A top Trump appointee argued this summer that "infants" and "kids" should be infected with COVID-19, CNBC reports. In a July 4 email brought to light by a House subcommittee, former Health and Human services advisor Paul Alexander wrote to senior officials that Washington should let "non-high risk groups expose themselves to the virus. Infants, kids, teens, young people, young adults, middle aged with no conditions etc. have zero to little risk ... so we use them to develop herd." He added that "we want them infected ... and recovered ... with antibodies." A few weeks later, Alexander suggested that "it may be best" to "open up and flood the zone and let the kids and young folk get infected" while protecting "the elderly and at risk folks" in order to attain "natural immunity."
Alexander was forced out after Trump ally Michael Caputo, who headed HHS public affairs, left his post in September. Now their alleged meddling at HHS has raised eyebrows at the House coronavirus subcommittee. The emails "show a pernicious pattern of political interference by Administration officials," said Rep. Jim Clyburn, who chairs the watchdog committee, per Politico. "As the virus spread through the country, these officials callously wrote, 'who cares' and 'we want them infected.'" Trump officials have long denied considering herd immunity, but Kyle McGowan, ex-CDC chief of staff, said Alexander often delayed the agency's weekly reports or cut back on its advice. "He absolutely put pressure on the CDC on different guidance documents," McGowan said. (One country did try the "herd immunity" approach.)