Were COVID lockdowns a deadly mistake? Jay Bhattacharya vs. Sten Vermund

Jay Bhattacharya and Sten Vermund debate the resolution, “Focused protection, as set forth in the Great Barrington Declaration, should be the general principle of public health management of highly infectious respiratory virus pandemics.”

For the affirmative:
Jay Bhattacharya, MD and PhD, is a Professor of Medicine at Stanford University. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economics Research, a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, and at the Stanford Freeman Spogli Institute. His research focuses on the economics of health care around the world with a particular emphasis on the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. His peer-reviewed research has been published in economics, statistics, legal, medical, public health, and health policy journals. He holds an MD and PhD in economics from Stanford University. Dr. Bhattacharya was one of three main co-signatories of the Great Barrington Declaration of October 2020.

For the negative:
Sten Vermund, MD and PhD, is a Professor of Public Health and Pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine. A pediatrician and infectious disease epidemiologist, he has focused on diseases of low and middle income countries. He has become increasingly engaged in health policy, particularly around sustainability of HIV/AIDS programs and their expansion to non-communicable diseases, coronavirus pandemic response and prevention, and public health workforce development. His recent grants include capacity-building for public health in Chad, molecular epidemiology for HIV in Kazakhstan, and COVID-19 vaccine studies in Dominican Republic and Connecticut. He has worked with schools and arts organizations for COVID-19 risk mitigation and institutional safety.

Written by ReasonTV


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  1. I lost one friend. She told me, "It's too bad we can't lock up people who won't get vaccinated… yet."
    Recently she wrote me, "Hey! It feels like a million years! How have you been!"
    She's the one person I've decided to 'break up' with. I consider her dangerous.

  2. Sten's argument is "Central planning wasn't great so you have to tell me how to better centrally plan it next time." He's completely missing the point that the central planning was the problem. Leftists gonna left, they can't help themselves.

  3. Sten offers hand-wringing for "blue collar workers" and says "we really had no other choice." This assumes that the goal was to prevent death/hospitalization due to SARS-Cov-2 and no other death factors matter. The net result is that, due to disruptions in farming and supply chains, many more millions will die of starvation that ever would have died due to the virus.

    He is someone who thinks he's much smarter than he is and believes that he can focus on one particular factor without ignorantly disrupting other factors that are important to public health – ie. food insecurity. If you save 1 million people from dying of the virus and cause 10 million to die of starvation instead, you don't get to call your policies successful or "the only option," simply because you failed to look at/realize/understand that you policies affected and disrupted related processes in your societal ecosphere.

    This is why central planning is always the wrong answer. No matter how smart any one person is, they cannot predict the outcomes of their proposed actions because they are incredibly ignorant when compared to the collective knowledge of all individuals making their own decisions, right or wrong.

    He thinks his idea was best because he thought about it a lot and he's really smart. Implicit in this view, is the assumption that everyone else has not thought about anything. He thinks that the criteria which form the individual's decisions are not valuable considerations. He thinks that if they were valuable, he would have already thought of them. It's an unbelievable hubris and it requires a total lack of humility and respect for "the average person". To him, they are all imbeciles who must be led like sheep by his divine knowledge. It's actually disgusting.

  4. This guy still thinks that ventilators would have helped? They literally assured the patient's death….It's amazing how little he knows given his resume. Real mask-off moment here, folks. The "authorities" really don't know what they're talking about at least half the time.

  5. The refusal of so many pro lockdown prople to admit the glaring reality that they were wrong is annoying. Until we have a truth commission to plainly lay out the reality of their choices, why the choices were made, and who profited, there should be no amnesty.

  6. Vermund is in bad faith, imo. He’s talking early in the fundemic. We knew early on elderly were most vulnerable and outdoors was not only safer but provided Vitamin D and exercise. And Dr B did say how to do focused protection, locally, in creative ways. Dr Bad Faith V.

  7. "Saying lockdowns would have meant less deaths is conspicuously without evidence." Well, idk – the WHO says that lockdowns will lead to a hundred million starving to death. Is there any evidence that the lockdowns saved a hundred million lives worldwide? Because you would need that in order to break even. I started with "Sten is incompetent" but I finished with "Sten is malicious". You simply can't be this ignorant; it's bad-faith argumentation or inconceivable stupidity. I'll go with the former.

  8. Sten – "We had to make stuff up on the fly because we didn't have a plan."
    Also Sten – "We shouldn't make a plan for the future because we don't have enough evidence to know what to do."

  9. Dr V is lying again re: Sweden’s focused protection. Their health minister admitted that they should’ve protected the elderly more, so not sure what he’s talking about pregnant woman for. They’re not the ones who were dying.

  10. Again, Dr Bad Faith V references 2020 Sweden when Dr Jay just said Sweden got that wrong and recommended distancing and voluntary masking. This bad faith bs is precisely why there will be even less compliance in any future pandemic Continuing to double down on failed policies is bad faith.

  11. Sten Vermund is not a very good doctor or friend.

    He watched his friend die and claimed she had no comorbidities. Dr Gita Ramjee was 62 obese, likely high blood pressure, visceral fat and with hyperinsulimia. The fact that he didn't see this is inexcusable for someone pretending to be in public health. She was also apparently an amazing person.

    Hakim was 10 years older than stated, but not visibly unhealthy.

  12. I had hoped to have my beliefs challenged and to learn more about the perspective of lockdown advocates, but instead I learned why trust in the medical system has tanked.

  13. Yale doc… what % of kids who died of covid had comorbid conditions? How did the covid deaths in Sweden and Norway compare looking over the 3 year time frame? What is the population data and age data comparing covid pandemic and 1968 flu? There was no way to brain storm how to protect more vulnerable population? Can we calculate years of life lost? People dying over the age of life expectancy have 0 years life years lost. Years of life lost if the young missing school is astronomical and does not compare.

    Sorry, but Your friends that died in their 60s are not young.

  14. So, the lockdowns, riots, the gov lies, censorship, mask did near nothing save M95, you are just gonna yadayada past that? The deaths and sickness from people who didn't go see their doctor for treatment for regular or scheduled operations and treatments.

  15. I know they were being nice and civil to each other and all that but this debate put my nerves up to 10000% because it never discussed the IMMORALITY and ILLEGALLY of lockdowns. And no, Stan, removing someone who has a confirmed case from a very concentrated group of people is not the same as emprisioning the whole world (both healthy and sick alike) for years on end, collapsing the western civilization in the process.

  16. "Now that we have a vaccine"…"we can approach herd immunity"… Doc a shot that neither stops contraction (has diseases and displays symptoms) nor spread…helps not one bit in acheiving herd immunity. Your vaccine is a therapuetic only.

  17. They keep saying a million people died from covid over the last 2 years but that figure is ridiculous. That's one in 330, meaning everyone would know or at least be acquainted with several people who died from the virus, yet so many people don't know a single person who died from the virus. That figure is nothing more than creative book keeping. When you discount the deaths of people who died after testing positive to covid but succumbed to other causes the numbers drop significantly.

  18. Sweden had weak flu seasons the two winters before C. Norway had stronger ones. Norway lost more people up front to influenza. You'll find this correlation across nations; the ones that had a lot of C deaths tended to have weak 2018/19 and 2019/20 flu seasons. The "dry timber" effect is what it is, and it is very dangerous to nursing homes, with so many people ready to get very ill very easily and spread it to others.

    Dying with C is not necessarily worse than dying with influenza, but belief otherwise is what is driving much of the zero-C madness. The second speaker is talking about the fact that a small number of people are still dying with C in a hospital he is associated with; has he ever considered that these people were in danger of immanent death, anyway? "Zero C deaths" is a totally ridiculous target because excess deaths due to C can drop to normal or even below normal while you are still having C-labeled deaths (a C death is not necessarily an excess one). There will always be people on their way out of life's door just waiting for some pathogen to pinpoint the date of death. They were already dying, though.

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