Herd immunity without a COVID-19 vaccine ‘a fool’s errand,’ UTSA professor says

New White House advisor denies ’pushing’ herd immunity as a COVID-19 strategy

SAN ANTONIO – As the chair of the UTSA Department of Mathematics who develops infectious disease models, Dr. Juan Gutierrez warns against pursuing “a fool’s errand” to achieve herd immunity, especially without a proven COVID-19 vaccine.

“Until that happens, there is no herd immunity,” Gutierrez said. “There is no herd immunity for this disease without an exceedingly high human cost.”

If COVID-19 does “run amok” infecting more people, Gutierrez said, there’s no guarantee it would lead to widespread immunity.

“It might or might not happen,” he said.

It certainly didn’t in Sweden, where the smaller country now has a higher COVID-19 death rate than in the U.S, Gutierrez said.

Related: UTSA professor says introducing herd immunity to combat COVID-19 would be ‘morally irresponsible’

Although President Donald Trump’s new COVID-19 adviser, Scott Atlas, denies pushing the idea, Gutierrez said, “It seems to be geared toward scoring some political points to an electoral base at the expense of the entire nation.”

As it is, Gutierrez said the pandemic now ranks third, behind the Civil War and World War II, in terms of American lives lost.

But Hernandez issued this warning: “By allowing herd immunity through infection, it could become the largest human tragedy in American history.”

Watch the KSAT-TV EXTRA: Gutierrez expands against the idea of herd immunity

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