Omicron is showing merits of targeted protection, says Great Barrington Declaration co-signer

After it was dismissed as a dangerous theory with deadly consequences, the co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration believe officials are coming around to the idea of ​​targeted protection now that it is clear that COVID Stopping the spread is an unrealistic goal.

Omicron, a highly contagious form, is spreading rapidly throughout the United States, causing more than 10 million infections in less than a month. While vaccines are extraordinarily helpful in preventing deaths from COVID-19, the notion that vaccines will make a significant dent in infections has been proven wrong, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, believes That Omicron is “just about everyone.” But the authorities have returned to the lockdown.

As the world loses its opportunity to completely suppress COVID-19 transmission, co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration said policymakers are realizing they need to shift the strategy away from population-wide measures.

“There hasn’t been a big change in thinking about this,” said one of the co-authors of the declaration, Dr. Jayant Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University. newsweek, “The illusion was that to protect the vulnerable, we needed to control the spread of the disease. The disease spread anyway and vulnerable people were exposed because we didn’t protect them.”

The Great Barrington Declaration, which was signed in October 2020, called for the lifting of the lockdown, to allow people who were at low risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, young and healthy, To resume life as normal. Taking the restrictions into account, the co-authors argued, would cause “irreparable harm” especially in relation to the underprivileged.

Many of those re-entering the world would likely have been infected with COVID-19, but being young and healthy, they were less likely to become seriously ill. According to the announcement, their infection will reduce the risk of infection for everyone, including the vulnerable.

The Great Barrington Declaration was heavily criticized for being a poorly-advised strategy that relied on sacrificing people to the virus. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, called it “simply unethical” to allow a dangerous virus to “run free” and argued that herd immunity is achieved through vaccination, not by giving people a Exposure to virus.

Vaccines have long been considered a target in the fight against pandemics because it was believed that they would help turn the tide of the outbreak. Vaccinations play a vital role in living with infectious diseases and doctors who signed the Great Barrington Declaration see them as vital to helping protect vulnerable populations.

However, even highly vaccinated parts of the country have seen a surge in cases due to omicrons and, with limited supplies, officials are beginning to adjust policies. With tests in limited supply, officials in Utah are advising most individuals to assume they have COVID-19 if they experience symptoms and quarantine, but do not get tested.

Exceptions to that recommendation are those who are visiting vulnerable individuals, people who work in high-risk settings such as health care or gathering living and those who are most vulnerable.

The co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration see officials as a strategy to fight COVID-19 coming around the idea of ​​targeted protection now that Omicron is spreading rapidly. Visitors in Times Square wear face masks as COVID-19 infections rise in New York City on December 25.
Roy Rochlin / Getty Images

According to doctors at the Great Barrington Declaration, increasing testing among those who have the potential to expose a person vulnerable to the virus plays into the targeted approach. With a targeted approach to testing, Bhattacharya said that when therapeutics are in limited supply, the only “ethical” means to use them is to focus them on the most vulnerable.

When it comes to outpatient medical science, the US has already taken a targeted approach. Post-infection monoclonal antibody treatment and emergency use authorizations for COVID antiviral tablets require that a person is considered to be at high risk for COVID-19. A new monoclonal antibody treatment that may help prevent infection is also available only to people who are at extremely high risk, in the sense that their immune systems may not produce an adequate antibody response to a COVID-19 vaccine. can do

Even with vaccinations and Omicron tending to be milder, the US could see a rise in deaths as spikes in infections mean even high-risk individuals will get sick. Deaths often lag weeks behind cases, so Omicron’s true impact remains to be seen and while the US has remained largely open, officials are urging people to take vulnerable people into account when planning.

Some chose to cancel vacation plans with vulnerable people. Others opted to limit their exposure before the holidays and get tested to limit the risk of exposing a vulnerable loved one to the virus.

Talking about his personal potential, Professor Dr Helen Coelhon from the University of Edinburgh told newsweek A new understanding of the “final game” is needed, as complete suppression is no longer possible. Despite normalcy returning, he believes focused protection needs to continue as COVID-19 still poses a risk to the most vulnerable. However, she said that population-wide measures don’t need to be included, which she thinks people are starting to realize isn’t the best strategy.

Implementing a targeted approach may not have prevented new forms from emerging because the virus would still have spread, but the declaration’s co-authors maintain the belief that the deaths could have been prevented. He advocated comprehensive measures to isolate infections in nursing homes, where significant numbers of deaths occurred, and in hospitals. His plan also required governments to provide income support to vulnerable people and their spouses so that they could isolate themselves.

Sunetra Gupta, a professor at Oxford University and co-author of the declaration, said that failing to make room for the vulnerable means they are dependent on masks and lockdowns to work. Whereas if vulnerable people are financially compensated to stay home when they don’t retire, and have their groceries and medical care brought to them, they could isolate themselves from the virus.

“Instead we let many vulnerable people drive buses, distribute food and do things that are meant to make the affluent self-isolate and those people die,” Gupta said.

According to Bhattacharya, allowing people over the age of 65 to continue working before the introduction of the vaccine because they are “essential” was a “huge mistake”.

Fauci acknowledged that returning to lockdown at this time of the pandemic would be extremely difficult. People are tired of the restrictions and the “mood” of the country is not conducive to the closure. Therefore, should officials believe this is the best solution, a targeted approach may be the only realistic path forward.

“I think people are starting to adopt it. I think one can be cautiously optimistic,” Gupta said.

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