There has been a lot of talk lately about so-called herd immunity. Scientists, doctors and public health experts are all speaking out against the Great Barrington Declaration, a document calling for a return to normalcy in an attempt to develop herd immunity against COVID-19. They say it is misleading, based on faulty and dangerous science, Gizmodo reports.
The statement is more of a political statement than a strategy and “prey to a frustrated population”. according to a paper published Wednesday and signed by 14 public health organizations, including the American Public Health Association.
“Instead of selling a false hope that will predictably turn against us, we need to focus on how to manage this pandemic in a safe, responsible and fair way,” it said.
The Great Barrington Declaration, which has been widely adopted and supported by the political right, calls on young people to go out and live their lives, get sick and, hopefully, build immunity to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Gizmodo reports. It was also signed by clearly fictional experts, such as, for example, “Dr. Bananas. “
However, the reality is that young people can still die from coronavirus, and achieving herd immunity is likely to correlate with almost 1.4 million deaths along the way, reports MedPage Today. This exceeds the nearly 220,000 who have already died from COVID-19 in America. In addition, we have no idea how long the immunity or resistance of our immune systems to coronavirus lasts, if it accumulates.
Other groups of scientists also spoke out against the statement. An international group of more than 60 scientists has published what they call the John Snow Memorandum in The Lancet. In it, they say that the attempt to establish the immunity of the herd as a pandemic strategy would cause serious injuries and will almost certainly fail.
In addition to the human cost, this would have an impact on the workforce as a whole and overwhelm the ability of health care systems to provide immediate and routine care, the memorandum states. Moreover, there is no evidence for a lasting protective immunity to SARS-CoV-2 after natural infection, and endemic transmission, which would be a consequence of decreased immunity, would pose a risk to vulnerable populations for an indefinite future.
The Infectious Disease Society of America, which Gizmodo reports has more than 12,000 scientists and doctors, has also released a declaration for the overthrow of the Barrington Declaration.
“The claim that the removal of the vigilance needed to control the spread of this coronavirus and that the abdication of efforts to control a pandemic that has overwhelmed global health systems is a compassionate approach and is deeply misleading,” the statement said.