COVID-19: International Experts Denounce Lockdowns Introduce Alternative

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Professors from Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford, along with more than 200,000 medical practitioners, scientists, and citizens have signed the Great Barrington Declaration, stating that to continue current COVID-19 policies until a vaccine is developed will "cause irreparable damage."

"Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health," the Declaration says.


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The chief authors of the declaration are Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, who is a biostatistician and epidemiologist with expertise in detecting and monitoring of infectious disease outbreaks and vaccine safety evaluations; Dr. Sunetra Gupta, epidemiologist and professor at Oxford University with expertise in immunology, vaccine development, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases; and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School, who is a physician, epidemiologist, health economist, and public health policy expert.

The experts met at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, to discuss what AIER described as "the global emergency created by the unprecedented use of state compulsion in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic."

On The Ingraham Angle, the authors discuss describe an evidence-based, non-hysterical approach to managing the pandemic: "Focused Protection" of at-risk people while immediately allowing those at low-risk for serious sequelae to go to work and school and develop herd immunity.


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Reams of public-health data and medical literature agree about the collateral damage from lockdowns, states a Wall Street Journal editorial. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there have been 93,814 non-Covid "excess deaths" this year, many due to government shutdowns of "non-essential" medical care.

Epidemiologist Harvey Risch, M.D., of Yale University states that successful implementation requires the availability of early outpatient pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and treatment—hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), ivermectin, and other medications.

The Great Barrington Declaration

The Great Barrington Declaration – 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. 


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Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice. 

Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.

Fortunately, our understanding of the virus is growing. We know 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. 

As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e.  the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity. 

The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection. 


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Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19. By way of example, nursing homes should use staff with acquired immunity and perform frequent PCR testing of other staff and all visitors. Staff rotation should be minimized. Retired people living at home should have groceries and other essentials delivered to their home. When possible, they should meet family members outside rather than inside. A comprehensive and detailed list of measures, including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented, and is well within the scope and capability of public health professionals. 

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 other 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.

On October 4, 2020, this declaration was authored and signed in Great Barrington, United States, by:

Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist with expertise in detecting and monitoring infectious disease outbreaks and vaccine safety evaluations.

Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, vaccine development, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician, epidemiologist, health economist, and public health policy expert focusing on infectious diseases and vulnerable populations.

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