Such has been written about the ‘public health advice’ advice which many governments have relied upon to effectively shut-down their respective countries, states or communities.
In the Australian State of Victoria, subject to the longest and most draconian controls on planet earth, the ‘Chief Health Officer’, Professor Brett Sutton has led the charge in providing the State’s Premier with all important ‘public health advice’.
This public health advice has effectively kept the citizens of Victoria under varying degrees martial law for the past 9 months.
According to Professor Sutton and Premier Andrews, the ‘public health advice’ is formed by ‘health professionals’ who ensure the citizens that the controls placed upon them are totally proportionate to the risk that COVID-19 poses.
Evidence has mounted rapidly that this claimed ‘proportionality’ is far from the truth, and yet another group of highly acclaimed medical professionals, including world-leading epidemiologists, have spoken out.
In Victoria, and many parts of the world, claims that lock-downs, mask-wearing and draconian controls have no significant impact on the spread of the disease are met with ridicule and, or silence. The supporting science is rarely reported on major media networks.
While we consider the weight of medical advice from world-leading epidemiologists and health professionals, any reasonable person would, we assume, compare the skills, experience and resources of opposing views.
In Victoria, the community relies upon the direction of the Chief Health Officer Sutton.
Globally, the likes of Professor Martin Kulldorf (Prof of Medicine, Harvard), Professor Sunetra Gupta (Prof of Epidemiology, Oxford) and Professor Jay Bhattacharya (Prof of Epidemiology, Stanford) are actively campaigning against the very policies of their ‘colleague’ Professor Sutton, and outlining the devastation the policies are causing.
When, as reasonably minded people, we consider the background of the people making opposing claims, it is interesting to consider the following, published by Sanjeev Sabhlok, on the 13th of September.
Sanjeev writes, “Most of us are not aware that the esteemed Prof. Brett Sutton is a Public Health Masters graduate from James Cook University (#462 in QS Rankings). Brett Sutton does not have a PhD.…….It is interesting that in March 2020, just prior to Lockdown 1.0, Dr. Brett Sutton was handed an Adjunct Clinical Professor appointment with the Dept. of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, by the Vice-Chancellor of Monash University, a Level E appointment (that can only be endorsed by the VC). Level E is the highest level that can be obtained; typically reserved for appointees who have “established an international reputation in the area”. Evidently, Prof. Sutton met eligibility criteria for a Level E academic appointment, without writing more than 1 research paper within the same field of research. His profile is suspiciously scarce of any details (i.e. empty).“
So, while we consider the opinion of two opposing sides, we provide a copy of the Great Barrington Declaration below, led by the esteemed Professors of Harvard, Oxford and Stanford. Full link is here, with the opportunity to co-sign, along with more than 100,000 others.
As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection.
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.
Fortunately, our understanding of the virus is growing. We know that vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young. Indeed, for children, COVID-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.
As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e. the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.
The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.
Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19. By way of example, nursing homes should use staff with acquired immunity and perform frequent PCR testing of other staff and all visitors. Staff rotation should be minimized. Retired people living at home should have groceries and other essentials delivered to their home. When possible, they should meet family members outside rather than inside. A comprehensive and detailed list of measures, including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented, and is well within the scope and capability of public health professionals.
Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.
On October 4, 2020, this declaration was authored and signed in Great Barrington, United States, by:
Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist with expertise in detecting and monitoring of infectious disease outbreaks and vaccine safety evaluations.
Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, vaccine development, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases.
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician, epidemiologist, health economist, and public health policy expert focusing on infectious diseases and vulnerable populations.
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Reaching Immunity | A Private Summit of Epidemiologists Against Lockdowns