The bad faith of the Great Barrington Declaration
Jay Bhattacharya is one of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, which called for the immediate elimination of all lockdowns and “focused protection” of the vulnerable.
Yesterday Bhattacharya tweeted this:
Putting the snark aside, this seems consistent with the Great Barrington Declaration; the GBD claimed that the costs of lockdowns are high and exceed the benefits, especially if those vulnerable to covid are adequately protected.
But just before this tweet, he retweeted this:
This tweet rejects any need to balance costs and benefits. It’s simply a categorical rejection of policies that Bhattacharya doesn’t like, based on a deontological rule (“do not harm”). Vaccination requirements for international travelers? No. Masks in grocery stores? No. Close movie theaters and concert halls during surges? No. Work from home requirements? No.
To the best of my knowledge, Bhattacharya and his libertarian comrades never attempt to think seriously about the costs and benefits of different non-pharmaceutical interventions. They simply reject them all out of hand, without attempting to identify tradeoffs. They use cost/benefit analysis as a rhetorical weapon to criticize their opponents, not as a framework for principled decision making.
The bad faith is astonishing. This is an important reason most public health policymakers and academics refused to engage with supporters of the Great Barrington Declaration.
I don’t know whether through ignorance or mendacity, but to pretend that “first, do no harm” is a mandate for actions that act to continue the pandemic is anti-scientific. It is, first, harmful to continue behavior that encourages a large pool of replicating virus, thereby increasing the probability of new variants that may be more contagious and/or vaccine-resistant.
This isn’t epidemiology or economics. It is puerile solipsism. It deserves our contempt.
it could be both mendacity and ignorance.
and while it is certainly unscientific, so,i think, would be its opposite. science has nothing to say about public policy. or about puerilesoipsism, or deserving contempt.
now, i would like to hear some science a about a large pool of replicating viruses carried by people who have a vaccine that appears to protect them from serious illness while allowing the virus to survive in them, replicate, and infect others, vaccinated or not. my, unscientific, guess is that new possibly more dangerous varieants are likely to emerge from that pool, as it is likely to emerge from the very large pool of unvaccinated people in poor countries that cannot afford to pay the free market rate for vaccines.
not to mention those so angered by elite contempt that they seek refuge among political factions that tell them it’s all a conspiracy by the evil Left.
“…science a about a large pool of replicating viruses carried by people who have a vaccine that appears to protect them from serious illness while allowing the virus to survive in them, replicate, and infect others, vaccinated or not. my, unscientific, guess is that new possibly more dangerous varieants (sic) are likely to emerge from that pool, as it is likely to emerge from the very large pool of unvaccinated people in poor countries that cannot afford to pay the free market rate for vaccines…”
[Your unscientific guess is a very close approximation of Joel’s science expressed elsewhere in AB threads. Here at AB at least our division is more an expression of individual personality flaws than our lack of knowledge and differences in our informed beliefs. Of course, that does not make constructive discussion any easier. However, it does explain why I have come to so rarely participate.]
I think you mistake being “angered by elite contempt” by what is the actual cause of these people’s anger; e.g. that they are being placed on a level of equality with non-white people and with women of all races. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/27/us/craig-rowland-idaho-sheriff-gun.html
This level of anger was what filled the Armies of the Confederacy. The fact that the Kochs and Trumps & their like have more plenty of contempt for their followers (it was the Southern Plantation class, not Northern Abolitionists, who invented the phrase “poor, white, trash” or referred to white nothern workers as “mudsills”) does not cause those followers to be any less zealous in supporting the elite they identify with their common cause: the cause of white, male, supremacy.
December 23, 2021
Cases ( 11,767,262)
Deaths ( 147,720)
Deaths per million ( 2,159)
Cases ( 100,644)
Deaths ( 4,636)
Deaths per million ( 3)
[ China for its cautions and protections will of course grow far faster then the United Kingdom. ]
NB: this does not account for the life expectancy hit we expect to take in 2021:
you might want to tweet those little stats back at Bhattacharya, Eric…
The Ego-libertarian party
It is easy to argue against measures designed to stop the spread of the Omicron COVID variant before it has become dominant, as 100 Tory MPs did last Tuesday to defy Johnson. But that is exactly when you need measures to be put in place to protect the public. These MPs have been a constant drag on Johnson during the pandemic, and one reason why he has not been following the advice of his scientists.
There have always been the odd nutters among Tory MPs, but they have never numbered 100. It represents nearly half of all Tory backbenchers (Tory MPs who are not part of the payroll vote). Worse still is that they have, most of the time, the support of the right wing press. Both are way out of line with public opinion. There is a reasonable argument that vaccine passports are a gateway to further restrictions on civil liberties, but that argument cannot be made by the same MPs who are at the forefront of restricting civil liberties for those they don’t like….
— Simon Wren-Lewis
When I was traveling out of country for any length of time, I had a yellow card which listed all of my inoculations. In some countries, you can be asked for it. If asked, it is always good to be able to say “yes” rather than get shot up again in some off road clinic. For me it was a precaution.
Is it reasonable for someone who defies inoculation to threaten my health?
Bhattacharya and his libertarian comrades …
[ This is nihilism, which is what such libertarians are continually about. ]
I wonder, are they planning to force those who dont want to get the virus, and end up in the hospital or dying . or is will they force folks to work? have seen that being said
for your logn you used d w and I had to approve you again. Make sure you use the same dw when logging-in. If no one is around, your comment may sit.
Herd immunity for COVID-19
Lancet – February 2021 – PDF
Great Barrington sounds reasonable until you realize that what it purports to do isn’t really possible.
We now have a lot more information to demonstrate just how not possible it was.
The kindest thing I can say is that they don’t care about human lives at all.
Merry Christmas. Keep up the good work.
Is it reasonable for someone who defies inoculation to threaten my health?
[ Perfect question; the answer to which is “no.” A social contract is just that, a contract to assure mutual care and protection.
Very, very important for us to understand.]
the Unvaccinated Remain Defiant
Another Christmas of Death and Distress in America’s ICUs
As the death numbers for the last 2 years are now coming in we are over 1 million excess deaths vs the “official” covid count of 800k.
So yes, first do no harm… Ha!