LOCKDOWNS have protected affluent professionals at the expense of working class people, the UK professor who helped in Florida’s successful restriction-free fight against Covid has said.
Professor Sunetra Gupta has been part of a team whose “focused protection approach” (i.e., selective quarantine as Savage has promoted all along!) was adopted by the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis.
Oxord’s professor Gupta and colleagues had briefed Prime Minister Boris Johnson in September last year and advised a similar focused protection approach. However, rising infection rates led to the decision to a lockdown in November, before a second, fuller lockdown was imposed in January.
Florida took a different approach and had already started to remove restrictions in May last year. It has one of the lowest mortality rates in America.
Professor Gupta said: “Florida’s covid mortality rate has been significantly below the US average and protecting vulnerable groups saved lives.
“In contrast the UK lockdowns allowed the virus to rip through vulnerable groups including poor people and older people at the expense of the affluent ‘zoom’ classes who have been able to order food and goods online for other people to take the risk they didn’t want to take in order to deliver to them.”
Florida Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, had also consulted with professors Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, from Stanford and Harvard. The pair, along with Prof Gupta, were the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, which called for the focused protection approach.
The trio also met the US health secretary Alex Azar in October 2020, arguing country’s can safely achieve widespread immunity to coronavirus by allowing it to spread among healthy people.
However their Great Barrington Declaration was widely attacked at the time of its publication, and in March US President Joe Biden criticised the lifting of mask and social distancing requirements as “Neanderthal thinking” when Texas and Mississippi followed Florida’s lead in relaxing rules.
However the authors say Florida shows the approach was the right one.
In one roundtable meeting with Professor Gupta last March DeSantis thanked Professor Gupta and the other advisors for their work and justified why restrictions were removed, including the repayment of fines for all earlier breaches of covid social distancing and mask mandates.
He said: “People are starting to acknowledge – and they were not willing to do this for a long time – that Florida’s strategy of focused protection has meant there are forty states in the US that have higher covid mortality than we do and we have many more over 65’s than most states.
“Public health…. includes mental health and stress. The negative impact of lockdowns….will be catalogued for years to come.”