JulieB By: JulieB
Lecturer in Global Health
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09 May 2020 : Uncomfortable, getting worse

It feels as if things are slipping away more and more, especially since last weekend. Way more people, at least on my street, are out and about now, even though we are still officially on the same lock-down as the last 7 or so weeks. Way more people are expressing frustration with the lock-down. More cars are on the road, more people are in the parks and shops, more local businesses are doing their renovations in preparation of re-opening (which, as long as it's safe to do so is a good sign in terms of their businesses surviving). But the scariest thing for me is the apparent takeover of my Twitter feed by the "sceptics" - and not only my Twitter feed, even friends of mine told me today - after teaching me basic epidemiology which I learnt in class 16 years ago... (!) - they told me how covid might have been cooked up by the pharmaceutical companies in order to sell vaccines and make a profit, and that they are a bit skeptical about the vaccine. I was asked, would I take it?* (These are bright, University educated, middle aged, otherwise sensible adults with a good job and lifestyle). 

And so it's all feeling more fractured now - the sceptics seem to have become empowered by what happened with Neil F last week. Trust in science seems to plummet and it reminds me of the terrible (fake) study of Andrew Wakefield which came out 16 or so years ago, just when I was a final year Undergrad, studying a Public Health and Epidemiology module. Of course, the two events are not comparable (Andrew was later struck off the medical record for having made up his findings!) but the impact on public trust in science/research could be similar. That's been a very uncomfortable feeling for me all week, and it seems to be getting worse. 

 

* for the record: I can't wait until there is a vaccine available and yes of course I will take it as soon as I have access to it. 

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