The Quarantine of Healthy Populations

Aaron Kheriaty

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Dr. Bhattacharya turned his attention to the epidemiology of the virus and the effects of lockdown policies. He was one of three co- authors—along with Martin Kulldorff of Stanford and Sunetra Gupta of Oxford—of the Great Barrington Declaration. Many more lives would have been saved, and much misery avoided, had we followed the time-tested public health principles laid out in this document. Jay is professor of health policy at Stanford and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. in economics at Stanford.

… From the lepers in the Old Testament to the Plague of Justinian in Ancient Rome to the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, covid represents the first time ever in the history of managing pandemics that we quarantined healthy populations. While the ancients did not understand the mechanisms of infectious disease—they knew nothing of viruses and bacteria—they nevertheless figured out many ways to mitigate the spread of contagion during epidemics. These time-tested measures ranged from isolating the symptomatic to enlisting those with natural immunity, who had recovered from the illness, to care for the sick.

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