I’m over 50 and have hypertension. That puts me in at least an intermediate risk, if not high risk, group for severe disease and death from COVID-19. Many of the readers of this blog fall into the second group, as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension are very common in our population. Gonsalves also notes that the young are not entirely safe either, particularly that for those hospitalized with COVID-19: 21% required intensive care, 10% required mechanical ventilation, and 2.7% died, while half of the young people hospitalized in this cohort were black or Latino. Also, the Great Barrington Declaration is based on a false premise, given that few, if any, epidemiologists are advocating lockdowns any more; instead, they are advocating more limited restrictions, social distancing, contact tracing, extensive testing, and the use of masks. Indeed, we aren’t in “lockdown” any more and haven’t been for some time, while even our “lockdowns” in the US have been nowhere near as drastic as they were in, for example, China early in the pandemic.

Interestingly, I noticed that, for all the recommendations to protect the vulnerable in the Great Barrington Declaration, nowhere does it mention the widespread use of masks, testing (other than for nursing home staffs), or contact tracing. I wonder why, given that masks work and are a relatively easy measure for people to use—or would be, if they hadn’t been politicized to the point where wearing or not wearing a mask is considered a signifier of one’s political “tribe,” and testing and tracing, although not adequate in and of themselves, are widely agreed to be an important part of any COVID-19 public health mitigation strategy.

To boil it all down, if you listen to epidemiologists and public health scientists, you’ll soon realize that it’s impossible to protect the vulnerable from a virus that’s rapidly spreading among the entire population, even if the risk of death or severe disease is much lower in the young. Thus, protecting the vulnerable is only part of a science-based approach to controlling the pandemic that won’t be enough on its own. Those behind the Barrington Declaration claim that they’re not advocating “locking up the elderly,” but in practice that’s exactly what they’re doing, and their plan borders on eugenics…