Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care and Global Health Policy Day
Today’s Topic — the “Great Barrington Declaration,” Sweden, and the politicization of public health
Martin Kulldorff is a professor at Harvard Medical School, a biostatistician and epidemiologist who has recently joined with Sunetra Gupta, an epidemiologist from Oxford University and Jay Bhattacharya, a Professor of Medicine at Stanford Medical School who has a PhD in economics as well as an MD to question the “lockdown” consensus. These people are not quacks. To me, a total non-expert, their point of view mirrors the “herd immunity” strategy embraced by Sweden which, according to a recent New York Times report, seems to be working out better than many expected. The Kulldorff-Gupta-Bhattacharya position is called “focused protection.” Their manifesto is called “the Great Barrington Declaration.” Today a few notes. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
KEEPING STUDENTS OUT OF SCHOOL IS A GRAVE INJUSTICE
1. It is poor students that are hurt the most.
2. For children, the Covid risk is less than the risk of the common flu.
3. “Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.”
THE COSTS OF LOCKDOWN
1. “Coming from the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects and short and long-term public health.”
2. “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.”
3. The Great Barrington Declaration has been signed by over 2200 medical and health care scientists and over 2500 practitioners.
THE MEANING OF FOCUSED PROTECTION
1. “The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of her 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.”
2. “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 office 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 with family members outside rather than inside.”
3. “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.”
For the last three years of posts organized by theme:
Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history…. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.
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