An article in conservative outlet the Federalist has folks up in arms online over a recommendation for “controlled voluntary infection” to battle the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
In the piece, Douglas Perednia, a physician in Portland, Oregon, laid down his suggestion for defeating the Covid-19 outbreak in the US, saying that the current strategy of mitigation is one that only provides temporary solutions and ultimately has too much of a negative effect on the economy.
The strategy is “like asking society to hold its breath to keep from inhaling a toxin. It can’t keep up forever, and when it does breathe, all that gasping for air is going to undo much of the benefit we’d hoped to derive,” he writes.
The doctor goes on to suggest “controlled voluntary infection” to suppress the disease. He says by exposing those at low risk of “severe complications” to Covid-19, we will create a “herd immunity,” which is how many diseases used to be suppressed. One such example he uses to back up this theory is “chickenpox parties,” where one child in a neighborhood would be infected with chickenpox and the rest of the neighborhood would purposefully get their children infected.
Perednia’s proposal is just one of the many ‘hot takes’ being spun out in desperation to find new ways to cover the fast-spreading virus. Other ‘hot takes’, albeit less informed ones, include arguments about white supremacy and heated debates about how to refer to the disease, which President Donald Trump insists on calling it the “Chinese virus.”
The Federalist’s rather extreme suggestion of purposefully infecting people, however, is standing out for people on social media as a particularly bad take. “Did COVID-19 write this article?” one person tweeted.
“At a later point it will be important to take stock, record what certain institutions and individuals did to promote a political agenda while getting people killed,” another Twitter user posted.
Others suggested the “morgue industry” or the virus itself may fund the Federalist, hence it giving Perednia a platform for his idea.
The Federalist, a conservative magazine, just put out an article saying we should consider “controlled voluntary infection.”I completely agree. Let’s start with everyone who works at the Federalist.
— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) March 25, 2020
The UK’s initial strategy for combating the coronavirus was to slowly introduce the type of herd immunity that Perednia mentions, but the strategy was ultimately abandoned when experts from Imperial College London came forward with projections for how overwhelmed hospitals would become. The British government has since moved to implementing social distancing measures, as other nations have done.
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