Scientists Craft Herd Immunity Plan to Reopen Society; Others Say It's Too Risky

Headline Roundup October 16th, 2020

A proposal from Dr. Martin Kulldorff of Harvard, Dr. Sunetra Gupta of Oxford, and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford — titled the Great Barrington Declaration — seeks to end COVID-19 coronavirus lockdowns and reopen society. The plan focuses on "herd immunity," in which people would purportedly build immunity to the coronavirus without a vaccine; the authors argue lockdowns "are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health." Dr. Anthony Fauci and other public health experts have dismissed the idea; when asked about the plan at his NBC town hall Thursday, President Donald Trump said in part, "the cure cannot be worse than the problem itself."

Coverage from many left- and center-rated sources framed the plan as a misguided and dangerous proposal to pursue herd immunity, one that could potentially cost thousands of lives. Coverage from right-rated outlets, primarily libertarian ones, painted the plan as a vague but well-intentioned effort to allow healthy people to get back to a sense of normalcy while protecting the most at-risk individuals from the virus.

Scientists Craft Herd Immunity Plan to Reopen Society; Others Say It's Too Risky

From the Right
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ANALYSIS

A trio of epidemiologists released a public letter last week rebuking the lockdown-focused approach to combating COVID-19. Their alternative: a model called Focused Protection, outlined in their Great Barrington Declaration, which would reopen society and allow young people to live their lives normally while implementing safeguards for the elderly.

Reactions were predictably polarized, as coronavirus proposals have tended to be. It's been hailed as the "best advice" and condemned as "grotesque." So who's right?

Let's start with the gist of the declaration: "Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on...

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From the Left
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As the Trump administration signals a willingness to build “herd immunity” by purposely allowing the coronavirus to spread, major scientific organizations are denouncing a plan they say would be life-threatening and practically impossible.

That plan, laid out by three scientists in a controversial document called the "Great Barrington Declaration," calls for only protecting “vulnerable” people and letting everyone else get infected with COVID-19. The authors discussed the strategy in a meeting with two top White House officials last week.

This week, top US heath official Anthony Fauci, the head of...

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From the Center
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White House officials have promoted a declaration supporting herd immunity that has reportedly been signed by fake names, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

In a Monday phone call, White House officials cited the Great Barrington Declaration, which argues that the government should push for herd immunity with more infections among the healthy population, according to two senior administration officials.

Supporters of the declaration use it to argue against lockdowns and more reopenings during the pandemic.

“Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public...

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