Some nations successfully controlled the virus, without a vaccine, using science-based measures, acting fast, and having great leaders who followed the science... and there is the United States and the UK who listened to ‘dissident’ scientists and their failed ‘herd immunity’ strategy.


First published in December 2020.


I want to share my thoughts, as someone who has been so alarmed by the so-called ‘dissident’ scientists like Sunetra Gupta, Carl Heneghan, Martin Kulldorff, Jay Bhattacharya, and Ioannidis who consider themselves brave Galileos unfairly treated by “establishment scientists.” I will try not to swear.

I want to talk about three things:

  • Their fringe views are inhumane, unethical junk science that promotes harm;
  • They complain that they have been marginalized but this is simply untrue;
  • I am sick of people telling me we have to “listen to both sides.” There aren’t two sides here.

These ‘dissident’ scientists have consistently downplayed COVID-19, urging policymakers not to take aggressive control measures. They claim it is not a serious threat. Gupta even went on TV saying people under 65 shouldn’t worry about it!

YouTube – Sky News

They have consistently argued that policymakers should just let the virus rip, in an attempt to reach herd immunity by natural infection.

Martin Kulldorff continues to argue for this even now that we have many highly effective, safe vaccines.


We have never controlled a deadly, contagious pandemic before by just letting the virus spread, as this approach kills and disables too many people.

In Manaus, Brazil, 66% of the city was infected and an astonishing 1 in 500 people died of COVID-19.

A city in Brazil where covid-19 ran amok may be a ‘sentinel’ for the rest of the world
So many people have gotten sick in Manaus that researchers say the virus is running out of people to infect.

Gupta, Kulldorff, and Bhattacharya argue that we must let the virus rip while locking away the vulnerable, a grotesque dystopian view.

Here is who you would have to lock away: elderly people; medically vulnerable people; people of color; disabled people.

The White House Wants to Achieve Herd Immunity By Letting the Virus Rip. That is Dangerous and Inhumane.
In response to the rise in cases, now is the time to intensify our proven measures to curb the coronavirus, not to let the virus rip.

Let’s not forget: these authors were funded by corporate interests. It is Merchants of Doubt all over again.

Corporations want to see “opening up of society” and they fund academics to push a pro-corporate view.

Ministry of Defence Funds Man Behind Great Barrington Declaration – Byline Times
Nafeez Ahmed reveals that the secret author of the ‘Herd Immunity’ document is the husband of one of the scientists and has direct connections to fossil fuel interests

Now to the silly notion pushed by these edgy ‘dissident’ scientists that they have faced censorship for being Galileos. OK, this is when I may swear a little bit.

Are you f**king kidding me?

Since the start of the pandemic, every time you turn on your bloody TV, there they are. In fact, they have had the largest megaphone of all: THEIR VIEWS HAVE BEEN ADOPTED IN THE USA BY TRUMP AND IN BRITAIN BY JOHNSON.

Don’t give me your bullshit about how they have been marginalized. Their views ARE Trump policy and Johnson policy.

New York Times, 13 October 2020

The Sunday Times, 13 December 2020

These ‘dissidents’ did all they could to shape Trump’s policies; looking at the cases now in the US, they got what they wanted.

In Scott Atlas, Trump’s coronavirus czar, and in Florida’s governor, they found champions.

Scientists Push Back on Herd-Immunity Approach to Covid-19
Touted by the White House, the Great Barrington Declaration—which calls for ending lockdowns and isolating the vulnerable—is flawed, many scientists say

Time and again, these fringe views BECAME Trump’s policies or Johnson’s policies. So when you say, “Well, debate is important and it is critical to hear all views,” I agree that debate matters but these nihilistic views won the day in US/UK policymaking.

An Elite Group Of Scientists Tried To Warn Trump Against Lockdowns In March
John Ioannidis’s controversial studies claim that the coronavirus isn’t that big a threat. Before the Stanford scientist did any of them, he wanted to take that message to the White House.

There are East Asian and Pacific Rim nations that have controlled the virus, without even a vaccine. They used science-based measures, acted fast, had great leaders. They listened to the WHO and did test/trace/isolate/support. The US and the UK ignored these successes and here we are today.

Last, I cannot tell you how many times I have been scolded and reprimanded for “not giving the Great Barrington Declaration authors serious consideration.” Two Duke professors, for example, told me that academics like me must stay open minded and that universities must show both sides.

I respectfully disagree. THERE AREN’T TWO SIDES. The public health science on pandemic control is established, and nations that followed the science did better, both from a health AND economic view.

Shouldn’t we be basing policy on, um... science?

We need VACCINE herd immunity FFS.🔷


Further Reading:



Professor Gavin Yamey, Associate Director for Policy, Duke Global Health Institute. Professor of the Practice of Global Health and Public Policy. Director, Center for Policy Impact in Global Health.


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[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 18 December 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the author’s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

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