Is “Herd Immunity” actually “Culling the Herd”?

The Trumpist anti-science strategy for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is eminently and notoriously political. Of course, the virus has no politics, except for its strategy for self-replication and spread. It is a biological empire of death.

At the same time, most folks who are paying attention know that a significant history exists of effective counter-measures to protect humans from the spread of virulent viruses. These methods were well tested and verified by public health professionals over decades. They work if implemented consistently throughout an area (city, state, country) where the infection is spreading.

Politics of Disease and Death

Enter politics. So, why would a political administration work so hard to avoid taking the steps already proven to work to stop the spread of a virus so virulent as the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which has already cost so many lives and so many economic livelihoods?

The only motive for rejecting every known effective public health measure to control a pandemic is that the policy maker wants the SARS-CoV-2—which causes COVID-19 disease to spread so rapidly in a population—to infect more people than if public health measures were in place.

Among scientists and public health professionals, the term “herd immunity” refers to the fact that once a sufficiently large proportion of a population is vaccinated, most who are exposed to the virus will not spread the disease further because they are already immune to it. Their immune system suppresses the virus, thereby stopping its spread.

The idea promoted by the quack COVID advisor, Scott Atlas, in the White House is that we should just let the virus spread, infecting as many people as possible so that immunity to the disease is achieved by everyone getting sick from it. Not only is this guy completely unqualified to opine on matters of epidemiology or virology, since he is a radiologist with no training or experience in these specialist fields of public health. He is also a political hack who has usurped the public health professionals in the White House COVID-19 Task Force to put in place the policies the president wants, despite their having no scientific merit whatsoever. But why?

“Herd Immunity” is a Cover for “Culling the Heard”

In the context of Trump’s history of racism, xenophobia, and efforts to purge all people of color from this nation, while impoverishing everyone else to feed the insatiable greed of his super-rich donors, one must conclude that the policy his minions call “herd immunity,” is actually just one more method for getting rid of as many non-white  and poor people as possible. Trump has denigrated or attacked every person of color who comes into range.

In his early days of managing his father’s apartment properties in New York, he executed discriminatory policies toward renters of color. He has endlessly promoted “birther” claims that Barak Obama was born in Kenya and therefore a non-citizen. He committed crimes against humanity by separating children from their refugee parents at the border, in attempting to keep all non-whites out of the country. Trump’s many other acts of prejudice, discrimination, and hatred of the non-white ‘other,’ are just too numerous to count.

All we have to do is look at the old fascist and Nazi playbooks to see that the pattern of racist autocratic policies we see emanating from the White House—many generated by the hyper racist, Steven Miller—are meant to suppress, remove, or destroy all people of color in the nation. Fascists would happily eliminate anyone they see as weak or inferior, including the old and infirm.

Who Suffers Most from COVID-19?

The evidence is clear. Certain groups are much more susceptible to the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic than the rest of us, mostly because they are excluded from access to healthy conditions of life. The fascist mind sees people as expendable. Any means available to eliminate those considered superfluous, foreign (non-white), or otherwise despised, hated, or seen as an inconvenience (the poor and unemployed) is subject to elimination in one way or another.

“Culling the Herd” is a term that has been used to describe the processes by which the weak or infirm animals in a herd are removed by predators. It has also reflected humans killing off sick or diseased cattle to strengthen the herd as a whole. It means literally, “to separate or remove (and usually kill) inferior animals out of a herd so as to reduce numbers or remove undesirable traits.” The eugenics movement of the first half of the 20th century America suffered from the vanity that the “better” people in society could eliminate those assumed genetically unfit in order to improve the genetics of the total population. That was a racist goal of the Nazis as well.

So, consider the following:

1. The current lack of knowledge of how immune one can become after surviving COVID-19, or for how long,

2. The certainty that many will die if the disease is allowed to spread without public health measures to suppress it, and

3. The racist desire of the Trumpists to get rid of non-whites and the poor, reflected in their willingness to risk the death of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people to achieve their political goals.

In this context, we must conclude that the political use of “herd immunity” is really a matter of “culling the heard” with genocidal intentions.

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