The Trump administration is also signaling its willingness to build “herd immunity” by intentionally allowing for Corona Virus For the spread, major scientific organizations condemn a plan they say would be life-threatening and practically impossible.
That plan, Developed By three scientists in a controversial document called “The Great Barrington Declaration,” it only calls for protecting “vulnerable” people and allowing everyone else to catch COVID-19. The authors discussed the strategy in a meeting with two senior White House officials last week.
This week, senior US health official Anthony Fauci, head of the World Health Organization, and more than a dozen groups representing thousands of infectious disease and public health experts responded swiftly to a series of official denunciations.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “We just have to look at this square in the eye and say it’s nonsense.” ABC News said Thursday.
“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 problem,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus He said on Monday.
On Wednesday, a group of 80 researchers Called the idea “A dangerous fallacy not supported by scientific evidence” in a letter published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet.
Barrington Great Announcement, Which was posted on a website sponsored by a liberal think-tank, argues that the coronavirus is not dangerous to many people, so “people who are not at risk should be allowed immediately to resume their lives naturally,” citing “serious concerns about the harmful effects on the physical and mental health of the policies. Prevailing COVID-19, ”the letter calls for personal re-teaching, reopening of restaurants and businesses, and resumption of large gatherings such as concerts and sporting events.
To date, the letter has been signed by more than 35,000 self-identified scholars and clinicians – despite this. Some signers, Such as “Dr. Johnny Bananas” and “Professor Cominik Dominguez” were identified as clearly fake, and all the signatures were later made private.
The architects of the document are three scholars from Harvard, Stanford and Oxford universities. some of them It has been Inform policymakers for months The virus is not fatal. Last week they met with Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist at Stanford University on the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Both expressed support for the scholars’ views. After that, Azar tweeted that they had heard “a strong reinforcement of the Trump administration’s strategy of aggressively protecting the vulnerable while opening schools and workplaces.” And in a call called by the White House on Monday, anonymous senior administration officials referred to Barrington’s great announcement to reporters. One of the officials said, “We do not support a plan.” According to the Washington Post. “The plan supports what the president’s policy has been for months.”
Barrington’s great public interest announcement sparked months into a pandemic that the federal government had failed to control. More than 216,000 Americans have died. Life has been upended in almost every sense of the word: jobs are lost on a massive scale, gatherings large and small are canceled, businesses, schools and restaurants have closed. The data suggests the pandemic has health impacts other than COVID-19: People are postponing infection Cancer screening And Treated from strokes, And more adults are experiencing issues related to Mental health and substance abuse.
While the world waits for a vaccine,Epidemic fatigue“It is spreading in the US and elsewhere. In the UK, where cases of COVID-19 are rising again, lawmakers face public resistance as they seek a second round.” Of lockdown measures.
But the mainstream scientific community says that essentially abandoning protecting healthy people from the virus is not an acceptable solution.
Up to 90% Residents of the United States Still vulnerable For the virus, according to recent CDC estimates. Health experts are concerned that letting the pathogen spread unchecked in healthy people, in the absence of a vaccine, would get sick. HospitalizationAnd it kills many of them, not to mention overwhelming the healthcare system. Even if healthy young people die Relatively lower rates, They can It still transmits the virus to high-risk groups Or join the ‘Long Distances“Those who suffer debilitating symptoms for months in a row. It is also not guaranteed that survivors will be permanently immune: no one knows how long immunity lasts, and there has been A handful of re-infections reported.
These experts also say that it would also be impossible to isolate millions of “vulnerable” Americans from the elderly. You have pre-existing conditions, Or They live in multi-generational families. Barrington’s Great Declaration suggests isolating these groups from the rest of society but does not provide a plan for how to do so.
“The promotion of the concept of” herd immunity “as contained in a recently circulated document as an answer to the COVID-19 pandemic is inappropriate, irresponsible, and unenlightened, the heads of the American Infectious Diseases Association and the HIV Society said. Which represent, respectively, more than 12,000 experts in infectious diseases and 6,000 specialists in the field of HIV / AIDS, The current situation Wednesday.
And in another joint statement, Wednesday, 14 notable public health organizations He declared that “the proposals in Barrington’s Great Declaration are not based on science” and that “they will sacrifice lives indiscriminately and unnecessarily.”
“The announcement is not a strategy, it is a political statement,” wrote the groups that included the American Public Health Association, the Public Health Laboratory Association, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Security. It ignores common sense public health expertise. It preys on the frustrated masses. Instead of selling a false hope that will backfire, we must focus on how to manage this epidemic in a safe, responsible and equitable manner. “
A group of 80 researchers confront Barrington’s great declaration with their own open letter: the Jon Snow NoteNamed after a nineteenth-century doctor who traced the source of the cholera outbreak in London and is considered the founder of modern epidemiology.
In the letter, the signatories acknowledged that there has been “widespread frustration and diminishing confidence” in the face of ongoing restrictions in countries that have failed to adopt “appropriate provisions to manage the epidemic and its societal effects.”
But society simply cannot allow the virus to spread unchecked in large groups of people, as argued the speech, led by 30 researchers and signed by 50 others in the fields of public health, epidemiology, medicine, health policy, and other disciplines.
They write that measures such as large-scale testing and contact tracing need to be implemented, and “they must be backed by financial and social programs that encourage community responses and address inequalities amplified by the pandemic.” They pointed to Japan, Vietnam and New Zealand as countries that showed that transmission could be controlled.
“The evidence is very clear: Controlling the spread of COVID-19 in society is the best way to protect our societies and economies until safe and effective vaccines and treatments arrive within the coming months,” they wrote.
“We cannot tolerate the distractions that undermine an effective response; it is imperative that we act urgently on the evidence.”