Trump says U.S. will beat COVID-19 through 'herd mentality'

Catherine Garcia

President Trump on Tuesday said that the coronavirus will go away "with time," as Americans develop a "herd mentality."

"You'll develop, you'll develop herd, like a herd mentality," he said during ABC News' "The President and the People" town hall. "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." Trump seems to have confused "herd mentality" for "herd immunity," which is when so many people get sick from a disease that it can no longer spread quickly.

One example of unintentional herd immunity in the United States can be found at California's San Quentin Prison, where about 70 percent of staff and prisoners have been infected during coronavirus outbreaks. The death rate there has been 15 times higher than the national average, KING 5 reports, and "extrapolate that to the U.S. population at large, and 'going for herd immunity' equates to at least 2.5 million deaths — more than twice the number of all the Americans killed in all the wars since our country was founded." This does not take into consideration outcomes like permanent brain, lung, or kidney damage. As of Tuesday night, the U.S. coronavirus death toll is 195,501.

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