More than 12,000 medical professionals said they have “grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies.”
As of Friday, 12,307 medical practitioners and another 6,005 public health scientists across the globe had signed their names to the Great Barrington Declaration – named for the U.S. city where the idea was conceived.
Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine at Harvard University, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, an epidemiologist and professor at Oxford University, and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor at Stanford University Medical School, authored the declaration and released it to the public Sunday.
It now has more than 200,000 total signatures.
“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,” states the declaration.
Leaving lockdown policies in place until a vaccine is available could cause “irreparable damage” to the population, especially the underprivileged, it says.
“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 declaration reads.
The document calls for a “compassionate approach” to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic that allows those who are “at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally” while “better protecting those who are at higher risk.” Letting low-risk individuals return to their daily routines will help them “build up immunity to the virus through natural infection,” the declaration says.
“We call this Focused Protection,” it continues. “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.”
State Sen. Scott Jensen, a doctor, signed the declaration this week, saying “the schism caused by the global response to COVID-19 grieves me deeply.”