Shelly Berkowitz, MD: Columnist pushes ‘pseudo-scientific’ fraud

Published: 1/1/2021 6:21:00 AM
Modified: 1/1/2021 6:20:48 AM

While I applaud the Gazette’s commitment to the First Amendment right to free speech, as a physician in Northampton living and working in the midst of the pandemic, I feel obliged to respond to Therese Soukar Chehade’s guest column, “COVID Wars,” published on Dec. 22.

While it has the calm tone and measured rhetoric that might lead casual readers to believe that they are considering a reasonable perspective, they most surely are not. Advocating for people in the U.S. to value the Swedish approach to the pandemic is a little like selling hydrogen for dirigibles the day after the Hindenburg crashed and burned in 1937.

Soukar Chehade seems to be unaware that the Swedish “experiment” has been universally recognized as a crushing failure and that the Swedish government has abandoned this disastrous policy of seeking “herd immunity,” and has issued COVID restrictions that are in line with most European COVID responses.

Sweden’s immediate Scandinavian neighbors — Norway and Finland — have COVID death rates that are 8-10 times lower than Sweden’s catastrophic pandemic carnage.

It is seriously irresponsible for Ms. Soukar Chehade to be touting “The Great Barrington Declaration,” at the same moment when Northampton Mayor David Narkowicz is appropriately urging all persons to avoid social risks over the holidays. The Great Barrington Declaration is pseudo scientific fraud, funded by fossil fuel billionaire, Charles Koch, who has historically perpetrated fake science to deny man-made climate change on behalf of the oil industry. This disgraceful document has been enthusiastically endorsed by Trump and his followers to justify their resistance against COVID mitigation.

Dr. Fauci called The Great Barrington Declaration , “ridiculous,” “total nonsense,” “very dangerous,” and warned that it would lead to avoidable deaths. Hopefully, Gazette readers have been skeptical of Ms. Soukar Chehade’s opinion.

Shelly Berkowitz, MD



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