Mississippi's GOP governor: 'Herd immunity is not anything like a realistic solution'

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) threw cold water on the notion of defeating the coronavirus pandemic with “herd immunity,” saying Monday that states’ health systems would be overwhelmed long before reaching that point.

Reeves said in a Twitter thread that in Mississippi alone, the hospital system has “started to become stressed to the point of pain” at 36,680 confirmed cases and conservatively estimated that herd immunity would require 40 percent of the population to become infected, which he said would require more than 3,000 new cases daily for the next year.

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“We would need to TRIPLE our worst day—every day—for a year,” Reeves tweeted. “I’m not one of these guys that immediately dismisses any idea that challenges the expert status quo talking points. I’m pretty skeptical by nature. That’s healthy. But herd immunity is not anything like a realistic solution in the short or mid-term. I wish it was.”

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Reeves's tweets come shortly after the publication of research suggesting antibody immunity after recovering from the coronavirus may not be permanent.

“People are producing a reasonable antibody response to the virus, but it’s waning over a short period of time and depending on how high your peak is, that determines how long the antibodies are staying around,” Katie Doores, lead author on the study at King’s College London, told The Guardian in an interview published Sunday.

Mississippi has seen more than 1,200 confirmed coronavirus deaths so far.

Last week, 26 state lawmakers tested positive for COVID-19 after an outbreak at the Mississippi Statehouse.