Dr. Jay Bhattacharya on the Need for a COVID Response Truth Commission
The COVID pandemic has been one of the most politically and culturally divisive events in American history. Adding to our woes, the proper approach to scientific inquiry and policy makers’ relationship with the expert class became badly skewed. Once an orthodoxy was declared by the World Health Organization or the Center for Disease Control, government leaders, the mainstream media, and Big Tech circled the wagons to prevent dissenting views from being aired — and even sought to punish those with differing opinions. This included attacking the Great Barrington Declaration — authored by notable epidemiologists, that challenged the efficacy of societal shutdowns and keeping children out of school. Now, with the COVID emergency at an end, two of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration and other notables in medicine have organized the Norfolk Group, calling for a national commission to investigate the country’s response to COVID. One of these experts is Wesley’s guest on this episode of Humanize. Dr. Jay Bhattacharya is a Professor of Health Policy at Stanford University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economics Research. He holds an MD and PhD in economics, both earned at Stanford University, where he directs Stanford’s Center for Demography and Economics of Health and Aging. Dr. Bhattacharya’s recent research focuses on the epidemiology of COVID-19 as well as an evaluation of policy responses to the epidemic. In December 2022, Bhattacharya was appointed by Florida Governor and now presidential candidate Ron DeSantis to the Public Health Integrity Committee, charged with assessing federal decisions, recommendations, and guidance related to public health and health care.