More than 49,000 doctors, health care workers and scientists have signed the Great Barrington Declaration, an online document that calls for an end to COVID-19 lockdowns due in part to "devastating effects on short and long-term public health."
Nearly 674,000 "concerned citizens" also have signed the document.
"Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings, and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice," the document reads, in part.
Drs. Martin Kulldorf, Sunetra Gupta, and Jay Bhattacharya published the declaration online in October.
The declaration calls for "focused protection" of the populations most vulnerable to the virus, such as elderly people and those with other, significant health challenges. Locking down all of society, the declaration contends, produces negative effects that outweigh the benefits. The practice also runs counter to traditional public health methods.
"Basic epidemiological theory indicates that lockdowns do not reduce the total number of cases in the long run and have never in history led to the eradication of a disease," the document reads. "At best, lockdowns delay the increase of cases for a finite period and at great cost."
Such costs include the 1.3 million additional people whom the United Nations estimates will starve to death this year due to economic fallout from the pandemic, the prevention of herd immunity from developing, and the return of diseases once largely controlled through immunization.