Dr. Birx denies 'herd immunity' policy idea

White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx on Wednesday flatly rejected reports that a so-called 'herd immunity' strategy was being considered at the White House.

Dr. Birx told reporters at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, Michigan that American lives were non-negotiable for the sake of herd immunity.

"Neither I, nor anybody in the administration, is willing to sacrifice American lives for herd immunity. We'll get to herd immunity through a vaccine and that's the right way to do it."

She was responding to news reports that new White House pandemic advisor Scott Atlas, who is a Stanford University Hoover Institution fellow, had advocated for the Trump administration to lift all social and business restrictions aimed at stopping infections from spreading.

So called herd immunity is created when enough individuals have been infected and become immune, making it harder for the virus to spread.

The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told MSNBC on Wednesday that the White House was not using a "herd immunity" strategy and was relying on identification of COVID-19 cases, isolation and contact tracing.

Economic shutdowns and measures such as extensive testing and social distancing have curbed the virus' spread in many countries. Others, like Sweden, have attempted to let the outbreak run its course in the hopes of creating herd immunity.

Sweden and the United States are both among the nations with the highest rate of coronavirus-related deaths per capita.

Video Transcript

- US Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, on Wednesday flatly rejected reports that a, so-called, Herd immunity strategy was being considered at the White House. Dr. Birx told reporters at Saint Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, Michigan that American lives were non-negotiable for the sake of herd immunity.

DEBORAH BIRX: Neither I or anybody in the administration is willing to sacrifice American lives for herd immunity. We'll get to herd immunity through a vaccine, and that's the right way to do it.

- She was responding to news reports that the new White House Pandemic Advisors, Scott Atlas, who is a Stanford University Hoover Institution Fellow, had advocated for the Trump Administration to lift all social and business restrictions aimed at stopping infections from spreading. Herd immunity is created when enough individuals have been infected and become immune, making it harder for the virus to spread.

The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told MSNBC on Wednesday that the White House was not using a herd immunity strategy and was relying on identification of COVID-19 cases, isolation, and contact tracing. Economic shutdowns and measures such as extensive testing and social distancing, have curbed the virus' spread in many countries. Others, like Sweden, have attempted to let the outbreak run its course in the hopes of creating herd immunity. Sweden and the United States are both among the nations with the highest rate of coronavirus related deaths per capita.