The idea of letting the virus run unchecked through communities "misses the basic point that we're all connected," former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Thomas Frieden told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
Frieden was responding to recent efforts to promote herd immunity as an answer to Covid-19. The idea is being pushed by those eager to stop the economic damage the pandemic has caused.
The virus has infected more than 7.9 million people and killed at least 216,872, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
A vaccine could be available to some groups by the end of the year. But some politicians hoping to reverse the economic havoc from the pandemic have embraced the idea of letting the virus spread until enough people have been infected and developed immunity that there is no where for it to spread next.
White House senior administration officials, in a call with reporters Monday, discussed a controversial declaration written by scientists that advocates for such an approach.
But the idea is "a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence" that risks "significant morbidity and mortality across the whole population," 80 scientists from around the world wrote in an open letter.
"Any infection anywhere is potentially a threat somewhere else because even if you feel fine and get over it with no problems, no long-term consequences, you might spread it to someone who dies from it. And that's what we're seeing all over the country," Frieden said.
It is impossible to keep just the vulnerable protected from the spread, Frieden said. And letting the virus run rampant would likely lead to recurring epidemics because there is no evidence that people are protected long-term after they have been infected, according to the letter.
The best way to achieve widespread immunity, Frieden said, will be through a vaccine.