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Collins Confronted About Calling Great Barrington Declaration Authors ‘Fringe Epidemiologists’

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Outgoing National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins stood by his email referring to the authors of The Great Barrington Declaration as “fringe epidemiologists,” despite credentials from Oxford, Harvard, and Stanford.


The Oct. 4, 2020 declaration called for Focused Protection instead of lockdown policies, which the authors argued lead to “devastating effects on short and long-term public health.”

“The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow 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,” the wrote. “Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19.”

In an email to Dr. Anthony Fauci and others at NIH, Collins said “there needs to be a quick and devastating published take down of its premises.”

He noted that the declaration is “getting a lot of attention – and even a co-signature from Nobel Prize winner Mike Leavitt at Stanford.”


On “Fox News Sunday,” Bret Baier asked him about that email and if he stood by it.

Not only did he double down on calling the authors "fringe epidemiologists who really did not have the credentials to be making such a grand sweeping statement," he said "hundreds of thousands of people would have died if we followed that strategy."

Stanford University Medical School professor Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, one of the declaration's authors, responded to Collins's interview.


Bhattacharya concluded that the interview with Baier "marks a sad end to an illustrious career" and that Fauci should retire with him. "They have done enough damage." 

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