How To Avoid ‘Absolutely Catastrophic’ COVID Mistakes

On October 4, 2020, when COVID-19 was raging, American schools were mostly shuttered, and vaccines were believed to be years away—a team of top researchers at the world’s most prestigious universities, including Stanford’s Jay Bhattacharya, Harvard’s Martin Kulldorff, and Oxford’s Sunetra Gupta—published the Great Barrington DeclarationThe controversial Open Letter Against the Official U.S. Response of Lockdowns and Government Control of Ever-Increasing Parts of the Economy and Everyday Life.

They recognized that COVID was affecting elderly Americans, and other people with identifiable, specific health conditions. Therefore, they advocated for “focused protection” which would ensure the most vulnerable are kept safe while the rest, particularly children, could continue their lives.

It was swiftly and inexplicably met by the most powerful levels of government. Francis Collins was then director of the National Institutes of Health. wroteAnthony Fauci had a private message sent to him, later obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request. The email denounced Bhattacharya Kulldorff and Gupta for being “fringe epidemiologists” that deserved to be subject to a media “takedown.”

Google and Facebook, two of the largest tech firms, followed their lead. They suppressed our ideas, falsely calling them misinformation. BhattacharyaStanford professor of medicine and also holds a Ph.D. economics. Reporters started calling me asking why I was letting the virus run, even though I hadn’t suggested it. My target for racist abuses and threats of death was me.”

Bhattacharya was kind enough to sit down with me to discuss what it was like being at the heart of an official effort against heterodox thinking regarding the pandemic. I also asked him why he feels he and his Great Barrington Declaration authors have been found guilty. Finally, he asked whether public health can recover from continuing revelations of incompetence as well as malfeasance and political-motivated decision-making. Bhattacharya also talks about how centralization of science funding promotes dangerous groupthink. He also discusses why he still believes in mRNA vaccinations, but is staunchly against the mandate, and why his decision to stop wearing masks long ago.