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The Great Barrington Declaration

by Thursday, Oct. 08, 2020 at 5:09 PM

The ship was saved but all the passengers drowned - a Reaganomics cartoon

The Great Barrington Declaration

[This declaration signed Oct 4, 2020 is translated from the German on the Internet,]

As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists, we have serious concerns about the harmful effects of the predominant COVID-19 measures on physical and mental health and recommend an approach called Focused Protection. 

Politically, we come from both left and right and from around the world and have dedicated our professional careers to protecting people. The current lockdown policy has devastating effects on public health in the short and long term. The results, to name but a few, include lower childhood vaccination rates, poorer outcomes in cardiovascular disease, fewer cancer screenings and a deterioration in mental health - which will lead to increased excess mortality in the coming years. The working class and younger members of society will be hardest hit. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice. 

Maintaining these measures until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately affected.

Fortunately, our knowledge of the virus is growing. We know that the risk of dying from COVID-19 is more than a thousand times higher in old and frail people than in young people. In fact, COVID-19 is less dangerous to children than many other conditions, including influenza. 

As immunity builds up in the population, the risk of infection decreases for everyone, including those at risk. We know that all populations eventually reach herd immunity - the point at which the rate of new infections is stable. This can be supported by a vaccine, but is not dependent on it. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we achieve herd immunity. 

The most sensitive approach, balancing the risks and benefits of achieving herd immunity, is to allow those who have a minimal risk of dying to live a normal life so that they can build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while those who are most at risk are better protected. We call this Focused Protection. 

Adopting measures to protect the most vulnerable groups should be the central goal of public health responses to COVID-19. For example, nursing homes should employ staff with acquired immunity and conduct frequent PCR tests on other staff and all visitors. Staff turnover should be minimized. Retired people living at home should have food and other important items delivered to their homes. If possible, they should meet family members outside rather than inside. A comprehensive and detailed set of measures, including measures for multi-generational households, can be implemented and is within the possibilities and capabilities of the public health system.

Those who are not in need of protection should be allowed to resume a normal life immediately. Simple hygiene measures such as washing hands and staying at home in case of illness should be practiced by all to lower the threshold for herd immunity. Schools and universities should be open for face-to-face teaching. Extra-curricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young adults at low risk should work normally and not from home. Restaurants and other stores should be allowed to open. Art, music, sports and other cultural activities should be resumed. People who are more at risk can participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection afforded to the weak by those who have built herd immunity.

On October 4, 2020 in Great Barrington, USA, this declaration was written and signed by:

Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist with expertise in detecting and monitoring of infectious disease outbreaks and vaccine safety evaluations.

Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, vaccine development, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician, epidemiologist, health economist, and public health policy expert focusing on infectious diseases and vulnerable populations.


End of one-sidedness, for a balanced world view

by Siegesmund von Ilsemann

[This article published on Sept 17, 2020 is translated from the German on the Internet,]

From Siegesmund by Ilsemann. In the notes of the day we had referred to a Spiegel article by Sascha Lobo. See here. The author turned out to be what he has long been: an Atlantic influence agent, without substance, but built up by the Spiegel for years. Now a text by the former Spiegel editor Siegesmund von Ilsemann reached us - a pleasant counterpart to the pamphlet by Lobo. Albrecht Müller.

It is high time to finally put the pariah of world politics in his place. No longer can we stand idly by and watch all the crimes against humanity, breaches of international law, wars of aggression, occupations and assassinations with which this nation has been spreading terror around the globe for decades. Wars of aggression without any legitimation under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which alone could justify the use of armed force against other nations; illegal occupation of foreign territory; murderous actions against people all over the world, if they are classified as "enemies" by the rulers of this nation; the most evil manipulation of allegedly free, democratic elections; the breach of international treaties, if it serves one's own benefit - the list of such grave, even criminal evils seems endless.

And yet there are still far too many governments, shockingly many people, for whom friendly dealings with this regime, profitable trade with this resource-rich country are more important than rebelling against a ruthless, illegal policy that could lead the entire world community to ruin.

No, Putin, not the Watschenmann preferred by the West, is in the pillory here. It is the USA, the so valued supremacy of the "free West", which must be reproached for all these crimes and many more.

Certainly - Putin's Russia is also rightly accused of many misdeeds. But compared with the USA, the mafia killers of world politics, Putin stands at worst like a bar fighter.

How unscrupulously we have become accustomed to measuring political guilt and responsibility with double standards becomes clear when we ask ourselves what would have happened if Putin had committed all those evil deeds for which Washington has not been internationally condemned, let alone outlawed, for decades.

Would the world have simply accepted it if huge Russian armies - like the US-American one - had attacked countries far away from its own hemisphere, toppled governments, murdered rulers and set whole regions of the world on fire? How great would the outcry be if Putin, instead of - bad enough - individual opponents, were to insidiously send thousands of "terrorists" around the globe to the afterlife without any judgement, as American presidents have been doing with their drone killings with impunity at least since the turn of the millennium? And what right has a US government in Russia to denounce anything but "flawless democratic" democracy, which systematically manipulates its own elections?

In the country where barely half of the eligible voters go to the polls, the rulers of every hue always try to cut the rest in such a way that it guarantees them victory. Before each ballot, the boundaries of madly meandering constituencies are shifted in such a way that the supporters of the respective decision-makers retain the majority there. In order to sabotage the postal vote, which is particularly important during the pandemic, the current ruler in the White House has thousands of mailboxes dismantled - especially in constituencies that are considered to be his opponents. And the differences in electoral laws from state to state repeatedly make it difficult for entire population groups to participate in the political decision-making process - especially where democratic opponents could endanger republican office-holders. Democracy works differently.

Why does Germany - not only the political "elites", but unfortunately also, to a large extent, the population - follow how hypnotized a nation that is responsible for many of the evils of our world? Why do we still invoke the "common" values of the West when they are so systematically and deliberately disregarded by its supremacy? When will we finally protest in a sharp voice and loudly refuse to obey when "our" leading power negates and thus aggravates the greatest dangers of our time - global warming and pandemics - against all scientific knowledge? Why do we accept that our media look so one-eyed into the world and day after day, with their distorted view, exacerbate this problem?

It is time for a more balanced world policy, for the condemnation not only of Russian misdeeds, but finally also of the worst crimes against the international world order - also and especially when they are committed by our so-called leading power, the USA.

International law instead of nuclear inferno!

by Bernhard Trautvetter

[This article published on Sept 20, 2020 is translated from the German on the Internet,]

The military base in Kalkar is a control center for the "war in the 21st century". The events there contradict the survival interests of the people in Europe and international law - but this remains behind a veil of mist of media neglect. Only the peace movement protests and informs: the next time on October 3 in Kalkar. From Bernhard Trautvetter.

On the Day of German Unity, the peace movement demonstrates against a hub of NATO's war planning for what the military call "war in the 21st century". In Kalkar on the northeastern edge of the Ruhr area, behind a veil of mist of media neglect, Nato and the German Air Force and other investors are continually expanding a control center for that "war in the 21st century", at a cost of hundreds of millions of euros. The then commander of the Bundeswehr's Center for Air Operations in Kalkar, Lieutenant General Joachim Wundrak, declared 2016

"The location is one of the major players in the German armed forces, but also in NATO".

No wonder, since it is an air and space control center for flying military objects, for an area that extends from the Gulf via Mali to the North Atlantic to the Russian western border and certainly beyond, as this report in the regionally distributed "Rheinische Post" shows:

"The German pilots have already gained a lot of experience in handling Russian military aircraft during the regular Nato Air-Policing missions over the Baltic and Baltic Sea: ... For months now, well over 100 fighter planes have been flying over Syria. ... The Air Operations Center, which will be put into service in 2013 at the dual location of Kalkar/Uedem, will manage 40 air force units and services. Our Space Operations Center will ... together with France, Great Britain, Italy and Spain, provide additional operational services for the EU", says Wundrak: "Among other things, this will involve collision warnings for European satellite operators". ... 1300 soldiers and civilians from 20 nations are now stationed there. [1]

The air control center includes a 24-hour command post for the command of the NATO air forces in Europe. It takes on more and more tasks in the planning, command and control and the commissioning of NATO military air warfare operations and their preparation. "Around 100 million euros will be invested in buildings, infrastructure and IT by 2020, with NATO's multinational command post benefiting from a further 30 million euros. [2]

Other institutions include above all the strategy forge for the "war in the 21st century", the so-called Joint Air Power Competence Center (JAPCC), which was founded in 2005 and is financed by NATO and, above all, the federal budget. Its annual conferences document the dangerous content of the strategies and the outstanding importance of the JAPCC for NATO. The Annual Conference 2014 declared that it was doubtful that there would be no more major war in Europe. [3] The Annual Conference 2017 demanded plans from the nuclear powers of Nato to use their thermonuclear potentials. 4] The strategists developed this criminal madness also with fiscal policy reasons, since a conventional defense of the Baltic States could be too cost-intensive. [5]

Only the peace movement protests and informs the supra-regional public about the fire-dangerous events in the military installations of Kalkar. The next occasion for peaceful enlightenment and protest will be a peace demonstration, which the peace movement will hold from the Kalkar barracks to the market place in the city on the Day of German Unity, October 3. [6]

On the "Day of German Unity" the peace movement also recalls the 2+4 treaty to settle the German question, on the basis of which Germany exists in its present form. There the preamble sets out German policy based on these principles:

"... to develop friendly relations between nations based on respect for the principle of the equality and self-determination of peoples and to take other appropriate measures for the consolidation of international peace, in accordance with their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations, RECALLING the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe signed at Helsinki that these principles have laid firm foundations for the establishment of a just and lasting peace order in Europe, RESOLVED to take into account the security interests of all, CONVINCED of the need to overcome differences once and for all and to develop cooperation in Europe, REAFFIRMING their willingness to strengthen security, in particular through effective arms control, disarmament and confidence-building measures [7]

The peace movement makes it clear that what is happening at the military base in Kalkar - and certainly not only there - is not only contrary to the survival interests of the people of Europe, but also to international law.



["2] and as well as actiondays-kalkar-essen-2017/

["3] nrw-archiv.vvn-bda.en/texts/1518_japcc_jw.htm




["7] bpb.en/reference/laws/two-plus-four-contract/44112/preamble

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Partial Agreement - but we probablly can't open up

by johnk Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020 at 7:07 PM

I agree with some of the statement, about acquiring some herd immunity among the least vulnerable, but the pre-requisites for reopening aren't being met in the US.

"Adopting measures to protect the most vulnerable groups should be the central goal of public health responses to COVID-19. For example, nursing homes should employ staff with acquired immunity and conduct frequent PCR tests on other staff and all visitors. Staff turnover should be minimized."

Are there enough people with acquired immunity to staff nursing homes?

In the US, do we have enough tests to conduct frequent PCR tests, and get results back quickly, like within a day? I don't think we're at that point yet. We just didn't focus on rapid testing.

"Retired people living at home should have food and other important items delivered to their homes."

Absolutely. I think this is within reach, in cities. I'm not so sure it's that feasible in more spread out areas, because the food delivery options get thin, and tend toward foods like pizza and pasta, which older people with dietary restrictions may not be able to eat. For example, diabetics cannot eat pizza. People with IBS and FODMAP restrictions cannot eat pizza.

In these areas, a new food system needs to be created. It *can* be created, probably at very reasonable cost, using existing businesses, but it needs direction. The food cannot be "junk food". It needs to be rich in vitamins, and nutritious.

"If possible, they should meet family members outside rather than inside."

This is feasible.

"A comprehensive and detailed set of measures, including measures for multi-generational households, can be implemented and is within the possibilities and capabilities of the public health system."

I had to laugh at that one. We don't really have much of a public health system in the United States. Healthcare is largely privatized, and the public health system overlaps with the private system, via the ACA's Medicaid reforms that turned Medicaid providers into something more like HMOs.

The pattern, in the Western/Northern countries, of working-class communities suffering more from sars-cov-2 has been established. What journalists are failing to state loudly is that this is probably due to more crowded living conditions. They like to blame access to healthcare, poor health in general, and, sometimes, being essential workers. They don't talk much about housing, perhaps because it's so obvious that when a family of 5 is living in a 2 bedroom apartment, they are unavoidably breathing on each other.

And, let me point out, 5 in a 2 bedroom isn't unusual. What's unusual, but not entirely uncommon, is 4 or more people in a 1 bedroom apartment. In New York City, two people living in a studio is not unusual.

In the US, we don't have much of a public housing system. Multi-generational households, where seniors might be living with teenagers, are at risk of infection and death. To isolate the household requires breaking up the household into two parts: the ones getting exposed to sars-cov-2, and the ones avoiding exposure.

Furthermore, you want to avoid re-housing the ones avoiding exposure into congregate living facilities. So you don't want to take a bunch of healthy seniors, and then move them all into a hotel, where the infection could spread like wildfire. You don't want them in a nursing home

They might want to move the family out, and then leave the seniors in the less dense home, assuming they live in a SFR or duplex or lower-density townhome. What you do for a family would need to be determined case by case, but the goal needs to be to de-concentrate the at-risk households, so the infection won't spread among them.

Perhaps that last sentence I quoted, that this is "within the capabilities of the public health system," could apply in Europe. It might even apply in a wealthy suburb in the United States. I don't think it is within the reach of the wealthy cities, where housing costs are high.

We may need multi-city regional solutions.

At least in Los Angeles County, the cities have failed at implementing any kind of housing relief for homeless people across the cities. Tax money accumulates, and hasn't been spent on housing. So I have little confidence that they could do the same for working class people at-risk of infection and death from sars-cov-2.

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