closed sign in story window
research
November 3, 2020

Polsky Hosts Webinar on ‘Herd Immunity vs. Lockdown’ Debate

Why it matters:

Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Economics Daniel Polsky of the Carey Business School served as host of a Johns Hopkins webinar that addressed whether the response to the COVID-19 pandemic should be a further lockdown of society or a wider opening of public institutions to promote herd immunity.

Article Highlights

  • Panel includes experts from Johns Hopkins and Stanford University.
  • Discussion examines pros and cons of Great Barrington Declaration and John Snow Memorandum.
  • Event is latest entry in a Johns Hopkins webinar series examining evidence-based decision making for COVID-19.

COVID-19: Business and Economic Impact

Read the latest news and commentary from our faculty experts.

Learn more

A recent Johns Hopkins webinar, organized by the Hopkins Business of Health Initiative, addressed whether the response to the COVID-19 pandemic should be a further lockdown of society or a wider opening of public institutions to promote herd immunity.

The October 30 event was hosted by Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Economics Daniel Polsky of the Carey Business School.

 

The participants also included three epidemiologists from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health – Colleen Hanrahan, David Dowdy, and Stefan Baral – as well as Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Hanrahan served as moderator, posing questions to Dowdy, Baral, and Bhattacharya.

Bhattacharya is one of three co-authors, with public health experts from Harvard and Oxford universities, of the Great Barrington Declaration. Issued in early October, the document states, “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. We call this Focused Protection.” 

“The crisis of this pandemic has brought different groups to the table as never before, as we seek the best path forward through unprecedented challenges.”

Daniel Polsky, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Economics

What to Read Next

The webinar panel weighed the pros and cons of both the Great Barrington Declaration and the John Snow Memorandum, a letter published in mid-October in The Lancet and since signed by thousands of scientists, researchers, and health care professionals. The Snow document argues against a herd-immunity approach as suggested in the Great Barrington Declaration.

The webinar, titled “Locking Down or Opening Up? A debate on the best path through the pandemic, discussing the John Snow Memorandum and the Great Barrington Declaration,” can be viewed here. It is the latest entry in a Johns Hopkins webinar series examining evidence-based decision making for COVID-19.

“The crisis of this pandemic has brought different groups to the table as never before, as we seek the best path forward through unprecedented challenges,” Polsky said at the start of the October 30 webinar, which was remotely attended by more than 500 people.

In addition to his affiliation with the Carey Business School, Polsky serves on the faculty of the Bloomberg School of Public Health. He also is the director of the Hopkins Business of Health Initiative, whose mission is “advancing the health of the nation and its communities through a U.S. health system driven by value, affordability, and equity.”

Bloomberg Distinguished Professor

Daniel Polsky, PhD

Daniel Polsky is the 40th Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Health Economics at Johns Hopkins University. He holds joint appointments in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Carey Business School. Dr. Polsky, a national leader in the field of health policy and economics, has dedicated his career to exploring how health care is organized, managed, financed, and delivered, especially for low-income people. His most recent work focuses on how to provide access to quality health care in low-resource settings with a particular interest in narrow provider networks.

Media Inquiry

Media queries should be directed to Timothy Parsons at parson1@jhu.edu or Patrick Ercolano at pae@jhu.edu

Discover Related Content