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America reckons with Covid policy

America reckons with Covid policy

Better Outside Despite the Cold: A street scene from New York in February 2021
Photo: EPA

America’s COVID-19 policy is under scrutiny: in court, in politics, and in science. How useful is the shutdown of public life? Many studies provide information.

FifthThree years ago, three scholars, Jay Bhattacharya, Sunetra Gupta, and Martin Kulldorff, published a text called The Great Barrington Declaration. The text, published on October 5, 2020, caused a sensation, especially among experts, because it mainly criticized the political measures to contain the Covid-19 epidemic in the United States and many other countries and, above all, opposed lockdowns. The statement was less popular with the wider public. One possible reason is that the US government’s censorship campaign succeeded in preventing the text from gaining attention on social media.

The accusation of censorship does not arise from conspiracy fiction. In July of this year, a judge in Louisiana issued a temporary restraining order against government entities, barring them from engaging in social media, with only a few exceptions. Two authors of the Great Barrington Declaration and other plaintiffs sued because they saw their freedom of expression restricted under the decree.