Quotes of the Day: “We want them infected.”. “Who cares.” “Every time that the science clashed with the messaging, messaging won.”
In the December 16, 2020 edition of Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson exposes the insanity, the utter indifference, the intentional poisoning present in the WH’s response to the pandemic. Following are excerpts relevant to the deranged Trumpist pursuit of “herd immunity.”
The reality that Joe Biden is about to become president and Kamala Harris is about to become vice president is sinking in across Washington, and today gave us some indications of what that’s going to mean.
Stories about what exactly happened in the Trump administration are coming out, and they are not pretty. Politics trumped everything for members of the administration, even our lives.
Today Representative James Clyburn (D-SC), who chairs the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, revealed documents from senior appointees in the Trump administration overriding the work of the career officials in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those documents show that the political appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services called for dealing with the coronavirus crisis by pursuing a strategy of “herd immunity,” deliberately spreading the coronavirus to try to infect as many people as possible, with the theory that this approach would minimize the dangers of the pandemic. While doing so, they downplayed what they were doing, tried to hide the dangers of the virus, and blamed the career scientists who objected to this strategy for the rising death rates.
Although the White House has tried to distance itself from senior Health and Human Services Adviser Paul Alexander, last summer he was widely perceived to speak for his boss Michael Caputo, the Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs whom Trump had appointed, and for the White House itself. Alexander, a part-time university professor from Canada, defended Trump against scientists, accusing CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat of lying when she provided accurate public information about the worsening pandemic. When she suggested everyone should wear a mask, he claimed: “her aim is to embarrass the President.” Alexander attacked Anthony Fauci for his attempts to protect Americans. “He just won’t stop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” wrote Alexander on July 3, 2020 (yes, I counted the exclamation points); “does he think he is the President???”
Alexander advocated spreading the infection to younger Americans: “So the bottom line is if it is more infectiouness [sic] now, the issue is who cares? If it is causing more cases in young, my word is who cares…as long as we make sensible decisions, and protect the elderely [sic] and nursing homes, we must go on with life….who cares if we test more and get more positive tests.”
Alexander wrote to Caputo: “There is no other way, we need to establish herd, and it only comes about allowing the non-high risk groups expose themselves to the virus. PERIOD.” On the same day, he wrote: “Infants, kids, teens, young people, young adults, middle aged with no conditions etc. have zero to little risk….so we use them to develop herd…we want them infected…”
On July 24, he wrote to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Caputo: “it may be that it will be best if we open up and flood the zone and let the kids and young folk get infected” as a strategy to get “natural immunity…natural exposure,” an argument that illuminates Trump’s insistence this summer that schools and colleges must open.
But the idea that young people are safe from the virus is wrong. Today, an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that while Americans older than 65 have borne the brunt of the coronavirus, young adults are suffering terribly. From March through July, there were almost 12,000 more deaths than expected among adults from 25 to 44. Young Black and Hispanic Americans make up not just a disproportionate number of that group of victims; they are a majority. Those extraordinary death rates have continued. Younger adults are indeed endangered by the coronavirus; the idea it is harmless to them “has simply not been borne out by emerging data,” doctors Jeremy Samuel Faust, Harlan M. Krumholz, and Rochelle P. Walensky—Biden’s pick to run the CDC– wrote in the New York Times today.
Another report today showcases two former CDC political appointees who are now speaking out to call attention to the silencing of career scientists at the agency. Kyle McGowan, a former chief of staff at the CDC, and his deputy Amanda Campbell watched as political appointees in Washington ignored scientists, censored doctors’ messages to the public, and cut the agency’s budget. “It was… like a hand grasping something, and it slowly closes, closes, closes, closes until you realize that, middle of the summer, it has a complete grasp on everything at the CDC,” McGowan told New York Times reporter Noah Weiland. “Every time that the science clashed with the messaging, messaging won.”
Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize winning fact-checking website from the Poynter Institute, named the downplaying and denial of the seriousness of coronavirus its “Lie of the Year.”