US

Epidemiologist’s Video On Coronavirus ‘Herd Immunity’ Had 1.3 Million Views, Until YouTube Removed It

Font Size:

YouTube removed a video of a prominent epidemiologist explaining his view that achieving “herd immunity” is the best way to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Knut M. Wittkowski is a former head of biostatistics, epidemiology and research design at Rockefeller University, but his contrarian take on tackling coronavirus was removed by the tech company for purported “misinformation.”

A prominent advocate for the concept of “herd immunity” as being the only effective way, short of a vaccine, that society can fully return to normal life, Wittkowski considers social distancing and lockdown measures to be unnecessary and even counterproductive.

A video on the topic produced by British company Journeyman Pictures and featuring the former Rockefeller University epidemiologist had 1.3 million views before it was removed for what YouTube called a violation of their “community standards,” the New York Post reported Saturday.

“With all respiratory diseases, the only thing that stops the disease is herd immunity,” Wittkowski reportedly said in the video. “About 80% of the people need to have had contact with the virus, and the majority of them won’t even have recognized that they were infected.” (RELATED: Tucker: WHO ‘Admitting’ Sweden’s ‘Model’ Is Working But US Policy Makers Won’t ‘Abandon A Sweeping Power Grab’)

“I was just explaining what we had,” Wittkowski explained to The Post’s Jon Levine, adding that he did not know why the video was taken down. “They don’t tell you. They just say it violates our community standards. There’s no explanation for what those standards are or what standards it violated.”

Levine explained that Wittkowski’s argument, though a “minority opinion,” is “still well within mainstream thought and currently is the basis for Sweden’s non-lockdown approach to the pandemic.”

Dr. Scott Atlas, former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, also made a case for herd immunity in an April appearance on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

“Instead of total lockdown going on which prevents that, we have a chance to have people develop their own antibodies and eventually have enough people have these antibodies to block this sort of network of progression and contagion to the people who are vulnerable,” Atlas told Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Update, 5/19/20:

Responding on Monday to the Daily Caller’s request for comment on the video’s removal, YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi said in a statement: “We quickly remove flagged content that violates our Community Guidelines, including content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of global or local health authority recommended guidance on social distancing that may lead others to act against that guidance. We are committed to continue providing timely and helpful information at this critical time.”