Undeterred by mounting criticism over his repeated dismissals of the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump doubled down on his claim that the virus will “go away” on Tuesday. Even if it doesn’t, he said, “herd mentality” will take over and save us all. The president made the remarks during a 90-minute town hall event hosted by ABC News late Tuesday in which he repeated many of the same rosy predictions that have previously been proven wrong. Apparently conflating “herd mentality” with “herd immunity”—which occurs when a large enough proportion of the population has built up immunity to an infectious disease, often through vaccination—the president insisted the country will recover from the pandemic even without a vaccine.
“It would go away without the vaccine … but it’s going to go away a lot faster with it,” Trump said, adding that “with time, it goes away.” “And many deaths,” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos noted. The president continued on as if he had not heard the remark, explaining that “you’ll develop like a herd mentality. It’s going to be herd-developed, and that’s going to happen, that will all happen …. But I really believe we’re rounding the corner.” When Stephanopoulos reminded him that even one of the lead members of the White House’s own coronavirus task force, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has disagreed with that assessment, Trump said: “But you know a lot of people do agree with me.”