A global movement called the Great Barrington Declaration goes against lockdown measures for the sake of people's health. Nearly 11,000 scientists and medical experts around the world are joined by 100,000 citizens believe that continuing lockdown would harm the underprivileged with "irreparable damage."
To address the negative impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has on physical and mental health, experts from Oxford, Standford, Harvard, and many others recommend the Focused Protection. Some of the short and long-term effects of lockdown policies include fewer cancer screenings, worsening cancer outcomes, less childhood vaccination, and a significant increase in mental health issues. They also believe that depriving students of a normal school setting "is a grave injustice."
Those who signed the declaration believe that herd immunity is inevitable - whether it is assisted by vaccines or not. They believe that it should be a worldwide goal to reach herd immunity with the least mortality and social harm possible.
Reaching herd immunity is a "compassionate approach," the statement writes, allowing low-risk groups to live normally and gain immunity through natural infection. Focused Protection would also help protect high-risk groups.
Public safety and hygiene measures should be maintained such as hand washing and sick individuals staying home. Young, low-risk adults are recommended to discontinue work from home and return to work normally. Business centers and cultural activities should also resume, states the declaration.
Point of View of Other Experts
However, other medical experts believe that there is a lack of scientific data that herd immunity is the best way to beat coronavirus. Dr. Simon Clarke from the University of Reading said that what people need is "natural, lasting, protective immunity," which is complex considering the significant number of asymptomatic individuals and those suffering long-term symptoms of Covid-19.
Professor Devi Sridhar from Edinburgh University shared that in Scotland, the pandemic was well controlled during the lockdown. However, as the nation slowly opened up, some of the highest numbers of cases were traced back to house parties and the hospitality industry.
The declaration also had no mention of the availability of mass-testing, which is still lacking in many areas. Also, contact tracing and wearing face-masks, essential in slowing down the spread of the virus, were also not mentioned in the statement.
Another problem with the Great Barrington Declaration is that there is not enough scientific data that immunity to coronavirus offers long-term protection. Although older people are the most vulnerable to the virus, medical experts have handled cases from various ages - from newborn babies to senior citizens.
Other experts also argued that lockdown was necessary to reduce transmission rates. Many countries experienced new waves of the virus after lockdown restrictions were lifted and returned to lockdown multiple times.
Keeping up with the latest updates on coronavirus, there are still thousands of new, positive cases reported daily. Some countries have even increased lockdown restrictions such as implementing curfew, closing down dorms, and stopping in-person classes after a spike in cases.
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