A Stanford University Medical School professor has called COVID-19 lockdowns the "biggest public health mistake we've ever made."
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya — a medical doctor whose recent research "focuses on the epidemiology of COVID-19 as well as an evaluation of policy responses to the epidemic" — made his comment as part of a February interview with the Daily Clout, an outlet author Naomi Wolf founded "to help anyone, from any walk of life, use and affect democracy more powerfully." Bhattacharya's comments haven't been widely reported until this week.
What did the professor say?
Bhattacharya began the interview discussing the Great Barrington Declaration, which he co-authored. The document argues that COVID-19 lockdowns "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." It adds that "keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed."
The declaration as of Thursday indicates that over 13,000 medical and public health scientists have signed it, along with over 41,000 medical practitioners.
With that, Bhattacharya told Wolf that the Great Barrington Declaration "comes from two basic facts."
"One is that people who are older have a much higher risk from dying from COVID than people who are younger ... So the first plank of the Great Barrington Declaration: let's protect the vulnerable," he said before adding that "the other idea is that the lockdowns themselves impose great harm on people. Lockdowns are not a natural normal way to live."
Bhattacharya also noted that "the lockdown harms are worse than COVID" and that "the harm to people is catastrophic." His reasoning is that "public health" means a whole lot more than protection from a virus, and that people need many more things in life in order to stay healthy — not only physically but also mentally and emotionally — such as interaction with friends and the ability to earn a living, which lockdowns have prevented.
The doctor's "biggest public health mistake we've ever made" comment comes at the 26:45 mark in the below video, but the entire interview is worth your time:
"Prof Jay Bhattacharya, Signatory of Gt Barrington Declaration: Why 'Lockdown' Will Kill Millions" youtu.be
Newsweek caught wind of Bhattacharya's comments, and the magazine said he stood by them in an email:
I stand behind my comment that the lockdowns are the single worst public health mistake in the last 100 years. We will be counting the catastrophic health and psychological harms, imposed on nearly every poor person on the face of the earth, for a generation.
At the same time, they have not served to control the epidemic in the places where they have been most vigorously imposed. In the US, they have — at best — protected the "non-essential" class from COVID, while exposing the essential working class to the disease. The lockdowns are trickle down epidemiology.
This isn't a new position for Bhattacharya, who declared last May that people are "mistaken" if they believe coronavirus lockdown policies will provide safety from COVID-19.
As for Wolf, she's also been in the news regarding the same subject, telling Fox News' Tucker Carlson late last month that America is turning into a "totalitarian state before everyone's eyes" amid our government's coronavirus lockdowns: