What everyone is getting wrong about the Great Barrington Declaration

Bhattacharya calls the herd immunity focus, and the ensuing backlash, a red herring. “The current ‘lockdown-until-a-vaccine’ strategy itself is also a herd immunity strategy in the same sense, because essentially, you’re saying, ‘Let’s wait until we have a vaccine and that will then induce the population immunity that we want for safe activity,” he tells Reason. “The problem with the current strategy is it is absolutely deadly to the people who don’t face very much risk from COVID-19.”

Some critics, such as Yale epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves, have suggested that the declaration seeks to “cull the herd of the sick and disabled.” Bhattacharya especially pushes back on that: “The goal is to minimize death,” he says. “If you want to minimize deaths, you need to account for the deaths that come from the lockdowns as well as from COVID itself. The critics focus only on COVID deaths and ignore the deaths of the lockdowns. That’s unconscionable.”

So how would they allow the young to continue life as normal while protecting the elderly? The declaration is a bit thin on details. “A comprehensive and detailed list of measures,” the scientists write, “including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented, and is well within the scope and capability of public health professionals.”