Unremarkably, given the politicization of COVID-19, the most popular strain of a corona cold virus, Big Media has paid, at best, minimal attention to The Great Barrington Declaration.
The Declaration, designed as a resounding repudiation of the prevailing response to COVID-19 (what I refer to as the Internment), was co-authored by Dr. Martin Kulldorf, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya. It was signed in Great Barrington, Massachusetts on October 4.
Kulldorf is a professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and an epidemiologist whose area of specialization is the detection and monitoring of infectious disease outbreaks and vaccine safety evaluations.
Gupta is a professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist who specializes in immunology, vaccine development, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases.
Bhattacharya is a professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician, epidemiologist, health economist, and public health policy expert focusing on infectious diseases and vulnerable populations.
The Declaration begins thus:
“As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection.”
The authors explain that the co-signers are of “both the left and right, and [from] around the world” and have “devoted their lives to protecting people.” It is their expertise and their singularity of focus upon the latter that unite them to speak out against the “lock down policies” that “are producing [such] devastating effects on short and long-term public health” as “lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health [.]”
These are but some of the consequences of the Internment of 2020 that promise to lead to “greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden.”
The Declaration refers to the closing of schools as a “grave injustice.”
“Keeping these [lockdown] measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.”
The Great Barrington Declaration notes that “vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young. Indeed, for children, COVID-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.”
The authors remind us that as “immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all—including the vulnerable—falls.” Since “all populations will eventually reach herd immunity—i.e. the point at which the rate of new infections is stable,” and since “this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine,” the “goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.”
Their proposal for realizing this objective—what they call “Focused Protection”—is the “most compassionate approach [.]” It “balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity” and “allow[s] those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection [.]” At the same time, Focused Protection supplies “better” protection to “those who are at highest risk.”
Prescriptions for low-risk populations are self-evident to any and all independent thinkers who have striven to immunize their minds against the fear that Big Government and Big Media have labored to sear into the collective consciousness over the last eight months:
“Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.”
As of this writing, 11,103 medical and public health scientists, 30,997 medical practitioners, and 568, 545 concerned citizens have signed the Great Barrington Declaration.
While the authors and co-signers deserve to be highly commended for daring to defy the Official (Big Media and Big Government-serving) Narrative on The Pandemic, there are, nevertheless, some critical respects in which their Declaration doesn’t go far enough beyond the Narrative.
Most glaring, it states that nursing home staff should perform “PCR testing of other staff and all visitors.”
The problem here is at least twofold.
First, this recommendation reinforces the conventional fiction that there is something uniquely dangerous about COVID-19 that warrants taking unique precautionary measures to prevent its transmission. But as Professor John Ionnnadis has said, it is not unusual that “even some so-called mild or common cold-type coronaviruses that have been known for decades can have case fatality rates as high as 8% [!] when they infect elderly people in nursing homes” (emphasis added).
The point here is not that precautionary measures shouldn’t be taken to protect those who are most vulnerable. The point, rather, is that there is no reason to assume extra-precautionary measures to protect the vulnerable against COVID, given the higher degree of susceptibility to all sorts of things that already prevails among this demographic group. To assume otherwise, as the authors of this Declaration appear to assume, is to fuel the very Narrative that it is their professed intention to undermine.
Second, and more importantly, the PCR test itself, as the New York Times (inadvertently) acknowledged last month, is essentially worthless. Conservative outlets, citing the article, reported that the Times conceded that the false-positive rate could be as high as 90%! Unsurprisingly, leftist “fact-checkers” charged these conservative journalists and commentators with “misinterpreting” what the article “really” said.
In a future essay, I will adjudicate this conflict to show that whatever the specific false-positive rate of the PCR, the scientists quoted in the Times did indeed admit that this test—which serves as the pretext upon which the very policies that the authors and signers of the Great Barrington Declaration decry—is indeed…junk.
For now, however, those of us who refuse to cower in fear over a cold virus with a mortality rate one-tenth of one percent or lower can thank these distinguished scientists for proposing a response to COVID-19 that affirms the free agency of men and women over the dominant Statist approach that reduces adults to children—or slaves.