A former top official at the Department of Health and Human Services advocated for exposing millions of otherwise healthy young people to the coronavirus in the hopes of achieving herd immunity, Politico reports.
“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," wrote former science adviser Paul Alexander, who was at the time a top deputy to HHS assistant secretary for public affairs Michael Caputo, in a message to senior officials in the department last July.
"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…" he added.
In a later message to Caputo and other senior officials, including Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn, Alexander claimed “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” to provide "natural immunity…natural exposure.”
Emails, which were obtained by the House Oversight Committee's select subcommittee on coronavirus, show that Caputo then asked Alexander to research this idea.
Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief of staff Kyle McGowan told Politico that to senior officials “it was understood” that Alexander “spoke for Michael Caputo, who spoke for the White House.”
He added, “That’s how they wanted it to be perceived.”
HHS Secretary Alex Azar has previously denied that herd immunity was part of the government’s strategy for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
A spokesperson for the department denied that Alexander’s push for herd immunity affected the government’s response to the coronavirus.
“Dr. Paul Alexander previously served as a temporary Senior Policy Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and is no longer employed at the Department,” the spokesperson said.
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