By deliberately allowing the Trump administration to do so, it signals the will to build “herd immunity” Corona virus To spread, major scientific institutions condemn a project they claim is life-threatening and practically impossible.
That plan, Laid out A controversial document called the “Great Barrington Declaration” by three scientists only calls for the protection of “vulnerable” people and for everyone else to be exposed to COVID-19. The authors discussed the strategy during a meeting with two top White House officials last week.
This week, more than a dozen groups representing the head of the World Health Organization and thousands of infectious diseases and public health professionals were severely pushed back in a series of formal protests.
“Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy to respond to an outbreak, let alone an epidemic. It is a scientific and ethical complex.” WHO Director-General Tetros Adanom Capreius Said Monday.
And on Wednesday, a team of 80 researchers The idea is that In a letter published in the top medical journal The Lancet, “a dangerous fall unsupported by scientific evidence.”
Great Barrington Declaration, Published on a website provided by an independent thinker, said that the corona virus is not so dangerous to many people, so “those who are not infected should be allowed to resume life naturally immediately.” The letter cites “serious concerns about the physical and mental effects of the COVID-19 policies in place” and calls for the resumption of large gatherings such as private teaching, reopening restaurants and businesses, and concerts and sporting events.
So far, the letter has been signed by more than 35,000 self-identified scientists and physicians – however Some signatories, Such as “Dr. “Johnny Bananas” and “Professor Cominick Dummings” were clearly identified as counterfeits. The signatures are then all personal.
The architects of the document are three scientists from Harvard, Stanford and Oxford Universities. Some of them Would have been Telling policymakers for months The virus is not so deadly. Last week they met with Secretary of State for Health and Human Services Alex Azhar and Stanford neurologist Scott Atlas on the White House Corona virus task force.
Both supported the scientists’ views. Afterwards, Azhar tweeted that they had been asked to “strongly strengthen the Trump administration’s strategy of aggressively protecting victims when schools and workplaces open.” At a White House summit on Monday, anonymous senior executives referred to the Great Barrington Declaration to reporters. “We have not approved a plan,” an official said. According to the Washington Post. “The plan recognizes that the president’s policy has been in place for months.”
The Great Barrington Declaration triggers the public welfare months as an epidemic that the federal government has failed to control. More than 216,000 Americans have died. Life has been elevated in every sense: jobs have been massively lost, large and small gatherings have been canceled, businesses, schools and restaurants have been closed. Data indicate that the infection has non-health effects of COVID-19: People are delaying receiving Screened for cancer And Treatment of stroke, And more and more adults have related issues Mental health and substance abuse.
As the world waits for a vaccine, “Infectious fatigueIt is spreading in the United States and elsewhere. In the UK, with COVID-19 cases on the rise again, lawmakers are battling public opposition as they seek to implement a second round. Locking operations.
But the leading scientific community says that abandoning the protection of healthy people from society is not an acceptable solution.
Up to 90% In the American population Is vulnerable According to the latest CDC estimates, for the virus. Health experts are concerned that in the absence of a vaccine, allowing the virus to be tested in healthy people could lead to disease. Admit to hospital, And kill many of them, not to mention drowning the health system. Even if young, healthy people die Relatively low rates, They can Spreads the virus to more vulnerable groups Or join “Long travelersWithstands debilitating symptoms for several months. There is no guarantee that survivors will become immune forever: no one knows how long the immune system will last, and A few of the reported restorations.
These experts say it is impossible to isolate millions of aging “vulnerable” Americans, There are pre-existing conditions, Or Live in homes with diversity. The Great Barrington Declaration proposes to separate these groups from other parts of society, but does not provide a plan for how to do it.
“It is irrelevant, irresponsible and misleading to promote the notion of ‘herd immunity’ as formulated in a recently distributed document instead of COVID-19 infection,” said the leaders of the American Association of Infectious Diseases and the HIV Medical Association. It represents more than 12,000 infectious diseases and 6,000 HIV / AIDS specialists, respectively. In a statement Wednesday.
In another joint statement on Wednesday, 14 major public health institutions Declared that “the recommendations put forward by the Great Barrington Declaration were not based on science” and that they would “sacrifice dangerous and unnecessary lives.”
“This announcement is not a strategy, it is a political statement,” said the American Public Health Association, the Association of Public Health Laboratories and the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Safety. “It ignores good public health expertise. It hunts down frustrated people. Instead of selling predictable misconceptions, we should focus on how to manage this epidemic safely, responsibly and equally.”
A team of 80 researchers confronts the Great Barrington Declaration with its own open letter: The John Snow Memorandum, Named for the 19th-century physician who discovered the source of the cholera outbreak in London and is considered the founder of modern epidemiology.
In the letter, the signatories acknowledged that “widespread depression and optimism are declining” in the face of continued restrictions in countries that have failed to comply with “adequate arrangements to manage the epidemic and its social repercussions”.
But the community simply cannot allow this letter, which is led by 30 groups and signed by 50 people in the fields of public health, epidemiology, medicine, health policy and others.
They wrote that measures such as widespread testing and communication tracking should be implemented, and that they should be supported by financial and social programs that promote social responses and address the disparities exacerbated by the epidemic. They cited Japan, Vietnam and New Zealand to show that they could control the exchange.
“The evidence is very clear: Controlling the social spread of COVID – 19 is the best way to protect our communities and economies until safe and effective vaccines and treatments arrive in the coming months,” they wrote.
“We cannot afford distractions that undermine the effective response; we need to act urgently based on the evidence.”