Dr. Jay Bhattacharya on COVID-19 as One of the Most Divisive Events in American History
The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most politically and culturally divisive events in American history. Which seems odd. Usually, a universal external threat unites societies and rallies populations to focus on the common foe. Instead, American society fractured into different tribes, which often coincided with our preexisting political factionalism.
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 seeking to punish those with differing opinions.
And we now know that action was taken to suppress heterodox voices. Wesley’s guest is one of those caught in this cultural oppression. Dr. Jayanta Bhattacharya, making his second Humanize appearance, is a Professor of Health Policy at Stanford University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economics Research. He directs Stanford’s Center for Demography and Economics of Health and Aging.
Dr. Bhattacharya’s research focuses on the health and well-being of vulnerable populations, with a particular emphasis on the role of government programs, biomedical innovation, and economics. Dr. Bhattacharya’s recent research focuses on the epidemiology of COVID-19 as well as an evaluation of policy responses to the epidemic.
He has published more than 100 articles in top peer-reviewed scientific journals in medicine, economics, health policy, epidemiology, statistics, law, and public health among other fields. He holds an MD and PhD in economics, both earned at Stanford University.
Bhattacharya is also a co-author The Great Barrington Declaration, published in the fall of 2020 to great controversy, which dissented against the reigning public health “lock down” policies being brought to bear against the virus, and offered a different approach that would reopen society as we continued to protect our most vulnerable members from illness. As a consequence of his heterodox advocacy, Bhattacharya was censored on social media and suffered professional ostracism at Stanford University.