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Donald Trump used the phrase “herd mentality” a couple of weeks ago when he was talking about “herd immunity.” Bless his heart.

We might forgive him for his misstatement, but we should not forgive him for adopting an immoral, scientific outlier of a policy that says the coronavirus should be allowed to infect a majority of the population in order to establish widespread immunity to it.

Three credentialed scientists are advocating for it, issuing a statement they call the Great Barrington Declaration for the city in Massachusetts where they went public.

“The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity,” they say, “is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.”

Hmm. “The most compassionate approach.” Bless their hearts, too.

Perhaps they are genuinely concerned for protecting those of us considered “vulnerable” if the virus is intentionally allowed to spread. After all, they did change the name from “herd immunity” to “Focused Protection.”

The only problem is they didn’t explain how their “compassionate approach” would actually work in the real world.

Who falls into the “vulnerable” category? Only those 65 and over? What about everyone with an underlying medical condition regardless of their age?

How are these people to be protected? Quarantine them while everyone else goes about their business? What about the people who work with the vulnerable? How are they protected? How are the “vulnerable” protected from them?

What about hospitalizations? Do the “vulnerable” and the “non-vulnerable” have their own? “How many cities and communities have enough hospitals to accommodate such a demand? What about rural areas where there is only one hospital for miles around?

These are but some of the questions this theory raises apart from the moral and ethical issues regarding its practice.

Perhaps the response of one of the most respected research physicians in the world is worth noting. Dr. Francis Collins a physician-geneticist who led the Human Genome Project and is now the director of the National Institutes of Health had this to say about the “Declaration”:

“What I worry about with this is it’s being presented as if it’s a major alternative view that’s held by large numbers of experts in the scientific community. That is not true…This is a fringe component of epidemiology. This is not mainstream science. It’s dangerous. It fits into the political views of certain parts of our confused political establishment. I’m sure it will be an idea that someone can wrap themselves in as a justification for skipping wearing masks or social distancing and just doing whatever they damn well please.”

No matter how fringe or radical or untried this theory may be, Trump has decided to run with it, as his unmasked rallies that completely ignore social distancing show.

I doubt Trump even knows that projections are that “herd immunity” would require about 65% of the population to be infected to have any chance of being achieved, which is around 215 million people. Currently only about 8 million have it. Nor is he likely to know that at the current death rate per thousand people, between 3 to 6 million Americans will die if we actually embraced “herd immunity.”

Perhaps the worst thing of all, though, is that no one knows if “herd immunity” is even a real thing, untried as it is, especially when it remains unclear if having the virus gives you permanent immunity or any at all. At least four people have contracted it twice, one of whom was a woman from the Netherlands who died the second time she contracted it.

But the danger doesn’t stop with contracting the virus. Doctors are discovering unexpected side-effects in people who have fully recovered.

If that is not enough, the coronavirus has already mutated as viruses do with reports out of China that a strain has been discovered more deadly than the current one.

No wonder Dr. Gregg Gonsalves, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health, described what these three scientists are advocating as “a recipe for carnage,” adding, “Walking with these pied pipers into the arms of [the virus] because you think you’re not at risk or your elders are taken care of is not a plan. It’s a massacre.”

I suppose none of this will matter to Trump Republicans. Nothing does so why would this bother them?

What does matter, though, is that by the time Joe Biden is sworn in as President the nation may be near the point of no return with the virus because of Trump’s incompetence.

That possibility gives a whole new meaning to Rick Wilson’s book title, Everything Trump Touches Dies.