Be it resolved: The public health response to COVID-19 should focus on protecting the old and letting the young get on with living normal lives


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We’re heading into the twelfth month of a global pandemic and in many places the spread of COVID-19 shows no signs of slowing down. As infections continue to surge, countries in the northern hemisphere have started to reimpose lockdowns restricting people's movement and social interactions and closing portions of their economies. Many political leaders and their public health advisors argue that these kinds of restrictions are necessary as a crisis measure when infections spiral out of control, threatening a collapse of hospitals and devastating health consequences. They also advocate a strategy of suppression to keep infections low once the crisis is brought under control. But some politicians and public health experts are criticizing what they believe is an overly draconian approach. They say that it makes no sense to prevent the healthy and young from going about their normal lives when their risk of dying from the virus is less than the flu and they suffer considerable collateral damage from lockdowns. They argue that countries should adopt a focused approach to fighting the pandemic that zeroes in on protecting elderly and vulnerable.

Arguing for the motion is Martin Kulldorff, Professor of Medicine at Harvard University. He is one of the authors of the recently released Great Barrington Declaration which advocates an alternative, risk-based approach to combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Arguing against the motion is Stephen Reicher, Professor of Psychology at the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland. He sits on a subgroup of SAGE, the official scientific body advising the UK government on its COViD 19 response.

Sources: Global, ABC, NBC, City TV, CBC, NDTV, CBS 6

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