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The Great Barrington Declaration

October 7th, 2020

“Focused Protection” is a measured, data-based approach that could help end the lockdowns that disproportionally harm the old and vulnerable

I just signed the Great Barrington Declaration petition, and I encourage you to read it and do the same.

The Great Barrington Declaration was drafted by three pre-eminent infectious disease epidemiologists –a professor at Harvard, a professor at Oxford, and a professor at Stanford Medical School.  Their political views are widely divergent, but their analysis on the lockdown strategies, school and small business closures and public health strategies on COVID are not.  The Wall Street Journal published a compelling editorial in promotion of the Declaration.  Thousands of medical and public health professionals have signed on to this new strategy, termed “Focused Protection”, proposed by the authors.  I have argued for such a measured, data-based approach for many months, as regular readers of this blog know.

I believe to the marrow of my bones that the damage being done to our country’s social and economic well-being, and to our elderly and vulnerable, is vastly more extensive than the media and various government officials have led us to believe.  Irreversible harm accrues by the day.  I was in the great city of Milwaukee on Monday morning and downtown was basically a ghost town.  Our Board Chairman, Guy Smith, who has been active with the local Boys and Girls Club, has irrefutable data that COVID is hammering minority children – not the illness, but the shut downs.

Milwaukee’s misery has plenty of company.  New York City is unrecognizable, and yet, it appears, on the verge of being locked down again.  I spoke with a small deli owner in the building where I work in Washington and his business is not showing any signs of recovery as it teeters on permanent closure, as the nearby city blocks once swelling with tourists, are largely abandoned.

The Great Barrington authors point out the death toll and other collateral damages that arise when, as Scripture puts it, we “strain out the gnat and swallow the camel” through prophylactic measures that are both unnecessary and harmful.  We want to stop the spread of germs without differentiating within the demography (i.e. who is at risk of death, and who isn’t).  And as the authors point out, it is the poor and disadvantaged who will suffer the most if we do not change course immediately.  The great majority of elderly will survive COVID.  But what will happen to their quality of life, support services, fixed incomes, and the various networks that sustain them?

COVID has become a political football and a game of “gotcha.”  Much of the media reporting has frightened more than informed.  The Great Barrington Declaration could nudge our country and the world back to normalcy before further irreparable harm is done to our way of life and how we interact with each other.  As I have written before, a society where all are trained to suspect and avoid each other is not healthy or human.  Focused prevention along the lines the authors of the Declaration advocate can save lives without incurring widespread collateral damage.

Time is of the essence.  I hope you sign up – and sound off in your areas of influence.  Weigh in with all of the candidates on the ballot.  Challenge your office mates, family members and friends when they argue that the tired strategies of spring 2020 are necessary again.  Our elderly, disabled and mentally ill need us to engage before further harm – and death – ensue.

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