Alabama state Sen. Del Marsh (R) this week told reporters that he would “like to see more people” contract COVID-19 in order to create herd immunity in the state.

Marsh was asked about Alabama setting a new daily record for COVID-19 cases after the state reported 2,164 cases on Thursday.

“I’m not as concerned as much as the number of cases — and in fact, quite honestly — I want to see more people, because we start reaching an immunity as more people have it and get through it,” Marsh said.

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“I don’t want any deaths, as few as possible in the state, I get it. So those people who are susceptible to the disease, especially more serious, those with pre-existing conditions, elderly population, those folks, we need to do all we can to protect them. But I’m not concerned.” 

Marsh added that he wants “to make sure everybody can receive care.”

WSFA reporter Lydia Nusbaum shared footage of the exchange on Twitter.

Marsh, who serves as president pro tempore of the Alabama state Senate as well as on Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s (R) COVID-19 task force, appeared to be referring to herd immunity, which occurs when a large amount of the population becomes immune to a virus after being infected and recovering or through inoculation.

The approach has been used by Sweden amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The country has kept many businesses open and encouraged social distancing and other health measures to prevent the spread of the virus. However, thousands more people have died in the country than in neighboring countries that imposed stricter lockdowns, The New York Times reported.

Sweden has also suffered a higher death rate than other countries.

In Alabama, state health officials reported that there were 206 ICU beds available in state hospitals as of Wednesday afternoon as COVID-19 cases increased, the Montgomery Advertiser reporte.

"We are worried about the trends we're seeing," infectious disease expert Jodie Dionne-Odom told reporters Wednesday. "It's not about any one data point or any one number, but the fact that we're seeing sharp increases in hospitalizations and cases over the past week or two is really concerning." 

Alabama has reported 49,174 total COVID-19 cases and 1,068 deaths.