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Leading epidemiologists call for an end to ‘devastating’ lockdown


Dozens of the world’s leading epidemiologists have called for an end to the ‘devastating’ lockdown that has wrecked economies across the world.

The scientists are calling for what they call ‘Focused Protection’ to be implemented instead of a blanket lockdown. This means allowing all but the most at risk to be allowed to continue life as normal, while the vulnerable should receive special care, such as delivery of groceries to the elderly, frequent virus testing in nursing homes, and the use of medical staff who have already built up immunity to the virus.

The so-called Great Barrington Declaration is signed by dozens of the world’s leading scientists and epidemiologists, including Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University; Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University; and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School.

“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,” says the authors.

“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.’

Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the aim of public health policies, not a blanket lockdown on everyone. Nursing homes should use staff with acquired immunity and perform frequent viral testing of other staff and all visitors. Staff rotation should be minimised. 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.”

You can read the declaration here.