News Story

‘The Science’ Revolts: Social, Health Costs Of Lockdowns And School Closures Exceed Benefits

Top-tier epidemiologists warn of ‘irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed’

A declaration endorsed by dozens of doctors and epidemiologists, calling for the end to state-ordered COVID-19 lockdowns, has garnered 239,479 signatures in the eight days since it was launched Oct. 4. The statement says that lockdowns have a number of social and health costs, including the “grave injustice” of keeping children out of school, with “the underprivileged disproportionately harmed” as a result.

The website for the Great Barrington Declaration summarizes the statement this way: “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.”

The declaration itself says, in part: “The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.”

It also states:

“Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.”

The declaration undermines claims made by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that her ongoing restrictions, mandates and COVID-19 lockdowns are based on science.

The Great Barrington Declaration’s organizers and authors include epidemiologists Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine at Harvard University; Sunetra Gupta, a professor at Oxford University; and Jay Bhattacharya, a professor at Stanford University Medical School.

The website lists more than 30 other doctors and infectious disease experts as co-signers. The website claims that 6,802 medical and public health scientists as well as 14,880 medical practitioners have also signed on.

The site apparently took down the names of the people who signed it over the weekend.

The website now says, “Signatures will be made public after approval.” There were numerous people who signed the declaration from Michigan before their names were taken down.

One of the signers of the declaration was William Atchison, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University.

“My views are probably in line with most signers,” Atchison said in an email. “First, the three branches of government should each act within their own limitations: legislative branch makes law, executive branch carries it out, and judicial branch makes sure that the laws and practices are consistent with the State Constitution. Second, the Governor's continuing edicts smack of tyranny, and disproportionately affect people in the State — small business owners, those in the medical field who provide important but non-emergency services: elective surgery, non-critical (joint replacement or back surgery, for example.”

“Third, the basis on which she continues to issue edicts is not based on realistic measures: a plateau level of positive test results, and reduction in hospitalizations. There are others, but these are the principal reasons for my signing,” Atchison said.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.