The COVID pandemic has sparked contentious debates about the balance between reducing the spread of the disease and avoiding the unintended repercussions of lockdown. The original quarantine, although necessary for flattening the curve, created economic upheaval while also sparking significant mental health issues related to long-term isolation.
In an effort to avoid these problems as we continue to navigate the pandemic, a variety of scientists and other influential individuals gathered at the American Institute for Economic Research in early October to sign the Great Barrington Declaration.
How Would Pandemic Response Work Under the Proposed Great Barrington System?
The approach advocated for under the Great Barrington Declaration involves opening up the economy and schools to children and adults under the age of 60. High-risk populations (including seniors and younger people with significant health concerns) would still be encouraged to wear masks and remain socially distant.
To protect older people from contracting the disease at work, this approach calls for funding to support a sabbatical lasting between three and six months. Strategic solutions would also be implemented to avoid the spread of the disease in multi-generational homes.
Why Are Scientists Advocating for the Great Barrington Approach?
Advocates for the Great Barrington approach believe that those at a reduced risk of severe COVID symptoms have sacrificed too much during the pandemic. They point to ill effects such as mental health issues, food scarcity, and delayed diagnoses due to a lack of preventative care.
The declaration’s official webpage cites a “global public health and humanitarian perspective.” Those involved believe that the current pandemic response places far too great of a burden on the working poor. Not only is this thought to damage quality of life, some quarantine skeptics believe that present mitigation efforts will lead to a greater loss of life from combined COVID and non-COVID causes.