Coronavirus (1036) White House Embraces Herd Immunity in Latest Push to End COVID-19 Lockdowns (2)

17 October, 2020

Dear HIFA colleagues,

Two days ago we circulateda message on the Great Barrington Declaration, a controversial document that argues against lockdowns and calls for a reopening of schools, businesses and other entities, while protecting people deemed vulnerable to the virus because of age or other risk factors... The authors set up a website https://gbdeclaration.org/ and invite everyone to sign the Declaration.

The Lancet (Correspondence section) has published a response. The authors note:

'The arrival of a second wave and the realisation of the challenges ahead has led to renewed interest in a so-called herd immunity approach, which suggests allowing a large uncontrolled outbreak in the low-risk population while protecting the vulnerable. Proponents suggest this would lead to the development of infection-acquired population immunity in the low-risk population, which will eventually protect the vulnerable. This is a dangerous fallacy unsupported by scientific evidence.'

https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S0140-6736(20)32153-X

Similarly, these authors have set up a website and invite everyone to sign *their* declaration. https://www.johnsnowmemo.com

Comment (NPW): While it is understandable that the two groups are keen to demonstrate popular support for their positions, I am concerned that the response to these two declarations will unduly influence which policy is implemented (and I would predict that the first would 'win', despite being less supported by the evidence). Health policy should not be determined by the number of 'likes' on a declaration, but (wherever possible) by objective analysis.

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org