In an interview with the Texas Tribune on Wednesday, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin) advocated for a complete return to normalcy, even as the COVID-19 death toll has already exceeded 70,000 dead and is expected to surpass 100,000 in the coming months.
Like many Republicans, Roy cited economic concerns as one of the reasons the country needed to reopen. It should be noted that Roy voted against the first emergency relief package, a bill that was meant to mitigate the pandemic’s economic fallout and was supported by all House Democrats and the majority of House Republicans.
Instead of continuing stay-at-home orders, Roy proposes a strategy of herd immunity. “We need herd immunity,” said Roy. “So we have to work through this together to get reengaged so we can build that up.”
Basically, this means exposing most of the population to COVID-19 so that their immune systems will develop resistance to the virus.
Experts warn that without a vaccine, herd immunity would be a disastrous strategy that could lead to millions of deaths. Furthermore, scientists aren’t even sure if people have long-term immunity to COVID-19 after recovering. Indeed, there is some evidence that suggests that survivors can be reinfected.
It’s no secret that Roy is not a fan of the stay-at-home measures that have been implemented to save lives. During the week of Passover, he compared the orders to Nazi Germany.
Former state senator and progressive legend Wendy Davis, who is running to unseat Roy in November, was quick to blast him for his comments. On Twitter, Davis called herd immunity a “fringe medical theory” and an “outrageous and dangerous proposal from a sitting member of Congress.” She also pointed out that it would lead to a catastrophic death toll in the absence of a vaccine.
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