Great Barrington

A charming town of 7,000 people in Massachusetts, north of New York and west of Boston, is where three of the world’s most eminent infectious disease epidemiologists from Oxford, Stanford and Harvard Universities met last week to write and launch their call for “Focused Protection” in responding to Covid.

Since launching The Great Barrington Declaration they were initially ignored by mainstream media, but more recently targeted in an apparent smear campaign. Names such as “Dr Johnny Bananas” have slipped through the almost 200,000 online signatures to the declaration, and then touted as proof that the declaration is some sort of hoax. One journalist wrote “NEW: A small band of scientists has been pushing policies reflecting the (unfounded) idea that COVID isn’t a big threat“. They have been attacked for “appearing on Fox News” and speaking on disapproved-of podcasts, when they are in fact appearing on a range of media in order to publicise the message to a wide audience. Not one of these academics appears to enjoy the spotlight and their work in this case appears to come at personal sacrifice aside from the attempts to tarnish their characters and motivations.

Critical thinking and plurality of opinion are not welcome in the Covid era. It seems a revealing sign of a failure in modern day education where the egos of those in control seem more important than exploring ideas and evidence. Nevertheless, the lead signatories on the declaration are an impressive list of epidemiologists, statisticians, microbiologists, geneticists, vaccinologists, physicians, mental health and other specialists from some of the world’s best universities. They will be hard to discredit.

Opposing the current response to the Covid pandemic does not dismiss the gravity of Covid. Rather it objects to unprecedented draconian measures being implemented which have no evidence to support their use, or for which there is evidence of immense damage being caused. Yet these measures threaten to become a template for future approaches to public health risk. We should all be incredibly concerned about this in my view.

Covid is a serious disease which harms a specific portion of the population who deserve resources to be focused on their protection. Resources and attention are instead being spent imposing unsustainable rules, isolating all of society from normal life, establishing a culture of blame and fear, destroying economies and livelihoods and justifying totalitarian politics. None of this represents a sound public health approach to any infectious disease.

One of the basic principles of public health is that you do not just look at one disease – you have to look at health as a whole, including all kinds of diseases, over a long period. That is not what has been done with Covid-19.

Martin Kulldorff: Lockdown is a terrible experiment

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