More Than 10,000 Scientists Sign Barrington Declaration Petition Saying Current COVID Lockdowns are 'Producing Devastating Effects'

Over 10,000 scientists have signed the Great Barrington Declaration, a petition that suggests that COVID-19 lockdowns are "producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health."

The Great Barrington Declaration, which is named after the town in Massachusetts that it was signed in, currently has signatures from 10,233 medical and public health scientists, 27,860 medical practitioners and 504,875 concerned citizens.

The number of signatures the declaration has received is an increase from October 7, when it had signatures from at least 2,826 medical and public health scientists, 3,794 medical practitioners and more than 60,000 members of the general public.

The petition's co-authors include Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine at Harvard University, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, a professor at Oxford University, and an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, vaccine development, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor at Stanford University Medical School.

As the petition begins, the authors explain that "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 note that they recommend an approach called "Focus Protection."

"Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health," the petition states.

According to the petition, the authors believe that the current lockdowns—put in place to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus—have caused "lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health" which are leading to a greater excess mortality rate in the near future.

Coronavirus Lockdowns
A demonstrator holds a sign at the Virginia State Capitol on April 16, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia. Zach Gibson/Getty

"As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all—including the vulnerable—falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity," the petition states. "Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity."

While the petition states that "adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19," it also notes that "those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal."

Despite the declaration suggesting that mortality and social harm should be minimized until herd immunity is reached, one of the co-authors, Dr. Martin Kulldorff, previously told Newsweek via email, that they "are not advocating a 'herd immunity strategy'."

"Herd immunity is not a strategy, but a scientifically proven phenomena, just like gravity, and you would not say that an airplane pilot is using a 'gravity strategy' to land a plane. No matter what strategy is used, we will reach herd immunity sooner or later, just as an airplane will reach the ground one way or another," Kulldorff said.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, another co-author also told Newsweek that "In our letter, we are calling for a focused protection plan that uses our considerable resources to protect the vulnerable (specifically older people and others who face a high risk of dying should they become infected), while lifting the general lockdown on people who face a very low mortality risk from COVID-19 infection."

Newsweek reached out to Dr. Sunera Gupta for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.