by UnHerd
Tuesday, 24
August 2021
Video
15:00

Prof. Jay Bhattacharya: I stand by the Great Barrington Declaration

The Stanford professor offers his reflections on the pandemic
by UnHerd


Professor Jay Bhattacharya is one of the famous voices to have emerged out of the pandemic. A vocal critic of lockdowns, his name became synonymous with the controversial Great Barrington Declaration, which called for an “alternative approach to the pandemic” that would entail no lockdowns. Along with co-signatories Sunetra Gupta and Martin Kulldforff (who featured on UnHerd last year), the trio argued that public health strategies should instead centre on the ‘focused protection’ of at-risk groups while keeping society as open as possible so the healthy parts of the population could build herd immunity.

The declaration triggered a huge global debate, with critics arguing that many more lives would have been lost on account of the difficulty of shielding all those who were vulnerable. During this week’s interview, Freddie Sayers challenged Prof Bhattacharya on what would have happened if his strategy was adopted, whether he has changed his mind in retrospect, and how his ‘focused protection’ have would worked with waning immunity and new variants?


Like what you’re reading? Get the free UnHerd daily email

Already registered? Sign in


Did the early arrival of vaccines change his mind on lockdowns?

I did not think that vaccines would arrive in nine months, let alone 12. I was very pleasantly shocked and surprised. If you asked me in March 2020, “can there be a vaccine?” I would have said and I did say that it’s very unlikely. There’s no coronavirus vaccines, it’s been difficult to produce one. I don’t see how it’s possible…But I still would have had the same view of lockdowns… I still would have been in favour of keeping schools open. But I might have been more in favour of more restrictive things for older people.
- Jay Bhattacharya, UnHerd

On the Great Barrington Declaration:

We’ve been vindicated. The lockdowns were the single biggest mistake in public health history. I don’t see how anyone can look at lockdown and say ‘that was successful policy’. We’ve had lockdowns in country after country after country. Would you call lockdown a success in the UK? Would you call the lockdown in Peru a success? The lockdown in India or the United States? I don’t think by any measure you could call them a success.
- Jay Bhattacharya, UnHerd

On the backlash against the declaration:

I was naive, I have spent my career in academia. I’ve not spent my career in politics… I didn’t know that people would then use ad hominem attacks against me. I worked on the Santa Clara study when I was even more naive. There was a furious counter attack on that, again, with this ad hominem overlay that shocked me. I expected more serious engagement by serious people.
- Jay Bhattacharya, UnHerd

On the harms of lockdowns:

One in four young adults experienced depression or anxiety during the lockdown last year. One in four young adults have seriously considered suicide. I told you about the studies in the developing world where you have enormous numbers of people newly thrown into poverty, deep poverty, or newly food insecure, or who were actively starving. Disruptions in medical care that have harmed people with tuberculosis, with HIV, with malaria… The harms of lockdowns are extremely multi-dimensional. A child who skips a year of school will feel those consequences over a lifetime. They’ll be poorer, less healthy, and live less long. We’re just starting to come to terms with that.
- Jay Bhattacharya, UnHerd

Should young people take the vaccine?

They don’t have to. I mean, they can. I’m not against it. It’s an individual thing where you compare the potential harms of the vaccine versus the potential benefits, because it doesn’t stop disease spread. There will be some age where you say below it doesn’t make any sense because it would depend on the side effects.
- Jay Bhattacharya, UnHerd

The future of Covid:

Just like any other danger, we eventually get used to it. You read stories about horrible wars and it becomes like a thing you get used to. I think humans are capable of getting used to so many horrible things. I think we got used to lockdown. As a species we are adaptable that way, but that doesn’t mean we flourish that way. Covid is going to join the 200 other pathogens that afflict humans, and we will learn to live with it.
- Jay Bhattacharya, UnHerd

Join the discussion


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
15 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steven Sieff
Steven Sieff
1 year ago

Ah, the soothing tones and reassuring sense of Dr Jay. The more one listens to him, the more one wonders about the insanity of painting him and his GBD colleagues as some type of sinister cabal intent on causing harm or as a bunch of ill informed cranks who are missing something obvious. One may not agree with the principle or the practicality of focused protection as a response to COVID (full disclosure – I agree with both, albeit I proposed a slightly different method). One may not agree with his analysis of the cost/benefit of lockdowns and NPIs (full disclosure – I do), but regardless of any of that, surely it is clear that he is motivated by a sincere desire to minimise harm and that he is both well informed and very rational? In other words, that it would have been worth engaging more with him, his GBD colleagues, and other similarly questioning individuals from the very start?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

The most fantastic bit is where the excellent Doctor says he believes Lockdown killed more than it saved. That is Huge to hear. It means all the fantastic harm brought by the response cost more lives than saved – that the world went mad.

“The lockdowns were the single biggest mistake in public health history.”

But also the single biggest mistake in the financial and education and Freedom/Rights history.

This was the gist of the entire interview. BUT then one needs to ask why such insanity was done to the people by the Government when everyone with any sense at all saw this from the first few months.

The Afghanistan war is almost over, and 100% of everyone I have heard, not any exceptions, say that was the most stupid and destructive 20 years of ‘Police Action’, or what ever that sort of war is officially called. It cost 2+ Trillion $, and who knows how much else from others. (KSA, Billions, and UK, and EU, and Pakistan, and USSR, and so on – let alone Vietnam, Iraq, Central and S America, and on and on)

This all goes back to my usual refrain, that the world is run by the elites for their 4 reasons:

Military Industrial Complex, Pharma/Medical Complex, Banking/finance Complex, and Tech/Social Media Complex.

The Political Parties are owned by ‘The Donor Class’, the elites who pay for the election campaigns (both parties – same Elites own them) from when one tries their first run, till the last one – and at each step up the greasy ladder, over the bodies of those you trampled over to rise one rung – you must give more of your soul to the Party bosses. No Party backing? No political position for you. Then once you made it up the ladder it means you have done your masters bidding – and so will get your big payout. Pilosi is worth $100,000,000. Not just America, but everywhere – the EU Mandarins get their prestige, the villas, the pensions, the status, and then $$$ after serving correctly as told. Blair, Milliband, mega Millionaires – and for what? For doing as told.

This covid response was totally for power, $$$$, and to further the Great Reset. As this guy says, it did nothing. But it cost about $30,000,000,000,000, Globally and that money went to the pockets of the elite – and the resulting debt will break the Western economy giving the Great Reset a huge tail wind to its goal of new age Feudalism. (UBI and CBDC coming – and a kinder, nicer, 1984 is almost here.)

This guy said one very wrong thing – he said Trump caused the lock down, and said it was done by the right. Trump wanted herd immunity, but the Left MSM and Social Media forced him to tolerate taking the Left way of lockdown – it was an election year. He also said Boris is ‘Center Right’. Now that is nuts, he is just barely center, even left of center by any metric other than saying whatever is not Marxist based is Right. Boris wanted herd immunity, but getting covid broke him and he let his Left handlers take over.

None of this response was about health – from the first case in Wuhan (China 4 deaths per million! total nationally), to the last Vax Passport mandate – it is all about control, $$$, and the New World Order. Its parallel is the Post Modernism taking the Education and MSM Tech industry – these are all the same, they are power to the top.

Great interview but next time ask him why the world was so insane, and if he thinks there is more to it than just bad decisions.

Scott Powell
Scott Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I seriously wonder how bad do things have to get before we re-invent the gallows for the psychopaths who run the (once)-free world?

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
1 year ago

Thank you for that- Freddy and the good Dr.
I cannot understand, on what basis he is not taken seriously. Where is the poor logic, lack of understanding what the disease is about, and how might public health handle it? He is only focusing on the relevant aspect of the disease and he is thinking in terms of a world wide solution. Not just for the western society. Lockdowns belong to either despotic countries or to indulgent rich countries let’s say of about 2-2.5 billion. There is no place/ value/ meaning/ sense for them in the rest of the world of about 4.5 billion. So does that mean that the 2 billion have decided to impose a trend on the 7 billion by virtue of their own values, economic strength and focus on themselves ? Not to mention how much incomparable harm they do to their own young and marginal population. Not to mention the crimes committed towards the dying elderly who actually succumbed to this disease without a human to console and assist them to move to the other world. Not to mention that we have mortgaged our youngsters futures for our own warped sense of safety .
What’s going on? I cannot shake this outrage off. How self obsessed and narrow minded have we become in this quest of following the favoured scientists and popular thought.
This can of worms is just opening, it will continue to give without abating. This is my take on lockdowns. .

Warren T
Warren T
1 year ago

It’s all biblical prophesy of what happens during the end times. Rev. 12:9 – The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.”
We are living in a world where good is now evil, sin is normalized and the young think they know more than the creator of the planet.
But take heart! The remnant always leads a revival in truth and the world goes through the cycle again. History repeats.

Stephen Lodziak
Stephen Lodziak
1 year ago

Another classic for the neutral. Freddie’s interviews will make great material for researchers of the period or interested Martians.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
1 year ago

I want him to do David Icke and Piers Corbyn together – Now that would be an interview! Maybe get to the bottom of this Covid/Lizard story one hears of on the grey web. Cover all sides of the story. He has the head lizard himself scheduled in Sept, Neil Ferguson.

Toby Aldrich
Toby Aldrich
1 year ago

Freddie has been by far and away the most sane voice in this Covid crisis. Fair, considered, and analytical. Able to see both sides, and to let them explain.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
1 year ago

There seems to be little counter-argument to Professor Jay Bhattacharya

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
1 year ago

Professor Jay Bhattacharya is on strong ground in proposing a focus on protecting the vulnerable. He provides no data on what would have happened without lockdowns other than an inadequate reference to Sweden and South Korea. Without this he cannot support his claim that lockdowns did more damage than good. He does not address failures in lockdowns being late or poorly applied in protecting the vulnerable. He does not address the difficulty of non-mathematicians understanding the causality in projecting numbers. Government responses have been too little, too late, for too long because they wait to see the outcome before acting. He is well meaning but the academics have failed, as a community, in learning what could have been learnt on transmissibility from over 200 million cases and nearly 4.5 million deaths.

Keith Jefferson
Keith Jefferson
1 year ago

A minor observation: this is the first interview I have seen where Freddie and the subject were in the same room (the graphics guys even got the dado rail to line up in the headline picture).
From conversations I have had over the last few weeks I get the feeling that more and more people are accepting the view that C-19 is something we just have to learn to live with and that further lockdowns are unwarranted. Some small signs that we are maybe approaching the end of this madness.

Last edited 1 year ago by Keith Jefferson
Giles Chance
Giles Chance
1 year ago

It’s not reasonable to expect politicians not to follow the scientists and try to protect people from dying. But it would be unreasonable for politicians to return to lockdowns, at least in the developed world where vaccination rates are over 60%.

Last edited 1 year ago by Giles Chance
Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
1 year ago

The data supports him for the uk. All of their interventions have been failures. None of the new pandemic NPIs or the vaccines worked. Would have been better off following old guidelines like Ivor Cummings said all along

https://chriswaldburger.substack.com/p/bombshell-uk-data-destroys-entire

Last edited 1 year ago by Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
1 year ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

Pro vaccine cdc preprint study.
“We did not find any clear diff in the risk for ICU admission or in-hospital death between vaccinated and unvaccinated persons”

https://mobile.twitter.com/andrewbostom/status/1432682986265321483