President Trump got plenty of flak when he left the hospital and urged the nation, "Don't be afraid of COVID. Don't let it dominate your life." The liberal media called it insensitive and irresponsible, but a growing chorus of scientists and doctors say he's right. The worst thing we can do as a nation is to hide out in fear of the pandemic.
As many as 15,000 experts from countries all over the world are taking the message that the international media won't share directly to the people in a new document called The Great Barrington Declaration. Together, doctors from Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford Universities are leading the charge to break through the press's noise and tell the people the truth about the disastrous consequences of government lockdown policies. It's time, experts on the Right and Left argue, for more people to "live their lives normally [and] build up immunity through natural infection."
"The fear that has gripped our society has everybody in hiding," Dr. Andrew Bostom from Brown University said on "Washington Watch" Thursday. All of this, he says, is "counter to traditional epidemiologic understandings." When doctors tackled smallpox, doing their best to eradicate it everywhere, they were very opposed to lockdowns and coercive masking. Why? "Because [the lead physician in particular, D.A. Henderson] just felt they did not work."
Obviously, it's a whole different ballgame if and when there's a vaccine. But until then, whatever benefits there are from hiding out in our caves is far outweighed by the physical, economic, and health harms. In the end, Dr. Bostom explained, they don't reduce the overall number of infections. "And by delaying the ability of these less vulnerable segment of the population to develop herd immunity, it makes them more dangerous to the truly vulnerable. See, the beauty of herd immunity is that once a person develops herd immunity, obviously they're immune to reinfection themselves or if they get reinfected, it's a very mild infection. But they're much less likely to transmit the disease."
We've already witnessed some of the negative effects of these policies, the Declaration points out, from the lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings, and deteriorating mental health -- which all lead to greater mortality in years to come. Now, it's important to note that these doctors do recognize that there are segments of the population who are at a higher risk -- and we do need to take action to protect them. But everyone else who is in a less susceptible category should take the necessary precautions but go about life as normally as they can. Too many people, Dr. Bostom says, have been listening to the media and fear-mongering models at the very beginning of this crisis, especially. "These cataclysmic scenarios just got too much attention."
And look at what's happened since some of these vital institutions -- like churches -- have been shuttered. There's social instability, lawlessness on our streets, civil unrest -- and I would argue that there's a connection to that. It's part of the reason that we're hosting Freedom Sunday 2020 this coming Sunday at California's Calvary Chapel, Chino Hills. We want to address this, along with faith leaders like John MacArthur, Dr. Albert Mohler, Eric Metaxas, Rob McCoy and several others. It's important to make the case for why churches need to meet. And not only does scripture demand it, we now have the social and medical sciences supporting it. America is fraying at the edges, and part of the reason is because churches haven't been meeting.
As FRC's David Closson explained on Thursday's show, 99.9 percent of churches were told to cease in-person gatherings at the beginning of this pandemic. And they did. But now, as other things start to reopen -- the liquor stores, casinos, abortion clinics -- local authorities are still barring people from the sanctuary door. Here we are, filling airplanes with people sitting elbow-to-elbow for hours, but we won't let Christians sit distanced in a church for 90 minutes. The hypocrisy and double standards are maddening.
Amazingly, Scripture speaks to all of this. Not only does it address diseases and quarantining, but the Bible is clear that we are supposed to gather, as David said, "for preaching and teaching and the ordinances. And when someone tells congregations that they can't meet, that's not only unfair and unconstitutional -- it's unbiblical." That's what we'll be underscoring this coming Sunday, October 11, and we encourage you to tune in and watch at 8pm (ET)/5pm (PT).