COVID19 update, October 8, 2020: The Great Barrington Declaration and the “modified Swedish approach”

At the town of Great Barrington, MA, three leading epidemiologists held a summit where they drafted the Great Barrington Declaration, with 36 initial co-signatories. Meanwhile, an online petition in support has been signed by over 10,000 medical and public health people, and over 100,000 members of the general public.

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.

You can read for yourself on their website what they advocate (in nine languages so far). The basic thrust is: no more lockdowns as their economic and collateral medical cost way exceeds any benefit; economic, as entire sectors and large swaths of the population lose their livelihood, and collateral medical, through reduced prevention and treatment availability for the Big Three deadly diseases (cancer, cardiovascular, cerebrovascular). (Reduced vaccinations for other infectious diseases will also cause higher morbidity and mortality from them.) Also, that we cannot wait long for a vaccine; we should instead focus on protecting the most vulnerable and allow the rest of the population to approach herd immunity in a controlled fashion. (If you like, a “Modified Swedish Approach” — the modification consisting of greater protection for the vulnerable.) They also argue that lockdowns disproportionately hurt the disadvantaged (since the jobs that can easily been done from home tend to be upper-middle and upper class jobs), and that suspending schools causes irreversible damage. [*] Because of the exponential dependence of the IFR (infection fatality rate) on age, they argue that school-age children are actually in a regime where influenza is more dangerous than COVID19.

Here the three authors of the declaration are being interviewed on UnHerd

Dr. John Campbell reacts here. While he agrees with some of their points, he is clearly at variance with others, sometimes (in his British understated way) stridently so. Let’s hear him out.

I do wish to say one thing though. He points to the three lead authors

and insinuates that people who come to such prominent positions often do so less because of their professional acumen than because of their skills at politicking. Now even if I granted, for the sake of argument, that this might be the case — how much more so can one say the same thing about the credentialed healthcare bureaucrats that sit at the top of WHO, CDC, NIAID, and the like?!?

UPDATE: White House advisor Dr. Scott Atlas tweets in support of the Great Barrington Declaration.
And in semi-related news, is vitamin D a silver bullet? Dr. Campbell has of course been advocating viatmin D supplements hammer and tongs for months, and very large scale Israeli studies seem to have conclusively proven a link between vitamin D deficiency and susceptibility to COVID19 infection as well as severity thereof. This is at any rate in the category of “things you should be fixing on general principle”, since vitamin D is so crucial in the immune system more generally.

[*] I would be much more sympathetic to this ‘school deprivation’ argument if schools were actually still in the business of education, rather than warehousing, political brainwashing“enlightenment”, and as playgrounds for the latest in pretentious and counterproductive educational theories.

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