Yes, there were some attempts to sabotage it too, with fake names and so on, which should have been a clue about what was coming. The fakes were deleted in days and new methods of confirming signatures were deployed.
The document, on the one hand, said nothing controversial. The right way to deal with this pandemic, it said, was to focus on those who could face severe outcomes from disease – a very plain point and nothing new. There was nothing to be gained by locking down the whole of society because of a pathogen with such a huge differential in its demographic impact.
The virus would have to become endemic in any case (including the realization of “herd immunity,” which is not a “strategy” but a descriptive term widely accepted in epidemiology) and certainly would not be stopped by destroying peoples’ lives and liberties.
The hope of the Declaration was simply that journalists would pay attention to a different point of view and a debate would begin on the unprecedented experiment in lockdowns. Perhaps science could prevail, even in this climate.
On the bad side, and at the very same time, following the release, the attacks began pouring in, and they were brutal, structured to destroy. The three main signers – Sunetra Gupta (Oxford), Martin Kulldorff (Harvard), and Jay Bhattacharya (Stanford) – made the statement as a matter of principle. It was also born of frustration with the prevailing narrative.