Republican political operatives were recorded on May 11 conference call talking about recruiting “extremely pro-Trump” doctors to go on television and call for the U.S. economy to reopen without meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) safety benchmarks to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
Dr. Knut Wittkowski told Fox News host Laura Ingraham on May 18 that viruses — such as the deadly cornavirus — just go away after two to five weeks and people should not “think about it anymore”:
Respiratory disease epidemics, and this is just one of those, they come and last about two weeks, they peak, they go for about two weeks… We have immunity and we don’t have to think about it anymore.
The Rockefeller University, where Wittkowski used to work as a biostatistician, distanced itself from him on April 13: “The opinions that have been expressed by Knut Wittkowski, discouraging social distancing in order to hasten the development of herd immunity to the novel coronavirus, do not represent the views of The Rockefeller University, its leadership, or its faculty.”
The Center for Media and Democracy, a progressive watchdog group, leaked a recording of the conference call to the Associated Press.
The conference call included a senior staffer for the Trump reelection campaign and CNP Action, which is part of the Save Our Country Coalition, an group of right wing activists formed in late April to end state shutdowns that were slowing the spread of the deadly virus.
The Save Our Country Coalition also includes the pro-corporation FreedomWorks Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council and Tea Party Patriots.