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Offline: Don't let COVID-19 divert us completely

Dr Robert Spencer, a trustee of Dr Edward Jenner's House, Garden and Museum in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, UK, wrote to me last week on the 40th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox (May 8). He was polite but disappointed: “On this day in 1980 the WHO announced the eradication of smallpox from the world. This infection, which probably caused more deaths than any other disease, was finally condemned to the history books. Sorry to see you had no space in this week's edition of The Lancet to commemorate this milestone, especially at a time of COVID-19 pandemic.” Dr Spencer was right to admonish me. To be perfectly honest, this important anniversary had completely passed me by. For weeks, months, now I have been utterly preoccupied by the pandemic we are currently living through—its unfolding around the world, the human catastrophes the virus has wrought, the often criminally negligent responses by many national governments, and the impact lockdown is having on the wellbeing of my own colleagues across the Lancet journals. Smallpox never entered my thoughts. My omission is a sharp reminder not only to me but also to the global health community, and not only about smallpox. What has happened to the litany of issues, campaigns, and debates we were engaged in before this coronavirus struck?
covid-19
lockdown
science
research
response
impact
integration
perspective
step, offline, fight, hardcover, horton
like, ease, stop, critic, away
Sage coronavirus expert: We’ve had an epidemic that to some degree could have been avoided
May 20, 2020 · · Original resource · report

Jeremy Farrar explains why humanity may simply have to learn to live with Covid-19, why he wishes there were *more* government advisers in scientific meetings—and why he thinks it is still too early to reopen schools
covid-19
vaccine
social distancing
education
public health
policy
uncertainty
epidemiology
politics
government
transparency
advice
herd immunity
decision making
school
crisis
sage
confusion
step, offline, fight, hardcover, horton
like, ease, stop, critic, away
Hurry, Don’t Rush
April 13, 2020 · · Original resource · blog

Make no mistake: we need science right now. There’s a global problem whose solution lies squarely in the domain of building empirical knowledge about the natural world. This comes with something of a gold rush, both for money and for profile.But the historical precedent for bad scientific work wasting millions of dollars and hours is strong. The specific precedents for work that met an immediate need and looked cool, but ended up being revealed as desperately overhyped, are also substantial. And right now, instead of bad science just slowing down progress, it can fly straight to the heart of global policymaking on the run. This makes it not some milquetoast term we’d normally use, like “problematic”, but rather dangerous.I hope this doesn’t happen, but it already happens when the world is spinning on its normal axis. Right now, twisting out of control, it has the potential to both happen more and stack bodies.
covid-19
public health
misinformation
healthcare
danger
science
research
treatment
publication
bad science
article
peer review
problem
step, offline, fight, hardcover, horton
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Is the “science” behind the lockdown any good?
May 28, 2020 · · Original resource · news

We should all be pretty familiar with the narrative by now. An arrogant, exceptionalist British government was until mid-March pursuing a reckless strategy of herd immunity that would have callously allowed a huge number of old and vulnerable people to die and the health system to be overwhelmed. Then came a “bombshell” from Imperial College London: a “doomsday report” predicting there would be 500,000 deaths if we were to carry on down that road, prompting a sudden government U-turn, and ultimately the decision to lock the country down. Gone was the Machiavellian Dominic Cummings plan of “letting old people die”; in was STAY AT HOME; PROTECT THE NHS; SAVE LIVES. (The notion that it was Cummings who was pushing for the herd immunity idea has since been disputed, while the notion that Cummings was into the staying-at-home idea has also since been, er, disputed.)But then, after all that, it turned out that the computer code Imperial had relied on to predict the future in that March 16 paper (“Report 9”) was outdated, full of bugs, and based on flimsy, unscientific assumptions. The code was simply totally unreliable. All academic epidemiology should be defunded immediately. The lockdown, surely, could no longer be justified. As the Telegraph put it in their headline on May 16, this could be “the most devastating software mistake of all time”! It could “supersede the failed Venus space probe” in terms of economic cost and lives lost!The question is: is any of this true? Did the modelling, as the Daily Mail put it last Saturday, “single-handedly (trigger) a dramatic change in the government’s handling of the outbreak”? If the code is so bad, does that render the modelling useless? And would shoddy modelling remove the justification for the lockdowns in place across much of the globe anyway?
covid-19
policy
lockdown
modeling
prediction
accuracy
government
coding
error
humanity, statistic, wrong, communicate, fit
step, offline, fight, hardcover, horton
Let’s Remember That the Coronavirus Is Still a Mystery
May 20, 2020 · · Original resource · webpage

I find a gulf in perceptions between experts and nonexperts. Many Americans believe that we are now emerging from the pandemic and that, as President Trump says, we can see light at the end of the tunnel. Yet many epidemiologists, while acknowledging how little they know, are deeply apprehensive about a big second wave this fall, more brutal than anything we’ve endured so far.That mix of humility and apprehensiveness seems the best guide as we devise policy to survive a plague. Hope for the best while preparing for the worst.
covid-19
usa
social distancing
epidemiology
caution
opinion
reopening
humanity, statistic, wrong, communicate, fit
step, offline, fight, hardcover, horton
I’m from Wuhan. I got covid-19 — after traveling to Florida.
July 15, 2020 · · Original resource · news

In January, after watching my hometown Wuhan crumble from afar as it grappled with the novel coronavirus, I thought I was better prepared for the pandemic than most people in the United States.Support our journalism. Subscribe today.arrow-rightLittle did I know that this country would struggle so much — or that six months later, I would contract the coronavirus, too.
covid-19
infection
usa
china
lockdown
crisis management
government response
travel
wuhan
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Germany Has Its Own Dr. Fauci—and Actually Follows His Advice
Sept. 28, 2020 · · Original resource · article

Christian Drosten helped spare his country from the worst of Covid. Now he’s worried about the second wave.
covid-19
testing
second wave
germany
advice
cdc, doctor, trump, eviction, official
step, offline, fight, hardcover, horton
Larry Brilliant on How Well We Are Fighting Covid-19
July 9, 2020 · · Original resource · news

Three months ago, the epidemiologist weighed in on what we must do to defeat this new threat. We went back to ask: How are we doing, and what comes next?
covid-19
vaccine
public health
transmission
epidemiology
symptom
effectiveness
interview
understanding
knowledge
humanity, statistic, wrong, communicate, fit
step, offline, fight, hardcover, horton
Sweatpants Forever
Aug. 6, 2020 · · Original resource · news

Even before the pandemic, the whole fashion industry had started to unravel. What happens now that no one has a reason to dress up?
covid-19
struggle
long-term impact
economic impact
decline
demand
profit
step, offline, fight, hardcover, horton
like, ease, stop, critic, away
Amnesia Nation: Why China Has Forgotten Its Coronavirus Outbreak
May 27, 2020 · · Original resource · news

A 2009 novel predicted the Chinese people would forget a traumatic crisis. The puzzle, says its author, is how it happened so fast.
covid-19
china
policy
prediction
step, offline, fight, hardcover, horton
country, surge, city, economy, rich