Our COVID-19 Plan would Minimize Mortality and Lockdown-induced Collateral Damage


By Dr. Jayanta Bhattacharya, Dr. Sunetra Gupta and Dr. Martin Kulldorff

Current COVID-19 lockdowns protect low-risk college students and young professional bankers, attorneys, journalists, scientists and others who can work from home, while older high-risk working-class people are risking their lives building the population immunity that will eventually protect us all.

While mortality is inevitable during a pandemic, the COVID-19 lockdown strategy has led to more than 220,000 deaths, with the urban working class carrying the heaviest burden. Many older workers have been forced to accept high mortality risk or increased poverty, or both. While the current lockdowns are less strict than in March, the lockdown and contact tracing strategy is the worst assault on the working class since segregation and the Vietnam War.

Lockdown policies have closed schools, businesses and churches, while not enforcing strict protocols to protect high-risk nursing home residents. University closures and the economic displacement caused by lockdowns have led millions of young adults to live with older parents, increasing regular close interactions across generations.

The “Focused Protection” plan in the Great Barrington Declaration would minimize both COVID-19 mortality and lockdown-induced collateral damage on other health outcomes. In line with pre-2020 pandemic preparedness plans, the declaration calls for better protecting the old and other high-risk groups, for whom COVID-19 is more dangerous than influenza.

By contrast, for children, COVID-19 is less dangerous than influenza. Children and low-risk young adults should be allowed to live near normal lives as they face greater medical, psychological and economic harms from lockdowns than from COVID-19. Immunity among low-risk young adults could also shorten the length of the pandemic, making it easier for older people to protect themselves.

Denying in-person teaching to students is harmful to their education and physical and mental health, with working-class children hardest hit. Online schooling puts a disproportional burden on our children, despite their own minimal risk.

For ages 1 to 15, Sweden kept day care and schools open throughout the height of the pandemic, and among the 1.8 million children of that age, there were zero COVID-19 deaths without masks used or physical distancing. Neither was there any excess risk for in-person teachers compared with the average of other professions.

Some argue that it is impossible to separate older and younger generations. While 100% separation is impossible, lockdowns have “successfully” shifted infection risk from the professional class to the working class and nursing home residents.

It is no more challenging to shift infection risk from high-mortality-risk older people to low-mortality-risk younger adults, including the young bankers, attorneys, journalists and scientists who are now protected.

Reprinted from USA Today

In addition, the Great Barrington Declaration has added a new FAQ

Originally published here: American Institute for Economic Research, thanks to Creative Commons Attribution.

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