The Declaration That Wasn’t Supposed to Happen

It’s been a continuing mystery for three years, at least to me but many others too. In October 2020, in the midst of a genuine crisis, three scientists made a […]
Published on November 22, 2023

It’s been a continuing mystery for three years, at least to me but many others too. In October 2020, in the midst of a genuine crisis, three scientists made a very short statement of highly public health wisdom, a summary of what everyone in the profession, apart from a few oddballs, believed only a year earlier. The astonishing frenzy of denunciation following that document’s release was on a level I’ve never seen before, reaching to the highest levels of government and flowing through the whole of media and tech. It was mind-boggling.

For proof that nothing in the document was particularly radical, look no further than the March 2, 2020, letter from Yale University signed by 800 top professionals. It warned against quarantines, lockdowns, closures, and travel restrictions. It said such extreme measures “can undermine public trust, have large societal costs and, importantly, disproportionately affect the most vulnerable segments in our communities.” That document appeared only two weeks before the lockdowns announced by the Trump administration.

That was the period of the grant amnesia. The conventional wisdom turned on a dime toward full backing of regime priorities, a shift more extreme and mind-boggling that anything in dystopian fiction.

Seven months later, the Great Barrington Declaration said something very similar to the Yale document. It was a summary statement concerning what governments and society should and should not do during pandemics. They should seek to allow everyone to live as normally as possible in order to avoid guaranteed damage from coerced disruptions. And the vulnerable population—those who would experience medically significant impacts from exposure—should be protected from exposure insofar as doing so is consistent with human rights and choice.

It was nothing particularly novel, much less radical. Indeed, it was accepted wisdom the year before and for the previous century. The difference this time, however, is that the statement was released during the wildest and most destructive science experiment in modern times. The existing policy of lockdowns was utter wreckage: of businesses, schools, churches, civic life, and freedom itself. Masks were being forced on the whole population, including children. Governments were attempting a regime of test, track, trace, and isolate, as if there were ever any hope of containing a respiratory pathogen with a zoonotic reservoir.

The carnage was everywhere already and obvious from a look at every downtown of every city in the United States. Stores were boarded up. The streets were mostly empty. The professional class was hunkered down, binging on streaming and gaming services, while the working class was hustling everywhere to deliver groceries to doorsteps. In short, insanity had broken out.

Several groups of doctors had already made strong statements against the goings on, including the frontline doctors group on Capitol Hill and the brilliant Bakersfield doctors, among many individuals. However, they were quickly shot down by major media and blasted for failing to support the great undertaking. Even that was astonishing to watch unfold. It didn’t matter how exalted the reputations of the doctors or scientists were. They were all shot down, more or less instantly, as crazies and cranks.

It was like living in a horror house of mirrors where nothing appears as it is supposed to. At the time, I chalked it all up to mass confusion, cultural amnesia, bad education, government overreach, media ignorance, or just some general tendency of humanity to go mad that I had not previously seen in my lifetime but had only known from history books.

Several top epidemiologists felt the same way. They were Martin Kulldorff from Harvard, Jay Bhattacharya from Stanford, and Sunetra Gupta from Oxford. Together they wrote a very short statement in hopes of bringing public officials and common people back to good sense and rationality. We had the idea of putting it online and inviting others to sign. We were racing against time because there were several interviews coming up. Lucio Saverio-Eastman, now with Brownstone, skipped a nights’ sleep to create the website. He tells the story here.

The blowback began within hours. It was really something to behold. Twitter accounts came out of nowhere to smear the document and its producers and the institution that hosted the event where the scientists explained their thinking. The calumnies and attacks were coming in so quickly that it was impossible to respond. The website itself was subject to open and admitted sabotage, with fake names. That required some fast patches and new levels of security.

It was a storm of frenzy the likes of which I had never seen. It’s one thing to object to a point of view but this was next-level. The hit pieces were pouring out of huge venues, almost as if they had been ordered from the top. Much later we found out that they had in fact been ordered: Francis Collins, the head of National Institutes of Health, called for a “quick and devastating takedown” of the document.

When that revelation came out, it didn’t make much sense to me. I get that this view had become what seemed to be a minority view but how do you “take down” the public health wisdom of one hundred years? The GBD was not the outlying position; the lockdowns were the radical move that never had a scientific justification. They were just imposed as if they were normal even though everyone knew they were not.

Lately we’ve been flooded with more information that starts to make sense of this puzzle. As Rajeev Venkayya had told me the previous April, the whole point of the lockdowns was to wait for the vaccine. Frankly, I didn’t believe him at the time. I should have. After all, it was he who had invented the idea of lockdowns, worked for the Gates Foundation as head of its vaccine advisory, and then moved to a vaccine company thereafter. If anyone knew the real plan, it was he.

In the meantime, we now know there was then being built a vast censorship machinery involving the federal government, outposts as universities such as Stanford and Johns Hopkins, tech companies, and media embeds in all important outlets. It was not only being built but being deployed in order to craft the public mind in ways that would maintain the spirit of fear and the reality of lockdowns until the magic inoculation arrived. The whole plot sounds straight out of a bad Hollywood movie, but it was a plot being enacted in real life.

Think here of the timing of the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD). It came out barely a month before the election, after which the plan from the top was to release the vaccine, presumably after the sitting president was defeated. That way the new president could get the credit for the distribution stage and thus would the pandemic end.

The underlying dynamic of the timing of the release of the GBD—we had no clue at all that this was going on—worked utterly to subvert the entire censorship regime. The perception too was that this document would undermine vaccine acceptance. At that point in the great plan, all focus was on molding the public mind toward mass jabbing. That meant cultivating among the population the appearance of expert unity.

“Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed,” said the document. “As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all—including the vulnerable—falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity—i.e. the point at which the rate of new infections is stable—and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.”

Further, “the 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.”

Reading those words today, in light of what we now know, we can start to make sense of the sheer panic at the top. Natural infection and immunity? Can’t talk about that. The end of the pandemic is not “dependent upon” the vaccine? Can’t say that either. Go back to normal for all populations without significant medical risk? Unsayable.

You need only reflect on the astounding barrage of vaccine propaganda that began immediately upon release, the attempt to mandate it on the whole population and now the addition of the COVID jab to the childhood schedule even though children are of near zero risk. This is all about product sales, as you can easily discern from the unrelenting ad videos made by the new head of the CDC.

As for the product effectiveness itself, there seems to be no end to the ensuing problems. It was not a sterilizing inoculation, and it appears that the manufacturers always knew that. It could not stop infection or transmission. The hazards associated with it were also known early on. Every day, the news gets more grim: in the latest revelation, the CDC seems to have kept two separate books on vaccine injury, one public (showing harms without precedent but which has been deprecated by officials) and one yet to be released.

Even now, therefore, there is every effort being made to keep a lid on what surely ranks as the greatest failure/scandal in the modern history of public health. Some brave experts called it out before the whole calamity unfolded even further.

The problem with the Great Barrington Declaration was not that it was not true. It’s that—unbeknownst to its authors—it flew in the face of one of the most funded and elaborate industrial plots in the history of governance. Just a few sentences sneaking through the wall of censorship they were carefully constructing was enough to threaten and eventually dismantle the best laid plans.

Sometimes just telling the plain truth in well-timed ways is all it takes.


Jeffrey A. Tucker is Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and ten books in 5 languages, most recently Liberty or Lockdown.

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Watch also: Leaders on the Frontier – A Conversation with the Authors of The Great Barrington Declaration

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