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“Focused Protection” instead of COVID Restrictions. Three prominent epidemiologists calling for a new global response to COVID-19

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When it comes to COVID-19, one way or another countries around the world are eventually going to achieve herd immunity.  The way most countries are approaching the situation currently will stretch out the amount of time it’s going to take.  There are good reasons for that.  But now that the virus has been with us for close to a year we’ve learned not everyone is at the same risk of a serious outcome.  Some leading epidemiologists think it’s time to take another look at the global response to COVID.  As businesses close, millions look for work, seniors long for a hug from a loved one, and young people dream of getting back to their favourite sport, a new approach is being recommended.

The first few days of October, a group of epidemiologists headed by Harvard University’s Dr. Martin Kulldorff, Oxford University’s Dr. Sunetra Gupta, and Stanford University’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya met to discuss the way governments around the world are reacting to the COVID-19 crisis.  As a result of their discussions they posted The Great Barrington Declaration, a call for “Focused Protection”.  The declaration outlines a new strategy they hope governments around the world will soon adopt.  Coming out of their meeting the three co-signers of the declaration were interviewed by Freddie Sayers of UnHerd.  Here’s the fascinating discussion of why these leading thinkers are calling for a different global response to the pandemic.

On October 4, 2020, this declaration was authored and signed in Great Barrington, United States, by:

Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist with expertise in detecting and monitoring of infectious disease outbreaks and vaccine safety evaluations.

Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, vaccine development, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician, epidemiologist, health economist, and public health policy expert focusing on infectious diseases and vulnerable populations.

“This is the saner approach, the more scientific approach,” the authors tell Freddie Sayers

The Great Barrington Declaration

As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical, and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection.

Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice. 

Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.

Fortunately, our understanding of the virus is growing. We know that 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. 

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. 

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. We call this Focused Protection. 

Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19. By way of example, nursing homes should use staff with acquired immunity and perform frequent PCR testing of other staff and all visitors. Staff rotation should be minimized. Retired people living at home should have groceries and other essentials delivered to their home. When possible, they should meet family members outside rather than inside. A comprehensive and detailed list of measures, including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented, and is well within the scope and capability of public health professionals. 

Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.

Great Barrington, Massachusetts, 4th October 2020

To sign the declaration, follow this link
www.GBdeclaration.org

As of Wednesday, October 7 (only 3 days into this campaign) this declaration has been signed by over 3,500 Medical & Public Health Scientists, over 5,600 Medical Practitioners, and by over 84,000 members of the general public. 

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Alberta

Utility Deferral Program: Adding Insult to Injury

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Utility Deferral Program: Adding Insult to Injury

Open Letter to Alberta MLAs and the Alberta Utilities Commission

July 23, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Red Deer – Mountain View, AB

“There are people in need of help. Charity is one of the nobler human motivations. The act of reaching into one’s own pockets to help a fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else’s pocket is despicable and worthy of condemnation.” – Dr. Walter E. Williams

Recent news indicating that Alberta ratepayers will be responsible for the outstanding debt owed to gas and electricity providers from 2020’s three-month utility deferral program is beyond frustrating.

There is no question that many Albertans needed to take advantage of this deferral program when the government arbitrarily and unilaterally shuttered their livelihoods in 2020. There is also no question that outstanding debt from this program should not be the responsibility of Albertan ratepayers, many of whom saw significant reductions in income over the past year and a half due to government mandates.

As per a CBC article, Geoff Scotton, a spokesperson with the Alberta Utilities Commission, states “Now we’re in a situation where providers, in good faith, who enabled those payment deferrals, need to be made whole. That’s really the goal here.”

When will Albertans who had their lives and livelihoods deferred for a year and half be made whole?

Instead of the proposed repayment plan, I suggest the following remedies for the outstanding debt:

  1. The expected debt of $16 million should be split among all sitting MLAs and any other government bureaucrats who advocated for lockdowns and be repaid personally.
  2. The utility companies, specifically CEOs and senior managers, reach into their own pockets, help their fellow man in need and personally repay the debt.

Families, private sector employees and small business owners have suffered greatly over the past year and a half. Adding further costs to their already limited budgets is not acceptable. Please do better.

Sincerely,

Jared Pilon

Libertarian Party Candidate for Red Deer – Mountain View, AB

https://www.jaredpilon.com/

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COVID-19

John Carpay takes leave after hiring Private Investigator to observe Manitoba’s Chief Justice: Statements from Justice Centre and Carpay

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As Covid restrictions moved past the initial promise of two weeks into months and waves, John Carpay and The Justice Centre have taken on significant prominence for individuals and businesses fighting against them.  For those who believe their rights have been infringed by Covid restrictions the Justice Centre offers an extensive and free list of information on its website, including an entire ‘living’ book, constantly updated with the latest information on the rights and freedoms in respect to the various sets of Covid restrictions across Canada.  Those facing legal challenges, are offered direct connection with members of their legal team.

This week the President of the Justice Centre, John Carpay suddenly stepped down.  In his statement to the Board of Directors for the Justice Centre Carpay says he went too far when he decided to hire a private investigator to observe Manitoba Chief Justice Glenn Joyal.  Carpay says he was trying to confirm information that certain members of Manitoba’s leadership responsible for enforcing strict restrictions, were violating those same restrictions.  

Here are the statements made by both he Board of Directors of the Justice Centre, and former President John Carpay as posted on the website of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms 

Statement from the Board of Directors of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

On Monday July 12, 2021, the members of the Board of Directors of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (Justice Centre) were informed that a private investigator had been retained by Justice Centre President John Carpay to conduct surveillance on senior government officials, including Chief Justice Joyal of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, in regard to their compliance with Covid regulations.

No member of the Board had any prior notice or knowledge of this plan and had not been consulted on it. Had the Board been advised of the plan, it would have immediately brought it to an end. Mr. Carpay has acknowledged that he made the decision unilaterally. Apart from the Justice Centre’s Litigation Director, none of the Justice Centre’s lawyers or Board members were aware that this was occurring until July 12.

The Justice Centre’s mandate is to defend Canadians’ constitutional freedoms through litigation and education. Surveilling public officials is not what we do. We condemn what was done without reservation. We apologize to Chief Justice Joyal for the alarm, disturbance, and violation of privacy. All such activity has ceased and will not reoccur in future.

For years, Mr. Carpay has been a tireless advocate for Canadians’ constitutional rights and freedoms. With the integrity that we know him for, he has owned this mistake, openly, directly, and without reservation. Mr. Carpay has advised the Board that, effective today, he is taking an indefinite period of leave from his responsibilities at the Justice Centre. The Board will appoint an interim president to serve in his absence, and has instituted a comprehensive review of Justice Centre operations and decision-making.


Statement by John Carpay, President – July 12, 2021

As has been communicated in the media, I apologized this morning to Chief Justice Joyal in the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench for my decision to include him in passive observation conducted by a private investigator at my request, to hold government officials accountable.  In an error of judgement, Chief Justice Joyal was included with the observation of government officials.

No other judges were included. Over the last 16 months, Canadians have faced unprecedented restrictions on their Charter-guaranteed freedoms to travel, assemble, associate with others, and worship. The Justice Centre’s mandate is to defend Canadians’ constitutional freedoms through litigation and education.

When public officials breach health orders, as we saw recently with Alberta Premier Kenney’s “Sky Palace” dinner, it is evidence that they do not feel compelled to abide by the same restrictions which they impose on other citizens, often with significant penalties. It was reported to the Justice Centre that Manitoba’s leadership were similarly breaching public health regulations.  I made the decision to hire an investigator to ascertain whether this was true.

In no way was this intended to influence or impact the Justice Centre’s litigation efforts, or any of our court cases.  This decision was my own initiative, and was not discussed with Justice Centre clients, staff lawyers or Board members.

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