Health officials warn against pursuing herd immunity to stop coronavirus

The pressure is on to halt a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic but the numbers across the country, and here in New York are, at best, concerning. At worst, they show a nation is knee-deep, in another surge.

With nearly 8-million confirmed cases in the U.S., more than a dozen states are reporting a spike of 25 percent or more in the last week. The daily average, nationally, is 50-thousand cases every day.

“This is a decisive week, truly decisive,” says Mayor Bill de Blasio, “We have to stop a second wave from hitting New York City."

The White House has reportedly embraced the idea of "herd immunity," the immunity that comes when such a significant part of the population has been vaccinated or infected, but health officials from around the world are calling the idea both unethical and dangerous.

"If we can stay the course and wait for effective medications and effective vaccines, I think we will be okay," said Dr. Robert Amler, a former epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control.

Amler says he believes the way to beat back the virus is by social distancing, wearing masks, and washing your hands, not by praying more people get sick-- which gets the U.S. to the point of herd immunity.

“I would say the main strategy right now, as opposed to herd immunity in fighting COVID, is to block the exposure,” says Dr. Amler.

The Trump Administration is said to be supportive of the idea of herd immunity after reading the "Great Barrington Declaration", which argues against lockdowns, for the reopening of schools and promotes the idea that the virus should, naturally, run its course.

Its lead authors worked at Stanford University,  the academic home of Dr. Scott Atlas, an advisor to the president.

The document has been signed over 9,600.

The World Health Organization has called it “unethical”.

Dr. Amler says, herd immunity has worked in the past, in measles or influenza outbreaks, but it is, by no means, a guarantee.

Get breaking news alerts in the FOX5NY News app. Download for FREE!