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Experts Disagree with Lockdowns: The Great Barrington Declaration

On October 4, 2020, the Great Barrington Declaration was authored and signed by three world-renowned physicians and scientists, Dr. Martin Kulldorff, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya.  

This declaration has since been signed by nearly 40,000 medical practitioners, and an additional 13,000 medical and public-health scientists.  It outlines their grave concerns about the side-effects of the lockdowns. 

These lockdowns  are having an alarming effect on short- and long-term public health, including “lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings, and deteriorating mental health.”  There has been a rise in opioid overdoses, depression, anxiety, and suicide from social isolation.  

The approach these physicians and scientists are recommending is called “Focused Protection.”  Given increased knowledge about the virus and the concept of herd immunity, they recommend balancing risks and benefits.  This would allow those at lower risk of death to live a normal life and build immunity, while protecting those at higher risk.  They recommend that schools be open for in-person teaching due to the problem of  “‘catastrophic’ learning losses, with severe projected adverse consequences for affected students’ lifespans.”

The three authors of the Great Barrington Declaration released an updated statement on November 25, heavily documented with their research.  In this paper, “Focused Protection: The Middle Ground between Lockdowns and ‘Let it Rip,'”  they cite many studies to further promote balancing the protection of high-risk individuals with reducing the harm that lockdowns have caused in other aspects of healthcare.  

The authors staunchly oppose the impression that this is a “laissez-faire approach to ‘let the virus rip’ through society.”  Rather, they believe precautions should be taken by everyone to reduce the spread, but, since “zero COVID is impossible, herd immunity is the endpoint of this epidemic regardless of whether we choose lockdowns or focused protection to address it.”  

The Declaration relies on two scientific facts for its Focused Protection approach.  First, there is more than a thousand-fold difference in COVID-19 mortality between the oldest and youngest populations:  “For people under the age of 70, the infection survival rate is 99.95%.”  Therefore they say we should be focused on protecting the older and at-risk populations for whom COVID-19 is a deadly disease.  

The second fact is that “the harms of the lockdown are manifold and devastating.”  They note the job losses, depression, school closures, and worsening healthcare due to the lockdowns.  Therefore, they believe those people at minimal risk should be allowed to resume their activities in a safe manner.  More harm occurs to these low-risk individuals from the lockdown than the risk of the infection itself.  

Ultimately, these physicians and scientists conclude that “lockdowns are, and have always been, a radical approach to infection control.”  Lockdowns, they say,  are “inconsistent with the standard pandemic preparedness plans that existed before the COVID-19 epidemic.”

–Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, is a biostatistician and epidemiologist who specializes in the monitoring of infectious diseases and vaccine safety. 

–Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, is an epidemiologist specializing in immunology, vaccine development, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases. 

–Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, is a physician, epidemiologist, health economist, and public-health policy expert specializing in infectious diseases and vulnerable populations.

Written by Dr. Avani Gupta D.O.

Dr. Gupta is a Board Certified Family Physician with a Masters in Pharmacology


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