Fox News Bozo: ‘Herd Immunity Is Our Friend’ So Go Out And ‘Have Some Courage’

May 7, 2020 2:07 p.m.
EDITORS' NOTE: TPM is making our COVID-19 coverage free to all readers during this national health crisis. If you’d like to support TPM's reporters, editors and staff, the best way to do so is to become a member.

Fox News contributor Pete Hegseth encouraged healthy Americans to “have some courage” and defy social distancing orders in order to get sick with COVID-19.

“Herd immunity is our friend,” Hegseth said in an appearance on Fox News’ “Outnumbered” Thursday. He was referring to the phenomenon in which a sufficient number of people become immune from a disease such that spread of that disease is slowed.

“Healthy people getting out there, they’re going to have to have some courage,” Hegseth said, citing Texas as a state where “people are defying ridiculous orders.”

“That takes courage, that’s not easy,” he added. “So I think that spirit, the American spirit, frankly, is in full supply and ready to go — if some of our experts and some of our leaders will just get out of their way.”

Those experts, Hegseth said, “are drunk on power. It’s time to open up.”

Without a vaccine for COVID-19, “herd immunity” would mean a critical mass of people becoming infected with the novel coronavirus.

Still, the World Health Organization has warned that “there is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”

Public health experts warn that using herd immunity as an anti-COVID-19 strategy would lead to many otherwise avoidable deaths.

Carl T. Bergstrom and Natalie Dean, a biologist and biostatistician respectively, addressed that issue in a recent New York Times op-ed.

“[E]ven assuming that immunity is long-lasting, a very large number of people must be infected to reach the herd immunity threshold required,” they wrote. “Given that current estimates suggest roughly 0.5 percent to 1 percent of all infections are fatal, that means a lot of deaths.”

In addition, they pointed out, the virus won’t “magically disappear” once herd immunity is achieved. Rather, “it could continue for months after herd immunity was reached, infecting many more millions in the process.”

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world). (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
Latest News
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: