The problem with the Great Barrington declaration is that it is unrealistic and unimplementable. Society is not made up of discrete age and morbidity defined isolatable sections, whose path is distinct from that of schoolchildren and workers. Society is a mixture of all those people and there is no neat division. The support systems are highly interdependent. Also how should ‘vulnerable’ groups be defined and what proportion of the population will that be? If you add up those above 60 years old, those with diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure and obesity you will end up with about at least a quarter of the population.
The problem as I see it, for what it is worth, is that the approach taken, even by the so called scientific community, has given prominence to theoreticians, which to a great extent the prominent voices in SAGE are, mathematical modelers and not jobbing public health specialists who are in touch with the real world. The problem of disease modeling is that it depends so much on the robustness of data, something which was lacking at the outset of this pandemic. The old school of dealing with pandemics was a set of rules where the sources of infection were strictly isolated by all means. This means, closure of the borders, and proper isolation of all those infected, even if they were asymptomatic. The approach of this government and of many western governments was to discard the tried and tested methods for a much less ‘repressive approach, whereas other countries relied on traditional public health measures, notably China, South Korea and Singapore.
In the West, public health does not receive the prominence it should and is a Cinderella specialism. THe present mess should alert the authorities to reverse this trend.