OAN host called for more Americans to get coronavirus to build herd immunity

Graham Ledger: “When you isolate tens of millions of people in their homes, you are blocking the natural herd immunity that you want to transpire in our society”

One America News Network has promoted a plan for more Americans to contract coronavirus so the population can develop “herd immunity” — a policy that will result in hundreds of thousands of people dying. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines herd immunity as “a situation in which a sufficient proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease (through vaccination and/or prior illness) to make its spread from person to person unlikely.” At the beginning of March, Britain briefly attempted its own herd immunity experiment for coronavirus, in spite of there being no COVID-19 vaccine — a situation that would have allowed a majority of the British population to contract the coronavirus in hopes that they would have a mild case, recover, and become immune.

The government quickly reversed course when Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s advisers found that the promotion of herd immunity would “likely result in hundreds of thousands of deaths,” with some projections warning that up to 250,000 people would die if the government continued its herd immunity experiment. (Johnson himself now has COVID-19 and was admitted to an intensive care unit earlier this week due to the severity of his case.)

OAN host Graham Ledger, however, is still pushing a strategy of herd immunity — even proudly claiming that he’s been touting it for weeks on his show. 

On the April 7 episode of OAN’s The Daily Ledger, the host promoted the herd immunity strategy adopted by Sweden — which has a nearly 8% case fatality rate for COVID-19 compared to just over 3% in the U.S. (though that latter number does not include many people who are dying in their homes), seemingly the result of Sweden’s very lax social distancing rules — in his effort to trash “blue state governors” who have enforced social distancing policies in their own states. 

When discussing the very early indications that the COVID-19 “curve” in the United States may be “flattening,” Ledger claimed that it’s more likely that “mother nature” was responsible than the social distancing policies put forth by Democratic governors.

“Blue state governors flattening the Wuhan coronavirus curve — or are they?” Ledger said in the introduction to his Tuesday night show. The OAN host claimed that Govs. Andrew Cuomo (NY), Gavin Newsom (CA), and J.B. Pritzker (IL) “will take credit for” the downturn in new COVID-19 cases, before adding that “there's not a shred of evidence that any of these the government-imposed orders to stay home and shut down the economy have had any effect whatsoever on the spread of this virus.” 

Interviewing his guest, epidemiologist and former Trump White House health adviser Katy Talento, Ledger read from an April 6 National Review article titled ”Has Sweden found the right solution to the coronavirus?” (Fox News host Laura Ingraham later shared the post as well) 

Video file

Citation From the April 7, 2020, episode of One America News Network's The Daily Ledger

GRAHAM LEDGER (HOST): This is the conclusion of the article: “We’ve been coping with new viruses for untold generations. The best way is to allow the young and healthy — those for whom the virus is rarely fatal — to develop antibodies and herd immunity to protect the frail and sick.”

And this is something I've been pounding on now for a couple of weeks. The fact that when you isolate tens of millions of people in their homes, you are blocking the natural herd immunity that you want to transpire in our society. So when this thing is over, we're going to unleash all these people whose immune systems are necessarily lower and maybe more susceptible to the Wuhan coronavirus and other viruses, when in Sweden, for example, they are allowing this thing to run its course.

Ledger then asked Talento if she has seen “any hardcore evidence” that social distancing rules are “having an effect” on the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States. 

Talento argued that “the U.K. also initially took on this same philosophy, where let's just let it run its course and develop herd immunity.” She did not add that the U.K. reversed course on its herd immunity experiment after studies showed that if “the pandemic remained uncontrolled, 510,000 would die in Britain and 2.2 million in the United States over the course of the outbreak.” 

Earlier in the segment, Ledger called those studies “crazy talk” and dismissed the “outlandish predictions” of 2.2 million dead in the U.S. if social distancing measures were not implemented. Introducing the interview, Ledger also said that he “would like to see some of these [researchers] be held accountable. Especially out of the University of Washington. You know, predicting that tens of thousands of people dead within just a couple, three months.” 

As of this writing, there have been more than 14,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the United States.