Scientists warn of the “devastating” effect of restrictive quarantine policies due to covid-19 and call for a return to normalcy for healthy people.
Since the pandemic began and the implementation of restrictive measures, different anti-quarantine movements began to emerge around the world.
But now there are numerous scientists and health experts who support the idea.
Almost 6,000 members of the scientific and health community joined a global statement that warns of “serious concerns” of confinement policies for the covid-19 disease.
They say that these measures are having a devastating impact on physical and mental health, as well as on society.
Thus, these specialists ask that protection be focused on the most vulnerable, while healthy people continue with their lives.
This statement has prompted warnings from others that such an approach could make it difficult to fully protect vulnerable people.
And they add that the risk of long-term complications from the coronavirus means that many others are also at risk.
Specialists call for protection to focus on the vulnerable, while healthy people continue with their lives.
The move, known as the Great Barrington Declaration , reflects some of the concerns and recommendations in a letter signed by members of the British Association of Physicians and addressed to the UK Health Secretary saying that there is not enough emphasis on “harm not caused by covid “in decision making.
What is the Great Barrington Declaration?
The movement started in the United States.
And the declaration has already been signed by nearly 6,000 scientists and medical experts around the world, as well as 50,000 from the public.
They claim that maintaining quarantine restriction policies until a vaccine is available would cause “irreparable harm, with the underprivileged feeling disproportionately harmed.”
Among the health harms cited include: lower childhood vaccination rates and worsening care for patients with heart disease and cancer.
And they point out that the risk of coronavirus is 1,000 times higher for the elderly and the sick, and children are at greater risk of contracting the flu than covid-19.
As immunity increases in the population, the risk of infection for everyone, including the vulnerable, decreases, they say.
And this would be a much more “compassionate” approach.
The statement recommends a number of measures to protect vulnerable people, including regular testing of homecare workers, with a move to the extent possible towards the empowerment of staff who have acquired immunity.
Retired people living at home should have groceries and other essentials delivered to their homes, they recommend.
And when possible, they should meet with family members outside.
Everyone should practice simple hygiene measures , such as washing their hands and staying home when sick.
But, they believe, low-risk youth should be allowed to work normally, they say.
They also say that schools and universities should be open to face-to-face teaching and that sporting and cultural activities could resume and restaurants reopen.
What do other experts say?
Although it is “well intentioned”, the statement has profound ethical, logistical and scientific flaws , says Stephen Griffin, professor at the University of Leeds School of Medicine, UK.
The vulnerable come from all walks of life and ages and deserve to be “treated equally.”
And “prolonged covid” is reported to have left even people with mild infections with problems like fatigue and joint pain for months.
Meanwhile, Simon Clarke, an expert in cell biology at the University of Reading, says it is not yet clear whether herd immunity is achievable.
“It would take a protective, natural and long-lasting immunity to the disease, ” he describes.
“And we don't know how effective or long-lasting people's post-infection immunity will be,” he warns.
Some say the most likely scenario is that immunity is not long-term, but future reinfections become milder.