The administration has already begun to implement some policies along these lines, according to current and former officials as well as experts, particularly with regard to testing.
The approach’s chief proponent is Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist from Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, who joined the White House earlier this month as a pandemic adviser. He has advocated that the United States adopt the model Sweden has used to respond to the virus outbreak, according to these officials, which relies on lifting restrictions so the healthy can build up immunity to the disease rather than limiting social and business interactions to prevent the virus from spreading.
Sweden’s handling of the pandemic has been heavily criticized by public health officials and infectious-disease experts as reckless — the country has among the highest infection and death rates in the world. It also hasn’t escaped the deep economic problems resulting from the pandemic.
But Sweden’s approach has gained support among some conservatives who argue that social distancing restrictions are crushing the economy and infringing on people’s liberties.
That this approach is even being discussed inside the White House is drawing concern from experts inside and outside the government who note that a herd immunity strategy could lead to the country suffering hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lost lives.
“The administration faces some pretty serious hurdles in making this argument. One is a lot of people will die, even if you can protect people in nursing homes,” said Paul Romer, a professor at New York University who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2018. “Once it’s out in the community, we’ve seen over and over again, it ends up spreading everywhere.”
Atlas, who does not have a background in infectious diseases or epidemiology, has expanded his influence inside the White House by advocating policies that appeal to Trump’s desire to move past the pandemic and get the economy going, distressing health officials on the White House coronavirus task force and throughout the administration who worry that their advice is being followed less and less.
Atlas declined several interview requests in recent days. After the publication of this story, he released a statement through the White House: “There is no policy of the President or this administration of achieving herd immunity. There never has been any such policy recommended to the President or to anyone else from me.”
White House communications director Alyssa Farah said there is no change in the White House’s approach toward combatting the pandemic.
“President Trump is fully focused on defeating the virus through therapeutics and ultimately a vaccine. There is no discussion about changing our strategy,” she said in a statement. “We have initiated an unprecedented effort under Operation Warp Speed to safely bring a vaccine to market in record time — ending this virus through medicine is our top focus.”
White House officials said Trump has asked questions about herd immunity but has not formally embraced the strategy. The president, however, has made public comments that advocate a similar approach.
“We are aggressively sheltering those at highest risk, especially the elderly, while allowing lower-risk Americans to safely return to work and to school, and we want to see so many of those great states be open,” he said during his address to the Republican National Convention Thursday night. “We want them to be open. They have to be open. They have to get back to work.”
Atlas has fashioned himself as the “anti-Dr. Fauci,” one senior administration official said, referring to Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease official, who has repeatedly been at odds with the president over his public comments about the threat posed by the virus. He has clashed with Fauci as well as Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, over the administration’s pandemic response.
Atlas has argued both internally and in public that an increased case count will move the nation more quickly to herd immunity and won’t lead to more deaths if the vulnerable are protected. But infectious-disease experts strongly dispute that, noting that more than 25,000 people younger than 65 have died of the virus in the United States. In addition, the United States has a higher number of vulnerable people of all ages because of high rates of heart and lung disease and obesity, and millions of vulnerable people live outside nursing homes — many in the same households with children, whom Atlas believes should return to school.
“When younger, healthier people get the disease, they don’t have a problem with the disease. I’m not sure why that’s so difficult for everyone to acknowledge,” Atlas said in an interview with Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade in July. “These people getting the infection is not really a problem and in fact, as we said months ago, when you isolate everyone, including all the healthy people, you’re prolonging the problem because you’re preventing population immunity. Low-risk groups getting the infection is not a problem.”
Atlas has said that lockdowns and social distancing restrictions during the pandemic have had a health cost as well, noting the problems associated with unemployment and people forgoing health care because they are afraid to visit a doctor.
“From personal communications with neurosurgery colleagues, about half of their patients have not appeared for treatment of disease which, left untreated, risks brain hemorrhage, paralysis or death,” he wrote in The Hill newspaper in May
The White House has left many of the day-to-day decisions regarding the pandemic to governors and local officials, many of whom have disregarded Trump’s advice, making it unclear how many states would embrace the Swedish model, or elements of it, if Trump begins to aggressively push for it to be adopted.
But two senior administration officials and one former official, as well as medical experts, noted that the administration is already taking steps to move the country in this direction.
The Department of Health and Human Services, for instance, invoked the Defense Production Act earlier this month to expedite the shipment of tests to nursing homes — but the administration has not significantly ramped up spending on testing elsewhere, despite persistent shortages. Trump and top White House aides, including Atlas, have also repeatedly pushed to reopen schools and lift lockdown orders, despite outbreaks in several schools that attempted to resume in-person classes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also updated its testing guidance last week to say that those who are asymptomatic do not necessarily have to be tested. That prompted an outcry from medical groups, infectious-disease experts and local health officials, who said the change meant that asymptomatic people who had contact with an infected person would not be tested. The CDC estimates that about 40 percent of people infected with covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, are asymptomatic, and experts said much of the summer surge in infections was due to asymptomatic spread among young, healthy people.
Trump has previously floated “going herd” before being convinced by Fauci and others that it was not a good idea, according to one official.
The discussions come as at least 5.9 million infections have been reported and at least 179,000 have died from the virus this year and as public opinion polls show that Trump’s biggest liability with voters in his contest against Democratic nominee Joe Biden is his handling of the pandemic. The United States leads the world in coronavirus cases and deaths, with far more casualties and infections than any other developed nation.
The nations that have most successfully managed the coronavirus outbreak imposed stringent lockdown measures that a vast majority of the country abided by, quickly ramped up testing and contact tracing, and imposed mask mandates.
Atlas meets with Trump almost every day, far more than any other health official, and inside the White House is viewed as aligned with the president and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on how to handle the outbreak, according to three senior administration officials.
In meetings, Atlas has argued that metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago and New Orleans have already reached herd immunity, according to two senior administration officials. But Birx and Fauci have disputed that, arguing that even cities that peaked to potential herd immunity levels experience similar levels of infection if they reopen too quickly, the officials said.
Trump asked Birx in a meeting last month whether New York and New Jersey had reached herd immunity, according to a senior administration official. Birx told the president there was not enough data to support that conclusion.
Atlas has supporters who argue that his presence in the White House is a good thing and that he brings a new perspective.
“Epidemiology is not the only discipline that matters for public policy here. That is a fundamentally wrong way to think about this whole situation,” said Avik Roy, president of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, a think tank that researches market-based solutions to help low-income Americans. “You have to think about what are the costs of lockdowns, what are the trade-offs, and those are fundamentally subjective judgments policymakers have to make.”
It remains unclear how large a percentage of the population must become infected to achieve “herd immunity,” which is when enough people become immune to a disease that it slows its spread, even among those who have not been infected. That can occur either through mass vaccination efforts, or when enough people in the population become infected with coronavirus and develop antibodies that protect them against future infection.
Estimates have ranged from 20 percent to 70 percent for how much of a population would need to be infected. Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, said given the transmissibility of the novel coronavirus, it is likely that about 65 to 70 percent of the population would need to become infected for there to be herd immunity.
With a population of 328 million in the United States, it may require 2.13 million deaths to reach a 65 percent threshold of herd immunity, assuming the virus has a 1 percent fatality rate, according to an analysis by The Washington Post.
It also remains unclear whether people who recover from covid-19 have long-term immunity to the virus or can become reinfected, and scientists are still learning who is vulnerable to the disease. From a practical standpoint, it is also nearly impossible to sufficiently isolate people at most risk of dying due to the virus from the younger, healthier population, according to public health experts.
Atlas has argued that the country should only be testing people with symptoms, despite the fact that asymptomatic carriers spread the virus. He has also repeatedly pushed to reopen schools and advocated for college sports to resume. Atlas has said, without evidence, that children do not spread the virus and do not have any real risk from covid-19, arguing that more children die of influenza — an argument he has made in television and radio interviews.
Atlas’s appointment comes after Trump earlier this summer encouraged his White House advisers to find a new doctor who would argue an alternative point of view from Birx and Fauci, whom the president has grown increasingly annoyed with for public comments that he believes contradict his own assertions that the threat of the virus is receding. Advisers sought a doctor with Ivy League or top university credentials who could make the case on television that the virus is a receding threat.
Atlas caught Trump’s attention with a spate of Fox News appearances in recent months, and the president has found a more simpatico figure in the Stanford doctor for his push to reopen the country so he can focus on his reelection. Atlas now often sits in the briefing room with Trump during his coronavirus news conferences, even as other doctors do not. He has given the president somewhat of a medical imprimatur for his statements and regularly helps draft the administration’s coronavirus talking points from his West Wing office as well as the slides that Trump often relies on for his argument of a diminishing threat.
Atlas has also said he is unsure “scientifically” whether masks make sense, despite broad consensus among scientists that they are effective. He has selectively presented research and findings that support his argument for herd immunity and his other ideas, two senior administration officials said.
Fauci and Birx have both said the virus is a threat in every part of the country. They have also put forward policy recommendations that the president views as too draconian, including mask mandates and partial lockdowns in areas experiencing surges of the virus.
Birx has been at odds with Atlas on several occasions, with one disagreement growing so heated at a coronavirus meeting earlier this month that other administration officials grew uncomfortable, according to a senior administration official.
One of the main points of tension between the two is over school reopenings. Atlas has pushed to reopen schools and Birx is more cautious.
“This is really unfortunate to have this fellow Scott Atlas, who was basically recruited to crowd out Tony Fauci and the voice of reason,” said Eric Topol, a cardiologist and head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in San Diego. “Not only do we not embrace the science, but we repudiate the science by our president, and that has extended by bringing in another unreliable misinformation vector.”
Not sure who you’re dealing with?
Fake vs genuine people may look the same, but with a little bit of knowledge, you can spot the difference.
Fake people are ingenuine and often hypocritical. They do things for their own gain but hide behind altruism.
Genuine people are true to themselves. They do things because they want to, not because they have to. Plus, they enjoy helping people.
Fake people aren’t just frustrating—they can even be damaging to your health.
In this article, I’ll break down the key difference between fake and genuine people, explain how to tell if someone is a genuine person, and share some tips on standing up for yourself.
The key difference between fake and genuine people is honesty.
Fake people aren’t honest with themselves and the people around them. They do things based on lies and deceit.
Genuine people are honest with themselves and others. Their actions are aligned with what they believe.
The problem is that fake people often don’t know they’re being fake. They may be acting based on lies without knowing how hypocritical they are being.
Fake people don’t know they’re fake because of self-deception.
How can you recognize someone is being fake?
Fake people often lead people on because they are trying to please everyone. They spend so much time trying to please everyone else that a lot of people get let down in the process.
Whether they never invite you out to do things in the first place or they cancel at the last minute, they’re fake. They’re probably so busy trying to please the other people that they made plans with that they have to cancel yours.
This is what’s really annoying about fake people. To your face, you’re their best friend. But as soon as you’re away, you’re nothing. They sit and gossip about you to make themselves look better to whoever it is they’re trying to impress.
You know who gets mad? Real people! Those who claim that they hardly ever get mad or frustrated about things are fake. Everyone is passionate about something, and everyone gets mad.
Need help moving? Going through a difficult breakup? Fake people disappear right when you need them. As soon as you ask them for help, they are gone.
It can be hard to tell if someone is a genuinely nice person or if they are only being nice to you because they need something from you.
Unfortunately, many people are only out to help themselves, but there are still lots of genuine people walking around on the planet.
Here’s how you can spot a genuine person from a fake person.
Those who are authentic to their selves know that they can’t do everything. They can’t commit to dozens of people, so they have a few close friends that they really commit to.
When a true, genuine person makes plans with you, they’re going to show up. They don’t cancel on you last minute, and they aren’t going to make you wait for a “date” that’s never going to happen. They enjoy your company.
Genuine people don’t gossip. Instead, they admire the positive qualities that they find in people around them. They talk about the positive, not the negative, and like to share good things.
Real people feel things. They aren’t going to sugarcoat and act as though nothing bothers them. When genuine people are passionate about something, they’re here to show it. They invest their time and energy into their passions, and they’ll make it known.
When you’re hurting, genuine people hurt with you. They aren’t going to make you feel like you have no one. You can rely on them, and when something happens or you need a helping hand, they’ll be there.
If you have fake people in your life, it’s essential to build the courage to stand up for yourself.
It’s not just about not being pushed around by this particular fake person, though this is important.
It’s also important because it teaches you to set boundaries.
This will make a big difference the next time someone fake enters your life.
I learned the importance of boundary-setting in Rudá Iandê’s free masterclass on embracing your inner beast. It’s a brilliant masterclass and completely changed how I see myself.
I used to think it was a bad idea standing up for myself. I would worry so much about what other people think.
By the time I finished watching Rudá Iandê’s masterclass, my perspective had completely shifted.
Fake people are annoying, but are they actually bad for your health? Well, yes, they can be.
It takes time and energy to invest in a relationship, and when that investment is in something fake, it’s hurtful. But it goes beyond that.
Plenty of studies have found that there is a link between our relationships and our well-being. When our social relationships are complicated or one-sided, we feel worse. The strength of our connection to people is what really matters.
So, what does this mean?
Basically, if you have 20 friends, but none of them would come and pick you up after you’ve blown a tire, then your relationships aren’t that great.
But if you had just one or two friends that you could count on, that would show up when needed, the strength of that connection is great. This helps you to feel whole and connected to others, which is beneficial to your health.
In today’s world, it seems like there are a lot more fake people than ever before. And it may be true. Thanks to social media and the notoriety that a person can gain from it, it seems like everyone wants to be famous.
To be famous, at least some people have to like you. So, a lot of people will act fake in hopes of getting a following and more people to like them. There are a lot of people who use the internet as a means to stop their loneliness, but it can just make it worse for them.
People act fake because:
The truth is when it comes to fake vs genuine people, everyone is fake sometimes. Whether you’re fake to your coworkers or your so-called friends is up to you. But being fake isn’t something that is good for us.
The opposite, being authentic, is what makes us better people. And while I’m going to talk a bit more about authenticity in a moment, I just want to say that anyone who is fake and putting on a show, isn’t worth your time. You make strong connections with others, and those are the friendships to keep.
How do you really know you’re dealing with a fake person? Well, I’m glad you asked. There are 10 easy ways to test whether the person you’re dealing with is fake or genuine.
Every fake person has 10 tell-tale signs that they’re fake. No matter how hard they try to hide how unauthentic they are, these signs say otherwise:
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but fake people are full of themselves. They think that they’re better than everyone around them, and they love to brag. If you find that you have that one friend who is always trying to brag about their own accomplishments, they’re not being genuine.
Fake people have a sort of “mob mentality.” They manipulate others and want everyone to believe what they believe. To do this, they will appeal to others’ emotions. Sometimes, they’ll bandwagon behind a “hot issue” or something that will give them the most notoriety.
Like I mentioned before, fake people don’t do emotions well. Most of the time, they think that they’re a waste of time. Since it doesn’t get them ahead, they don’t do them.
Sure, they can fake emotions here and there to get a rise out of people and hope for more people to follow them. But, that’s about as far as they get. Their emotions are jaded, and when you come to them for help, they’re going to be emotionally there for you.
Do you have a friend that is always judging you? A lot of times, fake people are insecure about what they have. They think that if you don’t believe the same things they do, then you’re wrong. To counteract their own insecurity, they judge you.
It doesn’t feel good. They even use this judgment as a way to try and get back control. Since they want to build their own egos up, they think that by putting you down, it makes them look better. This is where all of their energy is focused.
Though they may plaster on a kind smile and say nice things, when their humor comes out, it’s clear to see that they’re fake. Many people use hostile humor to try and hide the shame that they feel with their own selves.
Since fake people aren’t happy with their true, authentic selves, they use hostile humor to make them feel better. By putting you down, it builds them up. Then when you get mad about their hostile humor, they blow you off or act like it isn’t a big deal. Remember, they don’t “do” emotions.
It’s that friend who always has a new idea. One moment they’re investing in stocks, the next moment their opening up an online store, and finally, they’ve found their dream of being a realtor.
Those friends who lack consistency and can’t stay still aren’t true to themselves. They’re as fake as they come, and they don’t care if they leave a big mess behind them.
Fake people don’t get a free pass when it comes to their mistakes, but they think that they do. When they do make a mistake, they aren’t going to admit to it. Or even if they do admit to it, they aren’t going to learn from it.
Genuine people recognize their mistakes and learn from them. Fake people would rather act like it never happened in the first place.
Not only do they put you down and try to control you, but fake people also have unrealistic expectations. They expect people to drop everything for them last-minute, but they wouldn’t do the same for you.
On top of that, they expect to have the best of everything. Often times, fake people are constantly buying new things, especially expensive ones. They want to showcase the success that they have, and they believe that their belongings are how they can do that.
Having your engagement party? Well, your fake friend is about to announce a huge promotion. If they have the chance to steal the spotlight, they will. These people want to be the star of the show, and they don’t care what show it is.
Attention always has to be focused on this person because they demand it. They want to be noticed, and they need that praise from others to feel good about themselves. Unfortunately, it leads to a lot of hurt people when they do something toxic like this.
Maybe the biggest sign of fake people? They don’t respect your boundaries.
Once you talk to them, they blow you off. This can be if you bring up hurt feelings or some time where they made a mistake. Boundaries are nonexistent to them unless they were the ones that set them.
Because of this, these friendships can be hard to sever, and they can lead to a lot of pain. But anyone who doesn’t respect your boundaries is not worth keeping around in your life.
When it comes to fake vs genuine people, it can be hard to know which is which. However, the 10 ways I’ve outlined is a great start. Because fake people usually look for people who will follow them or people who are easily controlled, the best way to get rid of fake people is by being authentic yourself.
As Rudá Iandê says, “Our world is full of fake perfection and happiness, but craving for authenticity.” It is by being your authentic self that you will find deep, lasting connections that will help you to lead a happy and healthy life.
Our lives are too short to spend investing in fake people. Choose to be yourself and be authentic, and you’ll find genuine people to share your life with.