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The White House is embracing a ‘herd immunity’ strategy that would allow COVID-19 to spread freely and is widely disputed by scientists



Steven Mnuchin wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump at a briefing with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and the coronavirus advisor Scott Atlas in August. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images


© BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images
President Donald Trump at a briefing with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and the coronavirus advisor Scott Atlas in August. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

  • White House officials say the administration is warming to a controversial herd-immunity strategy advocated in a document called the Great Barrington Declaration. 
  • Under the strategy, those not particularly vulnerable to serious infections are allowed to live normally while the vulnerable are shielded.
  • The document is widely criticized by scientists and emphatically rejected by the World Health Organization, the UK government, and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
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The White House is embracing a controversial “herd immunity” strategy in response to the coronavirus, according to a briefing given by anonymous senior officials.

The strategy would allow the virus to spread freely with the belief that most of the population would develop a degree of immunity. It

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What the White House cluster reveals about virus’ spread

It wasn’t long after President Donald Trump and other Republicans were diagnosed with the coronavirus that people detected a common thread: All of them had been at the White House on Sept. 26.



Chris Christie et al. standing in front of a crowd


© Provided by NBC News


Numerous people who attended the event to announce the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court are known to have caught the virus. Others close to people who tested positive at the event have since also caught the virus, some of whom initially tested negative for several days after the gathering.

The emerging White House cluster is the kind of incident that infectious disease experts are focusing on as a crucial way to understand how the coronavirus spreads. They’re known as “superspreader” events.

“What gives rise to transmission is based on multiple factors, and you get the best and biggest superspreading events when all the stars align in the

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CDC updates webpage on how covid-19 is spread after Website error last month

The update follows an embarrassing incident last month when the agency removed a draft that had not gone through proper review and was posted in error. The draft’s wording included a reference to aerosols — tiny droplets that can stay in the air, potentially traveling a significant distance. Officials said the draft was removed because they feared the language could be misinterpreted as suggesting that airborne transmission is the main way the virus spreads.

That is not the case. The CDC says the main way the virus spreads is through close contact with virus-containing droplets — large and small — that are emitted when someone coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breathes. When people are in proximity, within six feet, they are exposed to the whole spectrum of spray that can cause infection. “It’s not just big goobers, but everything that’s exhaled, big and tiny,” said one CDC scientist who spoke

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