When the Trump administration signaled its readiness to build “herd immunity” by willfully giving it permission Coronavirus to spread, major scientific organizations are denouncing a plan they deem life-threatening and practically impossible.
That plan, out of three scientists in a controversial document titled “The Great Barrington Declaration”, calling for protection of only the “vulnerable” and for others to become infected with COVID-19. The authors discussed this strategy during a meeting with two top White House officials last week.
This week, top US health official Anthony Fauci, head of the World Health Organization, and more than a dozen groups representing thousands of infectious diseases and public health experts drastically pushed back a series of official denunciations.
“We just need to look at that square eye and say it’s pointless,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC News Thursday.
“Never in the history of public health, herd immunity has been used as a strategy to respond to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic. It has a scientific and ethical problem, ” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.
And on Wednesday, a team of 80 researchers called ideas “A dangerous rhetoric not supported by scientific evidence” in a letter published in Lancet, a prominent medical journal.
The great Barrington declaration, published on a website sponsored by a liberal-minded organization, argues that coronavirus is not dangerous to many people, so “those who are not vulnerable should be immediately allowed to continue. life as usual. ” Citing “grave concerns about the detrimental effects on the physical and mental health of existing COVID-19 policies”, the letter calling for the reopening of direct teaching. restaurants and businesses, while resuming large gatherings such as concerts and sporting events.
To date, the letter has been signed by more than 35,000 self-confessed scientists and clinicians – though some signatories, such as “Dr. Johnny Bananas ”and“ Professor Cominic Dummings, ”are clearly identified as spoofing. All signatures are then made private.
The document’s architects are trio of scientists from Harvard, Stanford and Oxford universities, one of your shoulders was told policy makers for months that the virus is not that dangerous. Last week, they met Alex Azar, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Scott Atlas, a Stanford neuroscientist on the White House coronavirus task force.
Both of them expressed support for the scientists’ point of view. Azar then tweeted that they had heard “a strong reinforcement of the Trump Administration’s strategy of actively protecting vulnerable people while opening schools and workplaces”. And in a call convened by the White House on Monday, anonymous senior government officials mentioned the Great Barrington Declaration to reporters. “We don’t approve of a plan,” said one official. according to the Washington Post. “The plan is confirming the president’s policy for several months.”
The Great Barrington Declaration has been stirring public interest for months into an epidemic that the federal government has not been able to control. More than 216,000 Americans died. Life has been turned upside down in almost every sense: jobs are lost on a large scale, gatherings large and small have been canceled, businesses, schools and restaurants closed. Data indicates that the pandemic is having non-COVID-19 health effects: People are trying cancer screening and stroke treatmentand many older people are having problems related to mental health and substance abuse.
As the world waits for a vaccine, “Fatigue pandemic“It’s spreading in America and elsewhere. In the UK, where COVID-19 cases are rising again, lawmakers are facing public outcry as they seek to implement the second round. door lock measures.
But the mainstream scientific community says that essentially giving up protecting healthy people from viruses is not an acceptable solution.
Up to 90% population of the United States still sensitive for viruses, according to recent CDC estimates. Medical experts worry that letting pathogens go unchecked in healthy people would, in the absence of a vaccine, get sick, hospitalize, and killing many of them, not to mention overwhelming the health care system. And even young, healthy people die in the rate is relatively lower, they can still transmit the virus to at-risk groups or join “tough enemies“People suffer debilitating symptoms for months in a row. It is also not guaranteed that survivors will become immune forever: No one knows how long immunity lasts, and already a small number of re-infections have been reported.
These experts also say it will be impossible to isolate the millions of “vulnerable” Americans who are the elderly, has pre-existing conditions, or living in households for generations. The great Barrington statement proposes to isolate these groups from the rest of society but does not lay out a plan for how to do so.
“It is inappropriate, irresponsible to promote the concept of ‘herd immunity’ as an answer to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the head of the American Infectious Diseases Association and the HIV Medical Association. responsibility and lack of information, “representing more than 12,000 infectious disease specialists and 6,000 HIV / AIDS specialists, respectively, in a statement Wednesday.
In another joint statement on Wednesday, 14 prominent public health organizations states that “the suggestions given by the Great Barrington Declaration are NOT based on science” and that they will “give up their lives indiscriminately and unnecessarily.”
Groups, including the American Association of Public Health, the Association of Public Health Laboratories and the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Security write: “The statement is not a strategy, but a statement. political father. “It ignores public health expertise. It prey on a frustrated masses. Instead of selling the vain hope that can be counterproductive, we must focus on how to manage this pandemic safely, responsibly and fairly ”.
And a group of 80 researchers are protesting the Great Barrington Declaration with an open letter: John Snow memo, named after a 19th-century doctor who followed the origins of a cholera outbreak in London and is considered the founder of modern epidemiology.
In the letter, the signatories acknowledged that there had been “widespread discrimination and reduced confidence” in the face of ongoing restrictions in countries where “appropriate provisions were not applied.” to manage the pandemic and its social impacts. “
But society cannot simply allow the virus to spread uncontrollably among large groups of people, arguing that the letter was led by 30 researchers and 50 signed by others regarding public health. , epidemiology, medicine, health policy and other disciplines.
Measures such as extensive testing and contact tracking need to be in place, “and they should be supported by social and financial programs that encourage community response and address existing inequalities. amplified by translation, ”they wrote. They cite Japan, Vietnam and New Zealand as countries that have shown that transmission can be controlled.
They write: “The evidence is clear: COVID-19’s community-wide contagion control is the best way to protect our society and economy until vaccines and treatments are safe. and effective in the coming months ”.
“We cannot let distractions undermine the effective response; it is essential that we act urgently on the evidence. “