Content of the article continued
Despite the heroic efforts of the public, the nine-month lockdown and contact tracing strategy has tragically failed older Canadians, with 97% of COVID-19 deaths inflicting on people over the age of 60. wealthy professionals to the less affluent working class.
For example, in Toronto, incidence rates were the same at the start of the pandemic, but after the March 23 lockdowns detected cases declined in affluent neighborhoods as they skyrocketed in less affluent areas. A similar effect was subsequently observed for mortality (see figure).
While it is impossible to protect anyone 100% during a pandemic, the idea that we cannot better protect the elderly and other high-risk groups is absurd. Protecting the elderly is no more difficult than protecting the wealthy, and the former result in fewer deaths.
The lockdowns generated huge collateral damage to other health outcomes, such as falling childhood immunization rates, worse cardiovascular disease outcomes, less cancer screening and deteriorating mental health, for n to name a few. Even though all locks are lifted tomorrow, it’s something we will have to live with – and die with – for many years to come.
One of the basic principles of public health is to consider all health outcomes, not just a single disease. After throwing this principle out the window, we urgently need to bring it back to minimize mortality and maximize overall health and well-being.
Martin Kulldorff is a biostatistician, epidemiologist and professor of medicine at Harvard University. Sunetra Gupta is an epidemiologist and professor at the University of Oxford. They are both the primary authors of the Great Barrington Declaration.