Academia has finally arrived and found the courage to remind public health policymakers of fundamental principles essential to protecting the health of all citizens. Ideology and politics have no place in science. Yet, public health officials and academic institutions have suppressed their colleague’s perspectives and misrepresented critical pandemic data. As a result, opportunities to share insightful perspectives were lost and fear dominated. Media complied as it hyped both that fear and myopic doctrine, while revealing an appalling lack of curiosity.
On October 4th, three epidemiologists from Harvard, Stanford and Oxford met in Great Barrington, Massachusetts to present and sign a declaration for a focused protection pandemic strategy. The declaration represents a proper blending of ethics, viral research, and reclaims traditional public health methods. In the 5 days after the declaration was released, it gained signatures from 6,252 medical and public health scientists, 13,016 medical practitioners and 177,039 members of the general public worldwide. They will update the number of signatures after further vetting since there have been saboteurs of the website, apparently to discredit the level of professional support. However, science is not forced consensus or controlled by bureaucrats. It needs to be free to follow the evidence.
Public health institutions on the international, national, state and local levels have betrayed a critical trust when they lost sight of their primary purpose to advocate for the health of the entire population. Instead of prioritizing a goal of reducing total harm during this pandemic, they chased metrics of questionable value and misallocated resources. Policy directives have been promoted on weak observational evidence while outstanding research that demonstrated critical viral characteristics lingered in preprint status; especially when it did not confirm existing policy bias. History will judge our academic and public health institutions’ response during this pandemic harshly. During a time when our country needed unity, we received harmful and divisive policy mandates.
The Great Barrington Declaration represents a much more reasonable and overdue approach to respond to this virus. Back in March, COVID-19 was endemic in all 50 states and the time for containment was over. Viral age-severity differentials were obvious. When Evergreen Family Medicine appealed to our public health authorities and political leaders to consider a targeted approach to mitigate transmission to our most vulnerable, we did not receive any formal response to our suggestions; what we did receive were OSHA and OHA inspections of our facilities.
Our communities have waited too long for our public health institutions to follow the science over speculative modeling. The link to the declaration is below. Please read it and note some of the world renown scientists who have signed it. I have also provided a link to a 30-minute interview with the three politically diverse scientists who counter the incredible missteps of the current pandemic policy. If you agree with the declaration, please sign it to encourage public health officials and your politicians to “follow the science.”
John Powell M.D.
The Great Barrington Declaration:
“Unherd” interview with the three scientists. Interviewer Freddie Sayers has been an outstanding video journalist during this pandemic. Honest inquiry is so refreshing.