THE DEMAND for capitalism to ‘reopen’ under the umbrella of the discredited theory that herd immunity is the only way to combat coronavirus has intensified this week with the publication of the Great Barrington Declaration.
This ‘declaration’, named after the US town where it was drawn up, argues for the immediate ending of lockdown and a return to ‘normal living’.
The declaration argues that lockdown policies are ‘producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health’ and makes the unproven claim that 75,000 people could die from non-Covid-19 causes if lockdown measures aren’t abandoned.
It openly champions herd immunity, ie treating human beings like cattle. In an effort to avoid accusations that the new strategy they are advocating will inevitably entail the deaths of millions of people across the globe these scientists insist that this is really ‘compassionate’.
They write: ‘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.’
Focused Protection could well turn out to be prison camps for the unfit and elderly!
The Barrington Declaration was met with a swift rebuttal from other leading scientists who described the idea of ‘focused protection’ as ‘wishful thinking’.
Dr Rupert Beale, group leader of the cell biology of infection laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute said: ‘This declaration prioritises just one aspect of a sensible strategy – protecting the vulnerable – and suggests we can safely build up “herd immunity” in the rest of the population. This is wishful thinking. It is not possible to fully identify vulnerable individuals, and it is not possible to fully isolate them.’
That is unless you follow the example that we saw in Nazi Germany. He added: ‘“Herd immunity” is very unlikely to be achieved in the absence of a vaccine.’
In fact, this declaration ignores the scientific consensus that herd immunity is impossible to achieve unless over 80% of the population are infected with the inevitable loss of many millions of lives, especially amongst the elderly and poor who have recorded the biggest number of deaths so far.
It is also noticeable that the declaration makes no mention of tracing and testing considered to be one of the most effective means of containing the spread of Covid-19.
All this hasn’t stopped it being greeted with enthusiasm in the right wing press in Britain with The Daily Telegraph featuring it prominently along with articles claiming that lockdown, social distancing and school closures cost more lives than if Covid-19 had been allowed to spread unchecked.
These claims are based on computer ‘simulations’ made by the University of Edinburgh. Both the declaration and the computer simulations are being used by the capitalist class to attack even the partial lockdown introduced by Tory leader Boris Johnson.
They represent a stepping up of the drive to force workers and young people back to work for the profit of the bosses, at any cost, and to try and prevent British capitalism from total economic collapse.
As far as the capitalist class is concerned the deaths of millions of elderly and the infirm count for nothing – after all they are past the age where their labour can be exploited for profit.
Herd immunity is the barbaric face of a bankrupt capitalist system that understands that it only has a future if a ruthless policy of the survival of the fittest, and the scrapping of the sick, the old and the infirm is followed, against all ideas of the advance of science and human progress.
The way to halt the spread of Covid-19 is for the most stringent lockdown accompanied by paying the full wages of all those workers and youth affected until such time as a vaccine becomes available.
Capitalism, which places profit above lives, is not prepared to pay this cost. It’s time is up. It must be smashed and replaced by a socialist system that provides for the health needs of every worker and every, youth.
Forward to the British socialist revolution!