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Twelve Forgotten Principles of Public Health

Martin Kulldorff  is a professor at the prestigious Harvard Medical School , and one of the initiators of the "Great Barrington Declaration". He reminds of common sense rules for managing epidemics.

Twelve Forgotten Principles of Public Health

by Martin Kulldorff

  1. Public health is about all health outcomes, not just a single disease like COVID19. It is important to also consider harms from public health measures.
    Collateral global - A regular publication analysing the global impact of COVID-19 restrictions 

  2. Public health is about the long term rather than the short term. Spring COVID19 lockdowns simply delayed and postponed the pandemic to the fall.
    The invisible pandemic 

  3. Public health is about everyone. It should not be used to shift the burden of disease from the affluent to the less affluent, as the COVID19 lockdowns have done(1).
    Canada's COVID-19 strategy is an assault on the working class 

  4. Public health is global. Public health scientists need to consider the global impact of their recommendations.
    Virus-linked hunger tied to 10,000 child deaths each month 

  5. Risks and harms cannot be completely eliminated, but they can be reduced. Elimination and zero-COVID strategies backfire, making things worse.
    Quarantine Fatigue Is Real 

  6. Public health should focus on high-risk populations. For COVID19, many standard public health measures were never used to protect high-risk older people, leading to unnecessary deaths.
    We Should Focus on Protecting the Vulnerable from COVID Infection 

  7. While contact tracing and isolation is critically important for some infectious diseases, it is futile and counterproductive for common infections such as influenza and COVID19.
    On the Futility of Contact Tracing 

  8. A case is only a case if a person is sick. Mass testing asymptomatic individuals is harmful to public health.
    The Case Against Covid Tests for the Young and Healthy 

  9. Public health is about trust. To gain the trust of the public, public health officials and the media must be honest and trust the public. Shaming and fear should never be used in a pandemic.
    Facts — not fear — will stop the pandemic 

  10. Public health scientists and officials must be honest with what is not known. For example, epidemic models should be run with the whole range of plausible input parameters.
    As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data 

  11. In public health, open civilized debate is profoundly critical. Censoring, silencing and smearing leads to fear of speaking, herd thinking and distrust.
    The COVID Science Wars - Shutting down scientific debate is hurting the public health 

  12. It is important for public health scientists and officials to listen to the public, who are living the public health consequences. This pandemic has proved that many non-epidemiologists understand public health better than some epidemiologists.

(1) when the wealthy were allowed to work home while the poorer delivered them meals

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