The declaration was drawn up at the American Institute for Economic Research, a right-leaning organisation in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, that promotes individual rights, small government and open markets. It registered a web domain for the document.
“We know that immunity to coronaviruses wanes over time and reinfection is possible, so lasting protection of vulnerable individuals by establishing herd immunity is very unlikely to be achieved in the absence of a vaccine,” said Rupert Beale, a group leader at the Francis Crick Institute in London. He called the declaration “wishful thinking”, not least because it is impossible to fully identify who is vulnerable and it is not possible to fully protect them.
Infection rates in the UK reveal that as new cases rise in one age group, they spill over into older groups, and from there drive up numbers of people in hospital and, ultimately, deaths. “Individual scientists may reasonably disagree about the relative merits of various interventions, but they must be honest about the feasibility of what they propose,” Beale said.