The Great Barrington Declaration, Herd Immunity Strategies For Coronavirus Overlook 8 Problems

The name “focused protection” certainly sounds a lot better than the word lockdown. After all, the former sounds warm and comforting, while the latter sounds more bondage-like, unless you happen to be into that kind of thing. Nonetheless, as anyone with the same name as a famous martial artist can tell you, names can only go so far. When it comes to ways of responding to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, the actual details of the proposed approach matter.

“Focused protection” seems to be a variant of what has been called the “herd immunity” strategy. The “herd immunity strategy” that Scott Atlas, MD, a neuro-radiologist has been advocating to

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The Great Barrington Declaration: Capitalism’s global policy of herd immunity

“Herd immunity is a concept used for vaccination, in which a population can be protected from a certain virus as a threshold of vaccination is reached. 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. Allowing a dangerous virus that we don’t fully understand to run free is simply unethical. It’s not an option.” – Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization press brief, October 12, 2020.

The director-general’s opening remarks come as a response to an announcement made last week of the Great Barrington Declaration, an international proposal written and signed at the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, on October 4.

The declaration advocates an approach to herd immunity called “focused protection,” where

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Covid-19 Live Updates: White House Embraces ‘Herd Immunity’ Declaration

Here’s what you need to know:

A crowd of commuters in the World Trade Center transportation hub, Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Credit…Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

The White House has embraced a declaration by a group of scientists arguing that authorities should allow the coronavirus to spread among young healthy people while protecting the elderly and the vulnerable — an approach that would rely on arriving at “herd immunity” through infections rather than a vaccine.

Many experts say “herd immunity” — the point at which a disease stops spreading because nearly everyone in a population has contracted it — is still very far off. Leading experts have concluded, using different scientific methods, that about 85 to 90 percent of the American population is still susceptible to the coronavirus.

On a call convened Monday by the White House, two senior administration officials, both speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to give

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China Tests Entire City For Virus As WHO Slams Herd Immunity Idea

China rushed Tuesday to test an entire city of nine million within days after a minor coronavirus outbreak, as the WHO warned that letting the pathogen run free to achieve herd immunity was “scientifically and ethically problematic”.

The virus is still spreading rapidly around the world, with well over 37 million infections, and nations that had suppressed their first outbreaks are now struggling with fresh surges — especially in some parts of Europe.

China is rushing to test the entire population of Qingdao -- nine million people -- for the coronavirus China is rushing to test the entire population of Qingdao — nine million people — for the coronavirus Photo: AFP / STR

In the absence of a vaccine, governments are wary of allowing the virus to spread unchecked, with China launching a sweeping drive to test all residents of Qingdao after a handful of cases were detected on Sunday.

“As of 8 am… our city has taken 3.08 million samples for nucleic testing,” the city’s health commission

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WHO head calls herd immunity approach ‘immoral’



a man wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Dr Ghebreyesus said allowing the virus to spread would cause 'unnecessary' suffering


© Reuters
Dr Ghebreyesus said allowing the virus to spread would cause ‘unnecessary’ suffering

The head of the World Health Organization has ruled out a herd immunity response to the pandemic.

Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease through vaccinations or through the mass spread of a disease.

Some have argued that coronavirus should be allowed to spread naturally in the absence of a vaccine.

But WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus said such an approach was “scientifically and ethically problematic”.

There have been more than 37 million confirmed cases of coronavirus across the globe since the pandemic began. More than one million people are known to have died.

While hundreds of vaccines are currently under development, with a number in advanced trials, none has yet received international approval.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Dr Ghebreyesus argued that the long-term impacts of

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UN warns against pursuing herd immunity to stop coronavirus

LONDON (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization warned against the idea that herd immunity might be a realistic strategy to stop the pandemic, dismissing such proposals as “simply unethical.”

At a media briefing on Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said health officials typically aim to achieve herd immunity by vaccination. Tedros noted that to obtain herd immunity from a highly infectious disease such as measles, for example, about 95% of the population must be immunized.

“Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it,” he said. Some researchers have argued that allowing COVID-19 to spread in populations that are not obviously vulnerable will help build up herd immunity and is a more realistic way to stop the pandemic, instead of the restrictive lockdowns that have proved economically devastating.

“Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been

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Top health official says coronavirus herd immunity not U.S. strategy

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar speaks during a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in Washington, February 26, 2020.

Amanda Voisard | Reuters

Allowing the coronavirus to circulate through the U.S. population unchecked in an effort to achieve herd immunity “is not the strategy” of the nation’s government despite reports that White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Scott Atlas has pushed the idea, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said. 

“Herd immunity is not the strategy of the U.S. government with regard to coronavirus,” Azar in response to a question from Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., on Friday during a U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing. 

“We may get herd slowing of transmission as we perhaps have seen in the New York area and other concentrated areas. Our mission is to reduce fatalities, protect the vulnerable, keep coronavirus cases down to the lowest level possible,” Azar added. 

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Corralling the Facts on Herd Immunity

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

For a term that’s at least 100 years old, “herd immunity” has gained new life in 2020.



KHN

It starred in many headlines last month, when reports surfaced that a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and adviser to the president, Dr. Scott Atlas, recommended it as a strategy to combat COVID-19. The Washington Post reported that Atlas, a health care policy expert from the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, suggested the virus should be allowed to spread through the population so people build up immunity, rather than trying to contain it through shutdown measures.

At a town hall event a few weeks later, President Donald Trump raised the idea himself, saying the coronavirus would simply “go away,” as people developed “herd mentality” — a slip-up that nonetheless was understood to reference the same

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Why health experts say ‘we can’t count on natural herd immunity’ to curb COVID-19

For a term that’s at least 100 years old, “herd immunity” has gained new life in 2020.

It starred in many headlines last month, when reports surfaced that a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and adviser to the president, Dr. Scott Atlas, recommended it as a strategy to combat COVID-19. The Washington Post reported that Atlas, a health care policy expert from the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, suggested the virus should be allowed to spread through the population so people build up immunity, rather than trying to contain it through shutdown measures.

At a town hall event a few weeks later, President Donald Trump raised the idea himself, saying the coronavirus would simply “go away,” as people developed “herd mentality” — a slip-up that nonetheless was understood to reference the same concept.

And as recently as last week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) sparked a heated debate

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National Coronavirus Antibody Study Suggests Herd Immunity ‘Remains Out of Reach’ in the U.S.

Results of a nationwide COVID-19 antibody study indicate herd immunity “remains out of reach” in the U.S., with less than 10 percent of participants testing positive for proteins that could potentially offer protection from repeat infections.



Health care workers obtain blood samples while conducting rapid COVID-19 antibody tests in San Dimas, California, on July 26. Results of a new study suggest less than 10 percent of the U.S. population had COVID-19 antibodies in July.


© ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images
Health care workers obtain blood samples while conducting rapid COVID-19 antibody tests in San Dimas, California, on July 26. Results of a new study suggest less than 10 percent of the U.S. population had COVID-19 antibodies in July.

The study— conducted by Stanford University researchers in July and published by peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet on Friday— evaluated the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in blood samples from 28,500 dialysis patients across 46 states. It is one of the largest studies of its kind conducted to date in the U.S.

Based on the data collected, researchers estimate roughly 9.3 percent of the country’s population had COVID-19 antibodies in

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