Dr. Anthony Fauci warned the death toll would be "enormous" if the U.S. allowed the coronavirus to run rampant in a bid to achieve herd immunity.
Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, made his remarks Thursday during a 41-minute live Instagram interview with actor Matthew McConaughey. He noted any herd immunity attempt would have significant impact of those considered most vulnerable to the virus.
"If everyone contracted it, even with the relatively high percentage of people without symptoms, a lot of people are going to die," Fauci said.
"You look at the United States of America with our epidemic of obesity as it were. With the number of people with hypertension. With the number of people with diabetes. If everyone got infected, the death toll would be enormous and totally unacceptable.
"And that's the reason why we are against saying: 'Let it fly. Let everyone get infected and we'll be fine.' That's a bad idea."
CNN noted herd immunity is achieved when 70% to 90% of a population becomes immune to a disease either through infection and recovery or through inoculation.
Meanwhile, Fauci has cast doubt on Russia's claim to have developed an effective vaccine for the virus.
"I hope that the Russians have actually definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective," Fauci had said during an interview for the National Geographic program "Stopping Pandemics." "I seriously doubt that they've done that."
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