine and get over it with no problems, no long-term consequences, you might spread it to someone who dies from it. And that’s what we’re seeing all over the country,” Frieden said.
It is impossible to keep just the vulnerable protected from the spread, Frieden said. And letting the virus run rampant would likely lead to recurring epidemics because there is no evidence that people are protected long-term after they have been infected, according to the letter.
The best way to achieve widespread immunity, Frieden said, will be through a vaccine.
“The concept (of herd immunity) really comes from vaccines,” Frieden said. “When you vaccinate enough people, the disease stops spreading, and that might be 60%, 80%, 90% for different diseases.”
Heavy impacts across the country
There has been an uptick in new cases across the country in recent days, suggesting that a predicted second wave has arrived.
South Dakota reported its highest single day increase with 876 new cases on Wednesday, according to the state’s health department. And Pennsylvania has reported at least 1,000 new cases a day for nine days in a row, according to state health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear told reporters Wednesday that he thinks the state is in its “third escalation” of coronavirus.
And along with rising cases, Missouri reported a record 1,413 hospitalizations from the virus on Tuesday, according to the Missouri Department of Health.
As cases have risen in Tennessee, the virus is having a greater impact on older residents, and people in rural populations have been reporting a death rate double that of those in urban areas, Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey announced Wednesday.
“That means this is no longer limited to younger people or college-aged students who are out and about, this is now hitting those of us in middle age, and those of us at higher risk and so I think that’s important for you to note,” Piercey said.
“I want folks to internalize the fact that those of us who just live and go about our normal daily lives are at risk of this and need to pay close attention,” Piercey added.
Political leaders and other officials at risk
The daily dealings of some politicians have been impacted as they have been exposed to the virus’ spread.
President Donald Trump is no longer a transmission risk after contracting the virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday, but the people around him may still be.
“I can’t vouch for anybody else that’s there — whether they’ve been tested or whether they’ve been careful in…