COVID-19: Focused Protection Is Not A Thing

by Raywat Deonandan, PhD
Epidemiologist & Associate Professor
University of Ottawa
(I add my credentials to these COVID-19 blog posts in case they get shared. I want readers to know that my opinion is supposedly an educated and informed one)

This is a post I really didn’t want to write. I thought we were done with this topic. And I am loathe to give it more airtime. But people keep asking me about it. So here we are.

There is something called “The Great Barrington Declaration” (GBD), which is a proposal put forth by a handful of scientists who disagree with how COVID-19 is being handled in most countries. (You know, people opposed to economic restrictions, masks, distancing, etc.)

You can read the details yourself, but in essence the GBD signatories propose two things: (1) shield the vulnerable, i.e. those most likely to die of this disease. They call this “focused protection”. And (2) let the disease run rampant throughout the rest of the population in order to achieve herd immunity.

First, I talked about herd immunity and why “locking up the old folks” is not a viable strategy way back in April.

Second, scientists adhering to the orthodox view have created a response document, the John Snow Memorandum, advocating strongly against a herd immunity strategy. Full disclosure: I have signed the John Snow Memorandum in my capacity as a Global Health Epidemiologist. So you already know where I stand on this issue.

Third, disagreement is fine. Debate is welcome. We can address our opposing points civilly. So I will attempt to do so now. I hope you remember to do so if you choose to leave a comment.

Better scientists than I have already put forth strong scientific oppositions to the GBD proposal. My goal today is to explain in plain language why I personally think it’s a bad idea. Deep breath. Here we go.


COVID19: Why Are Cases Increasing But Deaths Are Not? (Podcast Episode)

COVID19: What’s All This “Second Wave” Business? (Podcast Episode)

COVID19: Keeping Schools Safe (Podcast Episode)

Sep 13, 2020 — I’ve been ignoring this podcast of late and focusing more on writing COVID-related blog posts. So I’ve decided to triple-down on the messaging and am recording both video and audio companion casts for the most read blog posts. Today, I talk about the overall plan for opening public schools safely in the era of COVID-19, as per this post. The video is here:

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