In the hours after President Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination, public attention was largely centered on the president’s broadly deceptive speech and the willingness of the administration to violate legal statutes barring the use of the White House for campaigning. So a report from CNN’s Jim Acosta flew somewhat under the radar.

Acosta had asked a White House official why there was apparently no effort to implement social distancing measures for the audience at the speech. The official’s response?

“Everybody is going to catch this thing eventually,” the official reportedly said.

It’s a staggering comment, for a variety of reasons. The most obvious is that everyone won’tcatch the novel coronavirus eventually, ideally; the point of developing a vaccine is to keep that from happening. What’s more, even if there were no vaccine, there’s a big difference between people catching it now and catching it in a year or two when there might be better therapeutic treatments or potentially a cure. It’s like shrugging at people getting infections before the invention of penicillin.

But this was also one comment from one official, and it was not something that we could simply ascribe to the administration overall as a deliberate strategy.

Until Monday morning, when The Washington Post reported that something along these lines is gaining acceptance among White House leadership.

“One of President Trump’s top medical advisers is urging the White House to embrace a controversial ‘herd immunity’ strategy to combat the pandemic, which would entail allowing the coronavirus to spread through most of the population to quickly build resistance to the virus, while taking steps to protect those in nursing homes and other vulnerable populations, according to five people familiar with the discussions,”….