‘Dr. Person Fakename’ among lockdown critics?

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A controversial anti-lockdown declaration and petition whose principal authors and signatories from around the world include four Stanford University doctors has pulled its online signature list following a report that it included dozens of fake names.

Sky News, a British television and online news outlet, reported “Dr. Johnny Bananas” and “Dr. Person Fakename” were among those listed as supporting the online Great Barrington Declaration open letter calling for opening schools and businesses with “focused protection” of the elderly and ill most at risk of COVID-19.

The declaration, hatched this month at the American Institute for Economic Research, a free-market think tank in the western Massachusetts town of Great Barrington, now claims some 40,000 medical scientists and practitioners and more than 450,000 concerned citizens have signed on electronically in support.

But this week, its organizers replaced an online complete list of those who signed on to the declaration with a statement that “we will update this page with a static list of verified and approved signatures as time allows.” The AIER did not respond to questions.

The declaration calls for allowing “those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.” Its three principal authors are Stanford medical professor Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Martin Kulldorff and Oxford University theoretical epidemiology professor Dr. Sunetra Gupta.

Among its 35 identified principal co-signers are three from Stanford, making it among the most represented university affiliations: Dr. Rajiv Bhatia, an assistant professor in clinical care and population health, Dr. Laura Lazzeroni, professor of psychiatry, and Dr. Michael Levitt, a structural biology professor.

Though lockdown criticism isn’t new, the declaration marked the most organized effort to date among health experts around the world who say they are doing more harm than good.

But the declaration also has drawn blistering criticism from other health experts who argue such an approach will only lead to new surges in infections and deaths from the new coronavirus.

Among the most vocal are Dr. Gregg Gonsalves, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Yale Universtity, who questioned on Twitter this week “how many are you willing to sacrifice” for herd immunity. In the Bay Area, Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith and Dr. George Rutherford at the University of California-San Francisco also have criticized the concept.





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