There is a strange thing called the Great Barrington Declaration floating around.
It’s sounds like a treaty of some kind but it’s actually a document signed by a group of doctors who believe in herd immunity, that is allowing the least vulnerable people to COVID-19 such as the young and fit, to return to life “as normal” and that way when they recover from a COVID-19 infection they will develop a natural “herd” immunity to COVID-19.
Sounds crazy? You bet.
The New York Times put out an opinion piece on the matter on Oct 19 entitled, “Herd Immunity? Or ‘Mass Murder’?”.
But it sure didn’t seem too crazy at first as it was signed by three academics from three of the most prestigious universities in the world, Harvard, Oxford and Stanford. More than 30 of their medical peers co-signed it and it seems about 60,000 people have also signed it.
They believe that lockdowns, as a means of fighting COVID-19, are causing more harm than good, such as stress, depression, economic slumps, increases in domestic violence and drug abuse.
But many “mainstream” doctors are alarmed, calling the idea unethical. They countered the declaration with their own arguments in a document called the John Snow Memorandum.
Essentially, if people are allowed to roam free without protection and preventative measures, many will die from COVID-19. Also, herd immunity is used in the context of mass vaccination in that people become immune from the vaccination resulting in a slowdown in infection. These are just two of the many reasons.
The argument will go on but for now, the leading global health organisation the World Health Organisation (WTO) has not supported the herd mentality model in the Great Barrington Declaration.
“Herd immunity is a concept used for vaccination, in which a population can be protected from a certain virus if a threshold of vaccination is reached,” the WTO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said recently during a press briefing.
“Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it. Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic.”
So in the meantime, as you continue to help and save patients on the frontline, please remember to wear approved PPE and always make sure you have supplies ahead. Try this calculator and guide if you’re not sure.