COVID-19 is proven to only seriously affect the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, said the letter, which was signed by more than 12,000 experts.
Everyone else who catches the virus recovers normally. However, keeping everyone in lockdown has disastrous health consequences that will be hard to remedy, the experts explained.
“Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” it said.
Among the negative health consequences they listed are:
- lower childhood vaccination rates
- worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes
- fewer cancer screenings
- deteriorating mental health
These will lead to “greater excess mortality in years to come,” they said, “with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden.”
On top of the alarming health effects, other concerns impact the longterm well-being in more intangible ways. “Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice,” they wrote.
Until a vaccine is developed, the best way to fight the coronavirus is to develop “herd immunity,” the letter said, by allowing the virus to run its course in the short term while shifting the focus of prevention efforts to those for whom it poses a serious threat.
That means allowing low-risk individuals to return to their everyday normal lives: Young adults should go back to work, children should go back to school, and healthy individuals should be allowed to socialize as they normally would.
“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 letter said. “We call this Focused Protection.”
Meanwhile, with the November election mere weeks away, several Democratic-controlled states, such as California and New York, have sought to tighten restrictions—ostensibly to prevent an uptick in positive cases.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is under fire for cracking down on the state’s Jewish communities, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom faced criticism from Disney and other large companies for refusing to allow certain industries to reopen.