T Cells Don't Mean We're Close To Herd Immunity, Scientists Caution - 2020-08-14
How the immune system responds to the coronavirus is a mystery that scientists are working furiously to unravel — but their findings are being weaponized to make unfounded claims that the pandemic isn't a big threat.
That became clear this week, when President Donald Trump unveiled his newest science adviser on the coronavirus task force, neuroradiologist Scott Atlas. A senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, he has steadily promoted unscientific views about the virus on Fox News and elsewhere, and has said there is "zero excuse to not have the schools open in person." On Monday, Rush Limbaugh said Atlas was "countering Fauci" and cited the new adviser's baseless theory that "we could well be burned out of COVID" by October. The reason: "prior immunities."
Also on Monday, an unlicensed ophthalmologist and cryptocurrency investor, James Todaro, went viral on Twitter with a similarly misleading screed. Todaro, who was in the viral "America's Frontline Doctors" video shared by Trump and removed from social media platforms for spreading misinformation about hydroxychloroquine, falsely claimed that "T cell immunity" meant many regions were already safe from infection and that lockdowns and mask-wearing were likely useless.