The NOT SO GREAT Barrington Declaration

The NOT SO GREAT Barrington Declaration

We’re not signing “the Great Barrington Declaration.” Here’s why.
Stephen Cherniske
Natalie Kather, M.D.

A group of medical scientists gathered in Great Barrington, Massachusetts and wrote a paper calling for the end of social distancing and other COVID restrictions. Instead, they propose allowing the virus to spread, leading eventually to herd immunity and an end to the pandemic.

Red flags

  1. An early claim is demonstrably false.

The document states, “We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity.”

This is bizarre, unsupported, and flies in the face of what we know about this virus, including the findings that re-infection is possible.

  1. The authors state the obvious: that young people are at a much lower risk for serious illness, but then depart far from the obvious, claiming that infection always leads to long-lasting immunity.

FACTS:  No one knows the levels of antibodies that are required to confer immunity, nor do they know how long this protection persists. With the common flu, it is less than a year. With other viruses like cytomegalovirus, Epstein Barr virus and herpes, it is never.

  1. The authors do call for better protection “for those who are at highest risk.” They give this concept a name “Focused protection,” but offer only measures designed to protect nursing home residents. What about the 52 million Americans over 65 who are not in nursing homes? Well for that vast number of vulnerable men and women, the Barrington Declaration offers only vague suggestions, that “are well within the scope and capability of public health professionals.” Really? These same public health professionals who will be strapped and overwhelmed by wave after wave of infections in:
    • The obese (roughly 100 million Americans)
    • Diabetics (35 million)
    • People with heart and lung disease (23 million)
    • Smokers (29 million)

Bottom line, this is a terrible document because it is based on pure speculation. No references are cited because no data exists to support their “declaration.” Since herd immunity has not been achieved even for the viruses that cause flu and the common cold, it’s crazy to assume that herd immunity will be attained with SARS-CoV-2.  And the gamble could well result in the deaths of more than a million Americans.

What’s more, no suggestions are made regarding proven and effective ways to reduce risk and support immunity. Natalie and I believe that a long-term strategy needs to include:

    1. Nationwide programs to help people quit smoking.
    2. Nationwide programs to help people lose weight and gain fitness.
    3. Nationwide programs to help people make better food choices. This has to be more than putting posters in grocery stores to encourage eating more fruits and vegetables.
    4. More research and education regarding the astounding capability of the human immune system when we are optimally nourished. This has to include supplementation with natural products that are supported by published biomedical research, including: Vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, Vitamin C, quercetin, inositol hexaphosphate (IP-6), curcumin, melatonin, selenium, omega-3 fats (eg fish oil), DHEA and medicinal mushroom extracts.

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