Far-Right radio host Rush Limbaugh joined the chorus of Republican voices dismissing the threat posed by the pandemic outbreak that's shut down parts of the United States.
The U.S. is currently grappling with resurgences of the virus in parts of the country that reopened too soon or didn't lock down at all. With bars and entertainment facilities now open in some of these states, young people are becoming infected at a higher rate.
Limbaugh misleadingly chastised the media for reporting on the increased number of cases, but ignoring the low death rate. While the mortality rate has decreased, the United States is hardly the envy of the world on the matter, as President Donald Trump claims. What's more, the current death tolls may not yet reflect spike in U.S. cases, since those infected don't die at the moment of diagnosis.
The radio host still accused the media of sowing hysteria, then directed his words to young people.
Rush Limbaugh dismisses mandates of masks and social distancing: "Let the young and the healthy go out and live the… https://t.co/82rS2Sztis— Media Matters (@Media Matters)1594061414.0
"They're not reporting the survivability rate. The answer, here: Don't mandate closures. Don't mandate social distancing. Don't even mandate mask-wearing. Encourage people who are old or who have a compromised immune system to stay quarantined. Stay hidden away. Do not go out. But let the young and the healthy go out and live their lives … and spread herd immunity, because that's ultimately — until we get therapeutics or vaccine, that's going to be the answer to this."
Limbaugh championed "herd immunity"—a phenomenon that occurs when enough members of a population face infection and subsequent immunization, so that person-to-person transmission becomes rare. This philosophy presents some risks.
According to the Mayo Clinic, while it's promising that infection and recovery from the virus presents some level of immunity, further research is needed before this is treated as fact.
Both the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins University point out that in order to achieve herd immunity, around 70 percent of Americans—over 200 million people—would need to face infection. Hospitals across the country are already pushed to their resource limit with only three million cases nationally.
The national fatality rate currently hovers around 5 percent—but even with the lower fatality rate of 1-2 percent in the states seeing spikes—that would result in the deaths of at least two million Americans.
That's only if infection with the virus actually does provide subsequent immunity after recovery.
Limbaugh may be willing to see two million Americans die, but others were far more hesitant.
@mmfa So as I understand it herd immunity is achieved approximately when70% of the population has had the virus. So… https://t.co/M21493Uv0z— BeckyWillisMotew (@BeckyWillisMotew)1594071454.0
@mmfa Well isn’t he the pillar of predictability. I figure if I live my life opposite of everything he says, I will be just fine.— Glidepath (@Glidepath)1594081501.0
@mmfa Ffs he has no idea how herd immunity works. What’s the age cut off for those who can go out? Are they just ne… https://t.co/9Jwswh1pVO— Paige Ream (@Paige Ream)1594062266.0
People pointed out that immunity after infection is anything but guaranteed.
@mmfa Spain's large-scale study on the coronavirus indicates just 5% of its population has developed antibodies, st… https://t.co/DZO18v0OTR— Allison Baker MA, LMFT (@Allison Baker MA, LMFT)1594088609.0
@mmfa We don’t even know if we’ll ever achieve herd immunity with Covid-19. https://t.co/XsSzm66XIi— Suz, Elements of Medical, E. (@Suz, Elements of Medical, E.)1594099359.0
@mmfa Herd immunity my be a myth. https://t.co/xtcyBn1TUo— George Gartley (@George Gartley)1594115152.0
What's more, young people aren't guaranteed survival either.
@mmfa @MalcolmNance Check out all the young faces in this picture. https://t.co/3hwpEALTL8— Christina-SPEAK UP!🗽🍎🖊📬 (@Christina-SPEAK UP!🗽🍎🖊📬)1594119110.0
@mmfa Except the young and healthy are dying and also being left w/ life long health issues.— Cheeto 🏳️🌈 (@Cheeto 🏳️🌈)1594079830.0
@mmfa Half the cases coming into ICUs in Texas are people under 44. The young may not be spared for long.— g FFS Invoke the 25th Amendment NOW trump (@g FFS Invoke the 25th Amendment NOW trump)1594110750.0
President Donald Trump awarded Limbaugh the Medal of Freedom earlier this year, at the State of the Union.