Dr. Jay Bhattacharya on Our COVID Response

The Stanford professor and Great Barrington Declaration coauthor stands up to COVID-19 autocrats and disastrous lockdowns by following the science.
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On October 4, 2020, when COVID-19 was raging, American schools were mostly shuttered, and vaccines were believed to be years away, a team of top researchers at the world’s most prestigious universities—including Stanford’s Jay Bhattacharya, Harvard’s Martin Kulldorff, and Oxford’s Sunetra Gupta—published the Great Barrington Declaration, a controversial open letter challenging the official U.S. response of lockdowns and government control of ever-larger parts of the economy and everyday life.

Recognizing that COVID overwhelmingly affected elderly Americans and others with specific, identifiable health conditions, they called for a policy of “focused protection,” in which the vulnerable would be kept safe and the rest of us, especially children and young adults, would be able to get on with our lives.

The response at the very highest levels of government was quick and draconian. Francis Collins, then the director of the National Institutes of Health, wrote a private email to presidential chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci, which was later obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, denouncing Bhattacharya, Kulldorff, and Gupta as “fringe epidemiologists” who deserved to be the subject of a media “takedown.”

“Big tech outlets like Facebook and Google followed suit, suppressing our ideas, falsely deeming them ‘misinformation,’ says Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford who also holds a Ph.D. in economics. “I started getting calls from reporters asking me why I wanted to ‘let the virus rip,’ when I had proposed nothing of the sort. I was the target of racist attacks and death threats.”

I sat down with Bhattacharya to talk about what it was like to be at the very center of an official effort to suppress heterodox thinking about the pandemic, why he believes he and his Great Barrington Declaration co-authors have been vindicated, and whether the public health establishment can ever recover from ongoing revelations of incompetence, malfeasance, and politically motivated decision-making. He also discusses how the centralization of science funding encourages dangerous groupthink, why he believes in mRNA vaccines but remains staunchly anti-mandate, and why he stopped wearing masks a long time ago.

Interview by Nick Gillespie; edited by Adam Czarnecki.

Photo: CNP/AdMedia/Newscom;; Stefani Reynolds – Pool via CNP/MEGA/Newscom; CNP/AdMedia/SIPA/Newscom

Written by ReasonTV


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  1. I knew that supposed "experts" were idiots when the garden area of Lowe's was closed because it wasn't deemed "essential". Plus it made everyone pack into a smaller area, making people more likely to spread it. "Yay Science"

  2. What nonsense. Ca response threw millions of isolated & vulnerable home bound In Home Services patients without help at all. Now the state is stealing homes. The chaos behind the scenes, demonic.

  3. Child vs. Adult: Based on medical lectures (since de-platformed by YouTube and others), children don't have very many Ace 2 receptors, which the virus seeks to use for replication (I'm not a doctor, and I heard this a year ago, so correct me if my memory is off). This is probably why children have lower viral loads and better outcomes. The number of receptors may affect the rate of long-haul symptoms and vaccine injury from the immune responses, too.

    Better outcomes in parts of Asia may have a lot to do with their exposure to sunlight (helps Vitamin D and increases a powerful antioxidant, melatonin, inside cells), and because ivermectin is in common use for parasites and malaria. Additionally, a medical authority in Japan suggested that doctors use ivermectin to treat the disease and prevent the viral load, so their death-rate plummeted.

    Did you hear the story about the chain of nursing homes where the death rates were high among the patients, and infection high among the staff, but there was one home in the chain where the patients were being treated for scabies outbreak using ivermectin, and at that home, only the staff got sick?

    How about the psychiatric hospital where the staff got sick, but the patients didn't? That's where the idea to use anti-depressant medications against COVID got its start. People on Prozac didn't get sick because the virus receptors where already occupied.

    Despite the propaganda campaign, some doctors and some countries did not wait for elected officials and government employees to issue health advice and mandates, and they relied on what worked for previous cold viruses (e.g., Listerine, Vicks Vaporub, melatonin, zinc, vitamins, sunshine, nigella sativa), and promising off-label use of approved, safe, non-experimental drugs, based on chemistry, observation, and experience.

    Early treatment was key, and it was banned by government officialdom. Those places that ignored them and looked for what worked with SARS 1 and other corona viruses (colds), or that could stop viral replication in general, or support the immune system, did much better with lower death rates.

    Some treatments are cheap, readily available, safe, effective, and their manufacturers don't ask to be protected from lawsuit. Some products are pushed or mandated, very, very, expensive, and their manufacturers protected from lawsuits. That would never happen in a free market.

  4. The federal government deserves the vote of no confidence most of us have of them. I firmly believe their actions on COVID were NOT a mistake but rather was a cold, calculated plan! Sad that we will NEVER know the true numbers because of the massive misdiagnosing that went on all across the US. There is a lot of blame to go around and ALL these people and entities that contributed to the lies should be held 100% accountable!

  5. Excellent interview. I continue to seethe over the non-scientific way our federal government, and my state government (gov G. N), “managed” the pandemic. It was a pleasure to hear a rational scientist express reality.

  6. Excellent interview Nick! The guy is not for freedom. He is like Faucci and the gang. Only this time he was on the losing side. And like the cardinals of the Holy Inquisition, today the two gangs are debating who has the more pure of hearts, of who is the holy vessel of the One Science.

  7. The blame for the lockdowns lies with the blue states. Florida did not do it.

    Fun fact: Gov Newsom still have not given up his covid emergency powers. He vows not until covid is eradicated.

  8. As much respect as I have for this man, his opinions and his intelligence, his victimization comes as the premise of his own belief system. Having pity for an authorative politcian is begging to punished by them. He's apologetic to someone who's policies have inflicted
    severe harm into his life.

  9. I worked at an architecture firm in NYC in 2020. I remember suggesting early on that we meet with our mechanical engineers and discuss how to oversize ventilation systems, add filtering, etc. for our projects. It was obvious- even back then- that fresh air was key, as no one was catching this outside. Of course I was ignored, and my clueless boss went around town talking about social distancing, plexi separators, and hand sanitizers.

  10. Excuse me but pro abortion is not my body my choice. How a fetus is women’s body? What a nonsense! Your choice was: should I have sex or not and One should have considered having an ill kid as a consequence or their selfish boyfriend leaving them…🤦🏼‍♀️
    And by the way when kidney or your brain or liver is there for you, uterus isn’t!
    Therefore the true “my body my choice” will not be accepted regarding vaccines by the same people screaming it out in the pro abortion argument!

  11. Very thoughtful and informative interview. Much of what was presented was evidenced throughout the last two years however each of us had to navigate the three ring circus that was politically driven and clouded the judgment of otherwise intelligent and rational people.

  12. You can't blame the covid response for people not being willing to take an mRNA shot. That trust was correctly lost decades ago.
    I never said I would never take an mRNA shot, but I said it would require about 15 years of wide spread adoption before I would take something whose benefit was low and whose risk was incalculable.
    So if tomorrow I was diagnosed with a dangerous form of cancer and the next day they come out with a new drug with no long term data, now the calculus is different.
    So stop pretending like all of us who won't take a novel treatment are just paranoid of dangerous science. We have accurately calculated that an unknown risk level is not worth a reduced severity of disease if we are young-ish and healthy-ish.
    Your math as no-longer spring chickens is NOT universally applicable.

  13. Sorry but there was not enough profit in focused protection. The pharmaceutical companies OWN medicine and from their standpoint human health is secondary to the possibility of massive monetary gain. This is the sad reality but is to be completely expected under the Capitalist model.

  14. I have wondered how you would protect the vulnerable while everyone else carried on with their lives. That could never work, that is why this declaration was a nonsense from the outset. Also, long covid has never even factored into the equation.

  15. Dr. J is now somewhat "10 minutes ago". He is still talking about lockdowns being harmful. Well, we figured that out, guy. Dr. J is not exactly flogging a dead horse but it's certainly a horse that isn't doing very well. Also, he's talking about things that are safe to talk about. Lockdowns being harmful, for example. And I'm sure he feels he deserves a victory lap or two for The Great Barrington Declaration. Yes, he surely does deserve this, along with Drs. Kulldorf and Gupta and many others. Apologies if I misspell. But there remain incredibly important issues that Dr. J is not addressing while he's taking his victory laps.

    He's not addressing, for instance, a possible overfocus on vaccines as our future medical saviors. This is a big issue with very broad scope. I'll just say, and this being just the tip of the iceberg, that I believe we are being set up, by Big Pharma, to expect an mRNA vaccine to be our first response to any future pandemic similar to the covid-19 pandemic. Why? Because such vaccines make billions – likely trillions – for Big Pharma and associated super wealthy interests.

    But, why not? Because of an estimated 80% excess deaths resulting from our overly vaccine-centric response to the covid-19 pandemic. We waited and waited for the promised vaccines, during which time hundreds of thousands in the USA died, and then these vaccines did appear but underperformed horribly, in every possible way, while we were told exactly otherwise, and meanwhile hundreds of thousands more died and continue to die.

    So, one issue about which we should be very concerned is that the public apparently is being prepped for more of the same in a "new and improved" kind of marketing scheme. Sure. New and improved (but not really) to us but it will be the same old billions to Big Pharma and associated super wealthy interests. And, I have no doubt, the same old excess deaths.

    In any case, we should now be looking back on The Great Barrington Declaration in a "Great work! But what have you done for me lately?" kind of way. Sure, victory lap and well deserved "Huzzahs!" all round. Now start being useful again. Back on your feet, soldier! The war is far from over!

  16. When covid started I was 57 years old I've had severe asthma for my entire life I've had pneumonia twice in the last 30 years that required hospitalization and was life-threatening and I was doing doordash deliveries and instacart deliveries from March 1st 2020 until December 31st 2021 I only had 32 days off I took vitamin D zinc I got exercise I got covid in January of 2021 I had two hydroxychloroquine and a z-pack and I was sick for 36 hours

  17. Children's educational loss is to me the biggest tragedy to come from our response to covid. I'm an American living in the Philippines, kids here are going back to school just now, more than 2 years of virtually no schooling. This is a place where the majority of people can't do simple arithmetic, do not understand the germ theory of disease and forget about the sciences chemistry, physics, geology (many people here couldn't even name the sciences much less tell you what they study) etc. It had been getting better, it is scary to think about how a 2 year gap will impact these young peoples future. We really need to get the politics out of public health.

  18. You can clearly tell by Satellite Imagery, Flight Logs, PPE Shipments being rerouted back to China, and the CCP's outright Lies and 'Disappearings', that the Chinese Government Spread (and presumably leaked) Covid 19 INTENTIONALLY.
    …So, with them having received ZERO Disincentive to do it again. And with The "Experts", the "Authorities", Bureaucrats and Politicians at every single level of government taking this opportunity to completely destroy the majority of peoples' faith in their judgment, competency, and motives… I remember a special somebody being called a "RaCiSt!" and a "xEnOpHoBe!" by the people that are now in charge, for simply suspending flights from China during the height of the pandemic!
    …My serious question is this…
    What in theeeee F*CK! are we going to do when our gracious friends in the CCP do the same thing with EBOLA NEXT TIME??

    …..I'm ALL EARS…🦻👂

  19. Holding those responsible for the debacle that was our government's immoral and catastrophic response to COVID would result in the prosecution of so many high level officials within the Deep State, like Collins and Fauci, that it will NEVER HAPPEN. The Deep State is our real government, and they protect their own. We now live in a totally upside down world, and Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court are their puppets. The same thing happened in 2008 with the financial crisis.

  20. Bhattacharya was extremely gracious. Collins is shown as despicable at 0:55. According to Collins, Bhattacharya is a fringe epidemiologist and deserved to be devastatingly taken down. Bhattacharya at 28:38 says that that was disappointing.
    Kudos in the extreme to Bhattacharya. Shame on Collins.

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