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The great Barrington declaration

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MattA7

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Has any country ever considered The great Barrington declaration?

Although I can’t see the UK doing it unfortunately I’m wondering if any other country had considered it or likely to at some point in the near future.

Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. 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. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.

Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.
 
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Today I saw a sign posted on a fence encouraging people to read and sign it, but unfortunately I don't think it will gain much more traction generally than it has already, because it doesn't fit the narrative we are being fed.
 

brad465

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Today I saw a sign posted on a fence encouraging people to read and sign it, but unfortunately I don't think it will gain much more traction generally than it has already, because it doesn't fit the narrative we are being fed.
I agree the narrative is the reason it's not being widely considered, although I read somewhere the White House were considering it at one point (and to be fair Trump's constant rhetoric more or less fits the Declaration anyway, much though I like many despise him in general).
 

kristiang85

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I posted it on my Facebook and a load of people were saying I was supporting pseudo-science, I must be quite heartless, etc. etc.

Obviously they didn't read it, and when I made points to counter theirs they didn't reply. I haven't bothered since, but it seems a lot of people are just taking in the government/BBC narrative and not questioning it in any way.

But a lot also liked it, at least.
 

Bantamzen

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I posted it on my Facebook and a load of people were saying I was supporting pseudo-science, I must be quite heartless, etc. etc.

Obviously they didn't read it, and when I made points to counter theirs they didn't reply. I haven't bothered since, but it seems a lot of people are just taking in the government/BBC narrative and not questioning it in any way.

But a lot also liked it, at least.

I had a similar experience, lots of social media experts telling me that this strategy wouldn't work because they had seen a meme on Facebook or something. And when challenged none could answer.
 

hwl

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Has any country ever considered The great Barrington declaration. Although I can’t see the UK doing it unfortunately I’m wondering if any other country had considered it or likely to at some point in the near future.
The declaration was organised and funded by the Koch brother's pet libertarian economic think tank (American Institute for Economic Research) which has a long history of funding climate change and smoking causes cancer denial and heavily promoted by the Koch brother's favourite PR agency.

As such not many countries would touch it. The Koch brothers have heavily funded Trump hence the White House link.
 

kristiang85

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The declaration was organised and funded by the Koch brother's pet libertarian economic think tank (American Institute for Economic Research) which has a long history of funding climate change and smoking causes cancer denial and heavily promoted by the Koch brother's favourite PR agency.

As such not many countries would touch it. The Koch brothers have heavily funded Trump hence the White House link.

Yeah this is the problem - the people attached to it make others think it is illegitimate. However, in isolation it is a very sound strategy. But sadly it won't gain mainstream traction because of the people involved.

It's the same as anti-lockdown protests in the UK - they should be showing how this is affecting so many swathes of people, but the moment Piers Corbyn and his friends turn up, they just look like loony gatherings.
 

HSTEd

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SAGE would never approve a strategy that kills people in their social circles.

Much easier to kill (poor/young) people they've never met and will never meet, and who, since they won't die of a single identifiable condition, they can kid themselves into believing they haven't killed.
 

yorkie

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It's not a right wing thing; see the interview I linked to be quote from, which was with left leaning health experts from the US, who are basically saying the same sort of thing:


Those who want to harm, disenfranchise and demonise younger/poorer people are currently getting their way in many countries, such as the UK. It's wrong. Our approach is disgraceful.

Today I saw a sign posted on a fence encouraging people to read and sign it, but unfortunately I don't think it will gain much more traction generally than it has already, because it doesn't fit the narrative we are being fed.
Absolutely.
 

GRALISTAIR

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It's not a right wing thing ————with left leaning health experts from the US, who are basically saying the same sort of thing:

Those who want to harm, disenfranchise and demonise younger/poorer people are currently getting their way in many countries, such as the UK. It's wrong. Our approach is disgraceful.

Absolutely.

look at not just the co-signers but also all those who have put their name to it.
 
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MikeWM

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I’ve signed it, and I almost never do internet petitons as I think they are largely pointless.

I’m no fan of the AIER or the Koches - to put it mildly - but on as important an issue as this, I don’t care who I stand with if they’re right.

(It reminds me somewhat of the campaign against ID cards, though even more important. That was a very odd coalition of people too (I remember the odd sight of Tony Benn and Peter Lilley on the same stage!) but some issues very much warrant it).
 

MattA7

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If I’m correct in thinking is Nigel farage’s new “reform party” (discussed in another thread) pushing for a policy similar to the great Barrington declaration with “focused protection” for the vulnerable and building heard immunity in the general population.
 

yorkie

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From another thread:

The linked article refers, quite literally, to the authors of GBS - Gupta, Kulldorf and Bhattacharya. Who are the ones described in the tweets at that round table.

As for AIER, my primary evidence is in their appointment of well known left wing feminist Naomi Wolf following her extensive promotion of anti vax. As her account’s been taken down for misinformation, providing links is a wee bit challenging.


It’s a fair distinction, but one that AIER don’t make. Their opposition is to public health measures in general.
Thank you for the constructive criticism, as usual.

Regarding your dismissal of my reference to engaging Naomi Wolf, I take the view that actions speak louder than words. Wolf is not just “somebody unsavoury” (though that’s a good description of her), but has been a very high profile campaigner against all measures to do with Covid. I might also add that she was the author whose book had to be pulped after an interview on Radio 3 showed that the whole basis of her thesis (a phrase in court records) meant precisely the opposite of what she said it did; this on top of questionable (at best) data for her previous books. I’d say that’s ample evidence of the position of AIER, and good corroboration of the astroturfing credentials of GBD, especially when combined with the positioning of Kulldorf and Bhattacharya (Gupta seems mercifully quiet these days).

Truth is no slur

This is an attempt to distract and sidetrack from the question raised by the original poster.

It is an attempt to somehow equate anti-mask policies with anti-vax; I object because here in the UK people are overwhelmingly for getting vaccinated as a way of returning to normal life and the vast majority are not interested in wearing masks (but mostly do so quietly without actively voicing an opinion either way)

I will address the claims in this thread by quoting from the GBD website:

What are the physical health impacts of lockdowns?

There are many physical health harms from lockdowns. Medical care visits have plummeted, with people avoiding needed medical care. This includes lower childhood vaccination rates....
How do lockdowns harm the developing world?

....Vaccination campaigns in poor countries that address diseases like measles and polio have been suspended due to the lockdowns....
If they are anti-vax, why do they list this as a downside of lockdowns?

What is the role of vaccines in focused protection?


If wisely used, COVID-19 vaccines are an important additional tool for focused protection. The key is to vaccinate older high-risk people as well as their care givers, such as hospital and nursing home staff.....
Again if they were anti-vax they would not describe vaccines as "important"
 

35B

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From another thread:






This is an attempt to distract and sidetrack from the question raised by the original poster.

It is an attempt to somehow equate anti-mask policies with anti-vax; I object because here in the UK people are overwhelmingly for getting vaccinated as a way of returning to normal life and the vast majority are not interested in wearing masks (but mostly do so quietly without actively voicing an opinion either way)

I will address the claims in this thread by quoting from the GBD website:



If they are anti-vax, why do they list this as a downside of lockdowns?


Again if they were anti-vax they would not describe vaccines as "important"
It is not an attempt to distract, but to draw out one aspect of the politicisation of science that has surrounded Covid. Meanwhile, and referencing one of the authors of the BMJ article I linked, evidence of the views on vaccination of the GBD lead authors - https://twitter.com/GYamey/status/1443201342772678660?s=20.

The point about their fetish for "focused protection" is that they deny the role of both masks and vaccines in dealing with Covid at a population scale. Kulldorf and Bhattacharya have gone into press misrepresenting the risks of childhood vaccination for Covid as being more dangerous than the disease itself:
First, all medical interventions should pass the test of providing more benefits than risks. For the COVID vaccine, this is decidedly true for older populations but it is not yet clear for younger people. While we know that COVID vaccines have common but mild adverse reactions, we will not know enough about rare but serious adverse reactions until a few years after vaccine approval.

For older people, this does not cause a dilemma. Even if there is a small risk of a serious adverse reaction, that is still better than the much higher risk of dying from COVID. Hence, we should do everything we can to encourage vaccination for older people, including less affluent people whom our health care system often has difficulty reaching.

For younger adults and children, it is a different story, as their mortality risk is extremely low. Even a slight risk of a serious vaccine adverse reaction could tip the benefit-risk calculation, making the vaccine more harmful than beneficial. We have already observed rare problems with blood clots (J&J vaccine) and myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle, Pfizer and Moderna) in younger people, and additional equally serious issues might still be found.
These are precisely the talking points of the determined anti-vaxxers elsewhere, misrepresenting the data and risks to minimise harm from disease, and accentuate the harms from vaccination.
 

MikeWM

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The point about their fetish for "focused protection" is that they deny the role of both masks and vaccines in dealing with Covid at a population scale. Kulldorf and Bhattacharya have gone into press misrepresenting the risks of childhood vaccination for Covid as being more dangerous than the disease itself:

These are precisely the talking points of the determined anti-vaxxers elsewhere, misrepresenting the data and risks to minimise harm from disease, and accentuate the harms from vaccination.

That comment from the GBD authors sounds remarkably similar to the assessment given by those notorious anti-vaxxers at the JCVI, which didn't approve the vaccination of healthy under-16s for pretty much exactly those reasons.
 

big_rig

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That comment from the GBD authors sounds remarkably similar to the assessment given by those notorious anti-vaxxers at the JCVI, which didn't approve the vaccination of healthy under-16s for pretty much exactly those reasons.
Damn those awful anti-vaxxers! How terrible. Strangely we can also add to that list Kate Bingham, the head of the UK vaccines taskforce, who in October 2020 said “vaccinating everyone in the country is not going to happen” and that we “just need to vaccinate everyone at risk.”

Or David Nabarro, who in the same interview said addressing the coronavirus crisis “was not going to be a case of getting everyone vaccinated.”

Or Devi Sridhar (lol) who said the “fact many British people believed a vaccine would be taken by the entire population pointed to a lack of clarity in government messaging.”


Less than half UK population to receive coronavirus vaccine, says task force head​

 

yorkie

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There is almost no case for vaccinating children if you were look purely at the risks to them (which are tiny either way).

However given the society we live in, and the sacrifices being forced upon children and the threats made against them, the only sensible course of action is to vaccinate 12-15 year olds (and possibly go a bit younger than that too) for the greater good, not purely on health grounds for the children.

Ultimately the GBD was absolutely spot on to say that the virus would become endemic and could not be eliminated.

Initial harsh lockdowns were designed with elimination in mind; we now realise (and even New Zealand realises!) that this was never a realistic possibility.

GBD were correct all along, however the proponents of harsh lockdowns got lucky in that vaccines were developed much more rapidly than many people had thought. Lockdowns were then diluted (to the point people argued over whether they were really lockdowns; whatever you call them they were most harmful towards poorer people) to delay the spread until vaccines had taken effect.

@35B You can argue that what we did was something between Zero Covid and GBD but at the end of the day Zero Covid was completely discredited while the main points of GBD, that the virus would become endemic, were absolutely spot on. Feel free to find holes in some of the detail of their policies if you like, but can you tell me who was more accurate and realistic in their outlook from the very start?
 

Bikeman78

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Damn those awful anti-vaxxers! How terrible. Strangely we can also add to that list Kate Bingham, the head of the UK vaccines taskforce, who in October 2020 said “vaccinating everyone in the country is not going to happen” and that we “just need to vaccinate everyone at risk.”

Or David Nabarro, who in the same interview said addressing the coronavirus crisis “was not going to be a case of getting everyone vaccinated.”

Or Devi Sridhar (lol) who said the “fact many British people believed a vaccine would be taken by the entire population pointed to a lack of clarity in government messaging.”

Wow that really is an eye opener.
 

Yew

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Kulldorf and Bhattacharya have gone into press misrepresenting the risks of childhood vaccination for Covid as being more dangerous than the disease itself:
A conclusion which was not dissimilar to that of the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation here in the UK...

It is also worth considering that the GBD was written before we had approved and effective vaccines; hence them being talked about in a hypothetical future manner, rather than something more practical and present.
 

35B

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There is almost no case for vaccinating children if you were look purely at the risks to them (which are tiny either way).

However given the society we live in, and the sacrifices being forced upon children and the threats made against them, the only sensible course of action is to vaccinate 12-15 year olds (and possibly go a bit younger than that too) for the greater good, not purely on health grounds for the children.

Ultimately the GBD was absolutely spot on to say that the virus would become endemic and could not be eliminated.

Initial harsh lockdowns were designed with elimination in mind; we now realise (and even New Zealand realises!) that this was never a realistic possibility.

GBD were correct all along, however the proponents of harsh lockdowns got lucky in that vaccines were developed much more rapidly than many people had thought. Lockdowns were then diluted (to the point people argued over whether they were really lockdowns; whatever you call them they were most harmful towards poorer people) to delay the spread until vaccines had taken effect.

@35B You can argue that what we did was something between Zero Covid and GBD but at the end of the day Zero Covid was completely discredited while the main points of GBD, that the virus would become endemic, were absolutely spot on. Feel free to find holes in some of the detail of their policies if you like, but can you tell me who was more accurate and realistic in their outlook from the very start?
I think you’ll find that, while we disagree on whether zero Covid could have been tried, we agree on Covid becoming endemic - indeed, my view of the likely case future is heavily influenced by the ballpark maths of Francois Balloux suggesting 20k cases is a likely run rate and where we will have to learn to accept risk.

However, I don’t then accept the premiss of GBD around “focused protection” in an epidemic, or that the policy they advocated was either ethical or practical. It’s noticeable that the proponents of GBD never suggested how it could be implemented practically, or acknowledged the breadth of protection that would be required. Meanwhile, the politicisation that went with it has led to very high case rates - with associated fatalities - as the wider message of no public health and “freedom” associated with GBD has been adopted in places like Florida.
 

Yew

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It’s interesting that you mention Florida, and didn’t when California had worse numbers…
 

MikeWM

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However, I don’t then accept the premiss of GBD around “focused protection” in an epidemic, or that the policy they advocated was either ethical or practical.

I'm not sure what is unethical about attempting to protect those most at risk of a disease rather than trying to protect everyone equally. Indeed, I would say lockdowns are unethical for precisely that reason (among many others).

If you need say 80% of the populaton to get a disease to reach 'endemic equilibrium' and we know the disease affects a certain group of society much worse than others, it seems far more ethical to try to load that 80% as much as possible onto people who aren't significantly affected (ie. GBD) than apply it equally across the population (lockdowns and the rest).

Whether it was practical is perhaps a different question, but I think for example we would all agree that more could and should have been done to have protected care homes.

Meanwhile, the politicisation that went with it has led to very high case rates - with associated fatalities - as the wider message of no public health and “freedom” associated with GBD has been adopted in places like Florida.

Florida doesn't appear to have ended up all that bad. Their current case rate is very low, and they're only 9th worst out of the 50 states in terms of total number of deaths, which given the demographics of Florida (*lots* of very elderly people!) seems reasonable. New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, with all their lockdown measures and masks on 2-year-olds, have done worse.
 

35B

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I'm not sure what is unethical about attempting to protect those most at risk of a disease rather than trying to protect everyone equally. Indeed, I would say lockdowns are unethical for precisely that reason (among many others).

If you need say 80% of the populaton to get a disease to reach 'endemic equilibrium' and we know the disease affects a certain group of society much worse than others, it seems far more ethical to try to load that 80% as much as possible onto people who aren't significantly affected (ie. GBD) than apply it equally across the population (lockdowns and the rest).

Whether it was practical is perhaps a different question, but I think for example we would all agree that more could and should have been done to have protected care homes.



Florida doesn't appear to have ended up all that bad. Their current case rate is very low, and they're only 9th worst out of the 50 states in terms of total number of deaths, which given the demographics of Florida (*lots* of very elderly people!) seems reasonable. New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, with all their lockdown measures and masks on 2-year-olds, have done worse.
And when did they have most deaths?

As for infection, when the risks of infection are so much worse than the risks of disease, there is a deep difference in the appropriateness of different responses.
 

MikeWM

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And when did they have most deaths?

Fairly evenly spread over three 'waves', it seems. Much like other states in the same area that had a wide variety of restrictions, or none, the timing of their peaks closely match. See South Carolina or Mississippi or Arkansas for examples.

As for infection, when the risks of infection are so much worse than the risks of disease, there is a deep difference in the appropriateness of different responses.

I'm not sure I follow what you mean here, sorry.
 
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