President Trump is yet again making news for another bizarre claim about the pandemic, this time borne of a malapropism.
During a town hall interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Trump claimed once again that the virus will "dispappear," but this time, we'll do it with the power of our minds: via a "herd mentality."
You can't make this stuff up.
TRUMP: It is going away STEPHANOPOULOS: Without a vaccine? TRUMP: Sure. Over a period of time S: And many deaths… https://t.co/60mWrburwl— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1600219250.0
Of course, the President presumably meant "herd immunity."
Sadly, that doesn't make his statements make all that much more sense.
Trump claimed, once again without evidence, that with time, the virus will simply "disappear." When pressed by Stephanopoulos whether that would require a vaccine, the President clarified that it will be faster with a vaccine, but either way, it's going to disappear.
Trump elaborated on his claim.
"With time it goes away... You'll develop, you'll develop herd–like a herd mentality. 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."
Even if the President meant to say "herd immunity," however, he is woefully off-base with the facts.
Herd immunity, the idea that over time, a virus will infect enough people or animals that it runs out of hosts, has been shown with multiple diseases—including the current virus being battled around the world—to be a woefully ineffective way of fighting a virus if saving lives is the goal.
We even have a present-day case study from which to learn. Sweden adopted herd immunity as its strategy to fight the pandemic, never imposing lockdowns. It ended up with far more deaths than countries that did impose lockdowns and other social-distancing procedures.
On Twitter, Trump was thoroughly roasted for the dangerous ignorance of his comments.
When Trump says "herd mentality," does he mean "herd immunity"? And if he does, in fact, mean "herd immunity," does… https://t.co/m1JcjNs4xt— Kyle Griffin (@Kyle Griffin)1600220453.0
Because no one around him *ever* corrects him, this is at least the third time Trump has spoken of the pandemic str… https://t.co/stjBB7uI0A— Robert Mackey (@Robert Mackey)1600223168.0
This is the key point. Everyone on Twitter is mocking Trump's misstatement ("herd mentality" v "herd immunity").… https://t.co/uR49eDq3Kz— Ronald Klain (@Ronald Klain)1600222401.0
"Herd Mentality" ain't a medical term, but "Advanced Dementia" is. https://t.co/aCrB03YPsC— Tea Pain (@Tea Pain)1600264435.0
He doesn't even know the proper name for the crackpot theory he's backing to kill millions of Americans It's "herd… https://t.co/JP01IuUeAx— Seth Abramson (@Seth Abramson)1600232065.0
And some couldn't help but point out how apropos Trump's seeming Freudian slip was.
Herd immunity = an epidemiological term misused by idiots who don’t want to wear masks #HerdMentality = a Trump ra… https://t.co/BGvqIH3eG7— Alex Cole (@Alex Cole)1600259192.0
Lemme take a second to laugh at the Freudian slip “herd mentality” instead of “herd immunity”. Yeah, Trump relies o… https://t.co/tcEKLns9fL— Quinn (@Quinn)1600219156.0
“Stable genius” misspoke last night. His slip of the tongue is so apropos. “Herd Mentality” is another term for “cu… https://t.co/sVJ5gQ5Juk— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@Ana Navarro-Cárdenas)1600262959.0
"Herd mentality" = what Trump hopes for in November. "Herd immunity" = >1 million Americans dead, millions more ho… https://t.co/ZzKKfBYEPL— Eric Swalwell (@Eric Swalwell)1600275163.0
Notably, Trump's own advisor for the pandemic Dr. Anthony Fauci has repeatedly dismissed herd immunity as an appropriate way of fighting the pandemic, mainly because the science indicates it is likely to result in up to three million deaths in 12 months.