White House officials have promoted a declaration supporting herd immunity that has reportedly been signed by fake names, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
In a Monday phone call, White House officials cited the Great Barrington Declaration, which argues that the government should push for herd immunity with more infections among the healthy population, according to two senior administration officials.
Supporters of the declaration use it to argue against lockdowns and more reopenings during the pandemic.
“Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” the declaration states.
“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.”
The declaration has been signed by 445,902 concerned citizens, 9,510 medical and public health scientists and 25,049 medical practitioners, according to its website. But Sky News found last week that dozens of fake names had signed the document, including Dr. I.P. Freely, Dr. Person Fakename and Dr. Johnny Bananas.
Another signatory called himself Dr. Harold Shipman, a general practitioner in the United Kingdom. In 1998, a man named Harold Shipman was arrested after killing more than 200 of his patients.
The declaration was also signed by at least 18 self-declared homeopaths who signed as medical practitioners and 100 therapists, including massage therapists, hypnotherapists and psychotherapists.
Several health experts expressed concerns that the declaration is misrepresenting the size of the medical community’s support for the herd immunity approach, according to Sky News.
Experts predict that 85 to 90 percent of the U.S. population has not developed coronavirus antibodies to fight the virus, countering the argument that the U.S. has reached or is close to reaching herd immunity, according to the Times.
In the past, herd immunity has been achieved with a vaccine, but the Great Barrington Declaration advocates using infections among young, healthy people, instead of elderly or vulnerable people, to reach immunity.
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