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. 

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. 

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 of 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

Co-signers

Medical and Public Health Scientists and Medical Practitioners

Dr. Rajiv Bhatia, physician, epidemiologist and public policy expert at the Veterans Administration, USA

Dr. Stephen Bremner,professor of medical statistics, University of Sussex, England

Dr. Anthony J Brookes, professor of genetics, University of Leicester, England

Dr. Helen Colhoun, ,professor of medical informatics and epidemiology, and public health physician, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Dr. Angus Dalgleish, oncologist, infectious disease expert and professor, St. George’s Hospital Medical School, University of London, England

Dr. Sylvia Fogel, autism expert and psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and instructor at Harvard Medical School, USA

Dr. Eitan Friedman, professor of medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Israel

Dr. Uri Gavish, biomedical consultant, Israel

Dr. Motti Gerlic, professor of clinical microbiology and immunology, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Dr. Gabriela Gomes, mathematician studying infectious disease epidemiology, professor, University of Strathclyde, Scotland

Dr. Mike Hulme, professor of human geography, University of Cambridge, England

Dr. Michael Jackson, research fellow, School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Dr. Annie Janvier, professor of pediatrics and clinical ethics, Université de Montréal and Sainte-Justine University Medical Centre, Canada

Dr. David Katz, physician and president, True Health Initiative, and founder of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, USA

Dr. Andrius Kavaliunas, epidemiologist and assistant professor at Karolinska Institute, Sweden

Dr. Laura Lazzeroni, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and of biomedical data science, Stanford University Medical School, USA

Dr. Michael Levitt, biophysicist and professor of structural biology, Stanford University, USA. Recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Dr. David Livermore, microbiologist, infectious disease epidemiologist and professor, University of East Anglia, England

Dr. Jonas Ludvigsson, pediatrician, epidemiologist and professor at Karolinska Institute and senior physician at Örebro University Hospital, Sweden

Dr. Paul McKeigue, physician, disease modeler and professor of epidemiology and public health, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Dr. Cody Meissner, professor of pediatrics, expert on vaccine development, efficacy, and safety. Tufts University School of Medicine, USA

Dr. Ariel Munitz, professor of clinical microbiology and immunology, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Dr. Yaz Gulnur Muradoglu, professor of finance, director of the Behavioural Finance Working Group, Queen Mary University of London, England

Dr. Partha P. Majumder, professor and founder of the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, Kalyani, India

Dr. Udi Qimron, professor of clinical microbiology and immunology, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Dr. Matthew Ratcliffe, professor of philosophy, specializing in philosophy of mental health, University of York, England

Dr. Mario Recker, malaria researcher and associate professor, University of Exeter, England

Dr. Eyal Shahar, physician, epidemiologist and professor (emeritus) of public health, University of Arizona, USA

Dr. Karol Sikora MA, physician, oncologist, and professor of medicine at the University of Buckingham, England

Dr. Matthew Strauss, critical care physician and assistant professor of medicine, Queen’s University, Canada

Dr. Rodney Sturdivant, infectious disease scientist and associate professor of biostatistics, Baylor University, USA

Dr. Simon Thornley, epidemiologist and biostatistician, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Dr. Ellen Townsend, professor of psychology, head of the Self-Harm Research Group, University of Nottingham, England

Dr. Lisa White, professor of modelling and epidemiology, Oxford University, England

Dr. Simon Wood, biostatistician and professor, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

2 thoughts on “The Great Barrington Declaration

  1. Will the world listen to them? I doubt it.

    I think it is important to recognize when judgement has been decreed. If prayer is to be according to the will of God, then man makes excuses to petition against what God has firmly decided. Ezekiel 20:31-37.

    This gets to a deeper question. Is it the gospel that brings belief? I used to think that way. I’m not so sure anymore. It is the repentant that hear and are saved. How do we know this? Jesus asks a critical question: “John’s baptism – was it of heaven or of man”? John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Forget the water. Luke 7:30 makes it clear that those who refused John’s baptism were blinded to receiving Jesus. So it appears the gospel is not really as nice as commonly advertised. Without repentance, the gospel turns from an instrument of peace to an instrument of wrath and judgement. (John 3).

    Throughout history, there are millions who have been convicted of belief upon hearing the gospel, because in their hearts they were ready to repent and indeed already seeking to, if only they could receive the power of God to do so. And there have been billions who have heard the full witness of all the testimony of God but to no avail. In this way the mystery of God’s righteousness is evident, since we see a requirement which is far more dangerous than supposed. What God requires is to be ready at all times to receive him. Jesus shows up at the door of your heart and says, “I’m coming to your house today. If you have any faith you will continue to have faith. If anyone does not have faith, the scriptures command him to ask God for it.

    So in these last days, when God has decreed disaster for the world, how do we pray? I would venture that we continue to pray for the lost and the broken, sinners like we are. But for the wicked? Is it not the height of arrogance for the Christian to say that he forgives what Jesus will not? If any man be rejected of God, than a Christian endangers his soul to entertain the hope of bringing such a man to his side. Don’t be so confident in your own salvation that you throw away your own soul in an attempt to be holier than God!

    I’m not Moses, who walked with God face to face and was able to talk God into being merciful. But neither were the Israelites God was threatening to destroy very knowledgeable. Hebrews says that they received the testimony of angels, but we have received the witness of the Son. Rejection of the Son is not like rejection of his messengers. It is the final condemnation of the world; it is the final chance the world gets to repent of our rejection of Him.

    Like

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