When the Great Barrington Declaration was published way back in October 2020, Gript was almost unique in this country in covering it at all, never mind in a manner that gave justice to its proposals.
The Declaration was co-authored by Professor Sunetra Gupta, an epidemiologist at Oxford, Professor Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford, and Dr. Martin Kulldorff, of Harvard. It can still be read here.
It has, to date, been signed by some 46,000 medical practitioners and an additional 15,000 medical and public health scientists.
In the midst of near-hysteria in reaction to Covid-19, the Declaration set out proposals for a “focused protection” of those sections of the population proven to be most at risk, overwhelmingly so indeed, from the most serious health impacts. That demographic has not changed much if at all over the past nearly two years.
The signatories argued that the proposals contained within the Declaration, if introduced properly, would mean that the rest of society could escape being subjected to lockdowns which brought with them not only tremendous economic and social implications but are severely damaging overall public health.
At the time, the authors forecast that the neglect of other illnesses such as cancer would lead to excess deaths over the coming years. There is certainly evidence to suggest that people with conditions other than Covid-19 have been overlooked when it comes to prioritising public health resources, but the impact of all of this will presumably not become evident until the Covid crisis ends, if it ever does.
The reaction to the Great Barrington Declaration was predictably hostile. It authors were accused variously of being Trump supporters, and their proposals described as “grotesque” and not “convincingly scientific.” Attempts, largely successful, were made to ensure that few members of the general public were even aware of the Declaration.
Despite all of that it has gathered huge numbers of signatures and the authors are still defiantly putting their case. Last week, they emailed signatories to note that, despite the hostility, the more severe restrictions have not only been questioned, but in many cases resisted. A notable instance of this is their reference to the fact that schools have mostly remained open.
Kuldorff and Bhattachayra have in the meantime continued to speak out against the attempt to implement vaccine passports. The authors the Great Barrington Declaration can rest in the assurance that at a time of much cowardice and self-serving mendacity that they stood their ground for freedom of debate. Had such freedom been suppressed as many wished, then it is fair to say we would be in a worse situation than we are now.
From an Irish perspective, the advocates of “Zero Covid” have lost the intellectual and indeed the scientific battle. They have shifted their previous focus from draconian social restrictions, in an effort to achieve the Quixoticdream of eradicating Covid-19, to mass vaccination.
They cannot of course accept that humanity might learn to live with COVID in a state of normality, with people by and large acquiring immunity and the virus itself lessening in virulence.
Some of them, and many of them have political fish to fry, are like Gollum who once almost had possession for all time of the Ring to bind them. They are clearly reluctant to let it slip from their grasp. Nor will they do so willingly perhaps.