Berkeley’s Swartzberg Implicitly Endorses Great Barrington Declaration

How should you protect yourself? Your precautions depend on your age, health and tolerance for risk, said Dr. John Swartzberg of UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

“People have to do their own calculus. If they’re very anxious, they’re going to want to do [sic] comfortable doing less,” he said.

“What’s your situation? Are you 65 or older? Immunocompromised? Do you have pulmonary disease, diabetes, obesity or cardiac disease? In that circumstance, you’re going to want to do more,” he said. “On the other hand, if you’re 30-something, in great health and boosted, you might not need to do very much.”

But remember others, he added. When gathering, plan how you’ll protect the person who is most vulnerable or most anxious.

This is from Lisa M. Krueger, “Expert advice on how to get through our fourth wave,” San Jose Mercury News, reprinted in Monterey County Herald, December 19, 2021.

These suggestions are quite sensible and they track the recommendations in the Great Barrington Declaration.

Of course, critics of my post will point out a big difference: these recommendations, as the last sentence of the second last quoted paragraph above reminds us, are for a post-vaccine world whereas the GBH came out well before the FDA allowed us to have the vaccines.

Still, it would be interesting to ask Dr. Swartzberg if his advice would have been any different in April 2020, by which time we knew just how little risk young healthy people were facing from COVID-19.