US coronavirus deaths surge past 200,000 amidst growing criticism of Covid-19 response

By - World Healthcare Journal

Coronavirus deaths in the United States have now surpassed more than 200,000, with no indication that they will drop off soon. Confirmed cases are also once again on the rise, with more than 52,081 new cases on 15 September, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

This grim milestone comes as US President Donald Trump announced that he is hopeful “herd mentality” will end the pandemic. His comment appears to refer to the “herd immunity” theory which has been widely discredited as it would require hundreds of millions to suffer in order to develop sufficient immunity within a population.

“Sure, over a period of time, sure. With time, it goes away,” President Trump told ABC News host, George Stephanopolous, when asked if the US could beat coronavirus without a vaccine.

Herd immunity is often referred to in vaccination programmes. Once a sufficient part of the population is vaccinated and cannot contract the virus, it becomes less likely for those who cannot take a vaccine for a disease to be infected, as there will be far fewer carriers in the general population.

However, with no functional vaccine available yet, taking a herd immunity approach to the pandemic would require the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of lives, not to mention the decimation of healthcare systems.

“You'll develop like a herd mentality,” Trump said, when challenged on the fact a herd immunity approach would require millions to contract the virus, and could potentially lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths.

“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,” he added.

However,  Dr Anthony Fauci, a White House coronavirus task force member and the Director of the NIAID, warned just last month that “herd immunity” could lead to “unacceptable” deaths.

"If everybody contracted it, even with the relatively high percentage of people without symptoms, a lot of people are going to die," Dr Fauci said on an Instagram livestream.

“If everyone got infected, the death toll would be enormous and totally unacceptable".

President Trump’s comment comes amidst rising criticism of the US’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, with polling from the Pew Research Centre over the past year indicating that the international perception of the US has fallen drastically.

Even Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, revealed his disdain for the current administration’s response to the virus.

“This has been a mismanaged situation every step of the way,” he said in an interview with STAT.

“It’s shocking. It’s unbelievable - the fact that we would be among the worst in the world. ” 

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