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Andy Puzder: COVID lockdown debate – Dems want science, they should look at the Great Barrington Declaration

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If Democrats truly want to follow the science – rather than the politics — in the fight against COVID-19, they might want to take a closer look at “The Great Barrington Declaration.” 

Organized by infectious-disease experts Dr. Martin Kulldorff of Harvard University, Dr. Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University, it recommends allowing people to live normally despite the virus while protecting the most vulnerable elements of the population so as to avoid the lockdowns’ devastating physical, mental, economic, and educational impacts.

The mainstream media has essentially ignored the Declaration, but to date over 5,500 medical and public health scientists and  11,000 medical practitioners have signed it. That numbers continue to grow. 

The Declaration expresses “grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies,” pointing out that the “heaviest burden” is falling on “working-class and younger members of society.”

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According to the Declaration, “[c]urrent lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health.” It concludes that “[k]eeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.”

Going forward, “[t]he most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.” The authors call this approach “Focused Protection.”

It is essentially the approach followed in Sweden (the country that has most successfully dealt with the virus), which is increasingly supported by the World Health Organization. It is also the very policy approach that President Trump has been recommending, to great criticism and disdain from Democrats and their leftist media allies. 

The Declaration’s conclusion is also consistent with the CDC’s September 10th age-specific update to COVID-19’s estimated Infection Fatality Rate. The CDC’s “Current Best Estimate” for survival rates: 0-19 years old, 99.997 percent; 20-49 years old, 99.98 percent; 50-69 years, 99.5 percent; and 70 years old or older, 94.6 percent.

As the Declaration states, “vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young. Indeed, for children, COVID-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.”

The Declaration obviously casts severe doubt on the heavy-handed lockdown approach Joe Biden and the Democrats have been advocating, an approach that creates a woefully inaccurate picture of who has suffered most during these lockdowns.

The Wall Street millionaires bankrolling Biden’s campaign are not the ones hurting. The stock market has more or less recovered from its temporary coronavirus dip and white collar workers are discovering that it is both possible and often more enjoyable to work remotely.

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But, as the Declaration notes, the real pain falls on the “underprivileged” as well as “working class and younger members of society.”

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While the wealthy retreat to their second homes, ordinary working stiffs — those who would otherwise be working every day in retail, restaurants, hospitality, and other industries dependent on normal human interaction — have been devastated by the massive layoffs triggered by state lockdown orders.

Not surprisingly, the economic pain varies according to political geography. 

In August, even before the September jobs report came out showing the national unemployment rate falling dramatically to 7.9 percent, 11 states already had unemployment rates below 6 percent — putting them well ahead of the national curve. Of those states, all but Montana have Republican governors that have heeded the President’s directives to reopen to the extent possible as soon as it is safe to do so.

The 10 worst-performing states all had crisis-level unemployment rates of over 10 percent including New Jersey, (10.9), Illinois (11), New York (12.5), and California(11.4). With the exception of Massachusetts, every one of them has a Democratic governor who is making a point of keeping maximum lockdowns in place in defiance of the president.

Conditions on the ground should always dictate prevention measures, but the distribution of economic pain clearly corresponds to Democrats politicizing the pandemic. As the Declaration makes clear, the science confirms that it is in the best interests of all Americans that the lockdowns end.

The greatest economic threat facing American workers right now is the prospect that in just a few months, Biden could actually have the power to sacrifice their jobs on the altar of his politics, as he’s repeatedly indicated he would be willing to do by imposing a national shutdown.

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The clearest path to continued misery and inequality runs through Joe Biden and the Democrats.

The clearest path to recovery, prosperity, and getting our lives back runs through President Trump’s re-election. 

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