Leading epidemiologists have launched a petition calling for an end to lockdowns of the healthy and, instead, focusing on protecting the people who are vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Professors Dr. Martin Kulldorff of Harvard, Dr. Sunetra Gupta of Oxford and Dr. Jayanta Bhattacharya of Stanford announced the effort in an interview Monday with Fox News' Laura Ingraham.
The Great Barrington Declaration states that 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."
"Most of my colleagues in infectious disease," Kulldorf told Ingraham, "are in favor of risk-based strategy or an age-based strategy where we protect the elderly or other high risk groups while the younger resume life more or less normally."
At the time this article was published, more than 2,400
medical health and public health scientists had co-signed the declaration along with more than 2,700 practicing medical professionals.
Gupta and Bhattacharya emphasized that herd immunity should be the objective, contending it could be achieved in a relatively short amount of time.
COVID is not a "death sentence," Bhattacharya argued, alluding to survival rates of nearly 100% for those under 70 and nearly 95% for those who are older.
"I think we've created this idea in the public mind that it is something so unique and so deadly that we should utterly end all normal existence as a result of it," he said.
"That's not right. We can have a much better way. Protect the vulnerable. Shield them for a short period of time until we reach a level where there is population immunity," the Stanford professor said. "And for the rest of the world, let us live our lives."
The CDC last month issued new estimates that showed people under 50 years infected by COVID-19 have nearly a 100% survival rate. It broke down to a 99.997% survival rate for 0-19; 99.98% for ages 20-49; 99.5% for 50-69; and 94.6% for those over 70.
Those who died of coronavirus, according to the CDC, had an average of 2.6 comorbidities, meaning more than two chronic diseases along with COVID-19. Overall, the CDC says, just 6% of the people counted as COVID-19 deaths died of COVID-19 alone.
This week the World Health Organization said it currently estimates 10% of the world's population has been infected, meaning that by the U.N. body's own account, the infection fatality rate for COVID-19 is only 0.13%. That's a little more than one-tenth of 1%, which the WHO says is the rate for the seasonal flu.
The WHO's estimate in March of a death rate of ...