The Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) was premised on the fiction that death was the only bad outcome from COVID, that one infection meant permanent immunity, and that “vulnerable” people could both be easily identified and completely walled off from “not vulnerable” people in a short period of time. With this gargantuan task accomplished, “vulnerable” people would be sealed in a bubble of zero COVID while “not vulnerable” people would live in a world of pure COVID. Once hundreds of millions of unvaccinated, “not vulnerable” Americans were infected, herd immunity would arrive, and “vulnerable” people could emerge from their hibernation. Spreading the virus would eliminate the virus, and the pandemic would be “naturally over“ in just 3-6 months.
What could possibly go wrong?
Obviously, the pandemic curtailed everyone’s life drastically. However, in the real world, when communities made good faith efforts to control the virus, many vulnerable people were able to go shopping, see their doctor, and even protest COVID restrictions without a certainty they’d be exposed to the virus at every step along their journey. This was all incomparable with the GBD. In their vision, anytime “vulnerable” people left their involuntary cocoon they’d be immersed in the virus. Every trip to Not Vulnerableland would be a potential death sentence. Remember, no “vulnerable” people were vaccinated when the GBD was published either.
This is what could possibly go wrong.
Though they might not always be visible, “vulnerable” people are everywhere and they interact with “not vulnerable” people all the time. Indeed, many “vulnerable” people depend on “not vulnerable” people to meet their basic needs. The GBD’s authors never sought input from “vulnerable” people, though they were influenced by a man who has advocated for child labor and child smoking, while writing for a racist organization called League of the South.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Since the GBD never acknowledged the voices of the people they wanted to lock down, I’ll introduce you to disability-advocate Beatrice Adler-Bolton. She told me:
Their plan immediately tells me that they don’t know a lot of vulnerable people, and they (incorrectly) assume all vulnerable people somehow live out of society and do not work or go to school, or share households with people who work or go to school. The non-workability of a plan like “focused protection” is immediately obvious to people who are vulnerable. We do not all live on a little island together, we do not all live in nursing homes, long term care facilities, and hospitals.
We are all over the place and the GBD’s plan not only clearly was ignorant of this: if it wasn’t then it expects the vulnerable constantly disclose their vulnerability and that broad *collective* interventions like universal masking and vaccination be implemented in every single community that the vulnerable live in to accommodate their status…and spoiler alert that means every community when COVID is circulating in the air we all share.
It turns out, that not all “vulnerable” people were on board with the GBD’s plan to effectively place them under house arrest. Another voice ignored by the GBD, Abby Mahler, a young person with lupus who corrects misinformation about hydroxychloroquine told me about her experience this pandemic. They said:
It has been a nightmare. My entire life has changed; I had to find new employment – leaving behind networks hard built – as well as forgo decades old family traditions, friendships, & medical maintenance for my existing chronic illnesses. Their plan is incongruent with my existence.
The authors of the GBD never asked “vulnerable” people if they were on board with their plan to turn them into shut-ins for months on end, with no backup plan if herd immunity never arrived.
They just wanted to impose their will on tens of millions of vulnerable Americans whether they wanted it or not.