‘Finally Got My Wish’: Nebraska State Senator Who Is Proponent Of Herd Immunity Tests Positive For Coronavirus

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Thomas Catenacci Energy & Environment Reporter
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A Nebraska state senator announced that he tested positive coronavirus, but said, as a proponent of herd immunity, he was relieved to have finally contracted the virus.

State Sen. Mike Groene, who represents a central Nebraska district, wrote an email to Senate leadership and other senators Monday informing them of his positive test, according to The Lincoln Journal Star. Groene said in the email that his “wish” had been fulfilled.

“As you know, I finally got my wish and cont(r)acted the COVID-19 virus,” Groene said, the Journal Star reported. “As I suspected it would happen.”

The state senator said he either contracted the virus at an Oct. 23 legislative oversight committee hearing or an Oct. 27 education committee hearing, according to the Journal Star. Groene is among a group of senators who are frequently seen not wearing a mask during hearings and legislative sessions.

“I had it, I got over it, and everything’s fine,” he said, the Journal Star reported. “I have no unique story. This happens 99.9% of the time.” (RELATED: Pfizer’s Coronavirus Vaccine Over 90% Effective, Company Says)

The senator, who compared his symptoms to “minor flu” symptoms, was advised by the state’s health department to quarantine until Tuesday, according to the Journal Star.

Groene told the Journal Star that he wanted the coronavirus pandemic to end and wanted herd immunity. Herd immunity is a strategy of combatting the pandemic by allowing an uncontrolled outbreak of a virus in a low-risk population so that people could acquire immunity to the virus by overcoming it, according to a paper published in The Lancet.

However, herd immunity has been criticized by epidemiologists who say it would lead to “untold human death and suffering,” according to Nature.

Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have increased in Nebraska over the last two weeks, data compiled by The New York Times showed. The state reported 2,182 new cases and 27 new deaths related to the virus on Tuesday. (RELATED: REPORT: Young Kids Losing Basic Skills Under Coronavirus Lockdowns)

Meanwhile, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and First Lady Susanne Shore will quarantine for 14 days after someone they had close contact with tested positive for the virus, the governor’s spokesman announced Tuesday, according to Fox affiliate KMEG-TV. Ricketts announced Monday that new medical directives will be enacted Wednesday to combat the rising cases in Nebraska.

Executive Board Chairman Mike Hilgers, who oversees the legislature’s administrative matters, said the Senate would follow Ricketts’ new guidelines limiting indoor gathering capacity to 25%, the Journal Star reported. Groene expressed his appreciation that Hilgers would still allow senators to attend meetings and hearings in person.

“It used to be called freedom,” Groene said, according to the Journal Star.

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