James Freeman devoted his Best of the Web column yesterday to flagging the Great Barrington Declaration. Freeman’s column asks “Why Won’t the Media Listen to These Scientists?” He explains that the scientists and practitioners who are signatory to the declaration — they number more than a thousand per the running total at the top of the declaration — warn against the destructive policies adopted to address COVID-19. That must be why we haven’t heard much about it.
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.
The scientists go on to note that the poor are “disproportionately harmed” by current policies and that for children, “COVID-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.” They add that the best approach “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.”
This means that those “who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal,” including attending schools, going to restaurants, participating in sports and even gathering at public events. Meanwhile attention should be focused on protecting those most at risk.
The declaration spells out how to protect those most at risk:
…nursing homes should use staff with acquired immunity and perform frequent [polymerase chain reaction] 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.
When Joe Biden repeatedly asserts that his policy is to “listen to the science,” or some such mantra, you can be sure this isn’t what he has in mind, if he has anything at all in mind.
The declaration is accessible in its entirety here.