Honesty and humility will help combat COVID pseudo-science | View

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

Honesty and humility will help combat COVID pseudo-science | View

Lockdowns, restrictions and public health measures have divided western societies. Even in European countries where vaccination rates are remarkably high, such as Spain (80 per cent fully vaccinated), Italy (75 per cent), France (73 per cent), Germany (71 per cent) and the UK (70 per cent) – hostility towards doctors and the medical profession has grown over the past two years. Weariness, a loss of liberty, and, in some cases, the instrumentalization of COVID-19 by national governments has tested patience – and laid fertile ground for pseudo-science.

Concerning trends in under-vaccinated countries

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

Despite the pressures, confidence in expert opinion has so far held up across much of Europe. A Eurobarometer poll conducted last year found remarkably high levels of confidence in scientific opinion. A statement issued by the European Commission shortly after the poll’s publication cheerfully announced: “Nine in 10 EU citizens think that the overall influence of science and technology is positive” and that Europe’s citizens invariably see scientists and their characteristics, including intelligence (89 per cent), reliability (68 per cent) and being collaborative (66 per cent), in a positive light.

More than two thirds (68%) of respondents in the same poll also stated that scientists should be free to intervene in political debates to ensure decisions are underpinned with evidence. This has certainly been the case in many European countries, where chief medical officers and scientific advisers to national governments have emerged from obscurity to become a daily source of information.

Global Tech News Daily

This data and the results of other surveys conducted the past two years, would suggest that all is well. But is it really?

In the poll described above, one can also identify a troubling undercurrent of doubt, particularly in countries where vaccine uptake remains catastrophically low, including in Slovakia (48 per cent), Romania (41 per cent), and Bulgaria (28 per cent). For example, it found that 28 per cent of Europeans believe that the novel coronavirus was produced and released from a secret laboratory as part of a global effort to control our freedoms.

Global Tech News Daily

It also found that one in four (26 per cent) believe a cure to one of the world’s biggest killers, cancer, is already in existence. This constituency of opinion, while in the minority, is not just concentrated in countries where institutional scepticism has established roots, but also in Western and northern European nations, where confidence in institutions is typically strong.

Education deficit may play a role in COVID-denialism

During the pandemic, a fertile space for denialism and ‘alternative facts’ has emerged. Misinformation, cast as ‘the truth’, is now widely shared online. Government missteps and COVID-borne corruption charges have chipped away at the credibility of once-reliable sources. And in some cases, the instrumentalization of the virus for political purposes has fractured the coalitions of togetherness that was felt in 2020. In this climate, where science literacy is already at low ebb, the judgements of some of our brightest scientific minds are no longer seen as impartial.

Some of this is predictable. After all, public health measures and responses are driven largely by scientific data, which few of us can easily grasp. This deficit in literacy provides a space for pseudo-science and vaccine hesitancy to cut through.

The Eurobarometer poll makes this clear. In order to complete this survey, respondents were asked to take a ‘quiz’ comprising eleven scientific statements, from the effect of antibiotics on viruses and bacteria to the origins of global warming and the nature of lasers.

Researchers then calculated an ‘accuracy score’ from these responses and found that in countries such as Romania and Bulgaria only two and four per cent of respondents could give at least eight correct responses, while the ratio stood at above 40 per cent in countries such as Belgium, Sweden, Ireland, and Luxembourg. This disparity mirrors vaccine uptake, in many cases, and suggests there is a trust and educational disparity in many parts of Europe. This is, of course, concerning – but how can we arrest it while safeguarding coalitions for the public good?

Antidote will take more than public health messaging

It would be welcome, first, to see politicians being straight with the European public. Early false predictions, the frequent citing of gloom-laden — and, in many cases discredited — modelling, and the politicisation of public health, continue to undermine trust. Admitting they do not know at this point, or prefacing their statements as based on current knowledge, would help to recalibrate expectations and shield scientific advisors from danger.

It would also be beneficial to see more humility and generosity in the geopolitics of vaccines. While Western politicians are chasing citizens with third and fourth doses, access continues to be scarce in large parts of the developing world. A more even distribution of vaccines would make deadly variants less likely to emerge on the peripheries and create further cycles of avoidable chaos. It would also dispel some of the myths regarding Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca’s motives.

Such action would harden the credibility and ambitions of not only our state institutions but the involvement of private providers in the context of the pandemic, and, in turn, erode the many inaccurate, often swindler-like, charges of the pseudoscientific community.

After almost three years of COVID impacting our lives on a daily basis, we are now approaching one of the most crucial junctures of the pandemic. We have treatments at scale for use across the globe, and we can see an exit point from this crisis and a restoration of our liberties. It’s vital, as we move towards this state, that national governments take their populations with them. Acting honestly, in line with scientific opinion, without feeling compelled to provide misplaced certainty, is the best way to hold this coalition together.

Péter Krekó is the director of Political Capital Institute, a think-tank based in Budapest, Hungary. He is a Europe’s Futures Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM). For further reading, a roughly 3,000-word piece on this subject was published by Mr Krekó with Eurozine.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

New York Rangers get another comeback win to force Game 7 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

PITTSBURGH — How many times can the New York Rangers dig themselves into a hole and climb back out? At least one more, as of Friday night. The Blueshirts came ... Read more »

Wilson, balanced Aces cruise to 96-73 victory over Dream

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. (AP) — A’ja Wilson scored 15 points, Kelsey Plum had 14 points and 11 assists and the Las Vegas Aces rolled to a 96-73 victory over the ... Read more »

EXPLAINER: Why frustration lingers in Okinawa 50 years later

The Associated PressFILE – U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Mike Anglen of Turner, Ore., center, stands atop a cliff as Sgt. Bryan Wallace of Pikin, Ill., waits for his turn before ... Read more »

Astros beat Nationals 6-1 for 11th straight victory

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jose Altuve homered on the first pitch of the game, Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel also went deep and the Houston Astros extended their winning streak to ... Read more »

Kreider scores late, Rangers edge Pens 5-3 to force Game 7

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Chris Kreider’s long slap shot bounced over Louis Domingue and into the net with 1:28 left and the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 on ... Read more »

Astros push winning streak to 11, roll past Nationals 6-1

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jose Altuve homered on the first pitch of the game, and Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel also went deep to help the Houston Astros extend their winning ... Read more »

Moustakas, Drury power Reds to 8-2 victory over Pirates

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mike Moustakas homered twice and Brandon Drury drove in four runs to break out of a slump and lead the resurgent Cincinnati Reds to an 8-2 victory ... Read more »

Peterson's bases-loaded walk lifts Brewers over Marlins 2-1

MIAMI (AP) — Jace Peterson walked against Anthony Bender with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Miami Marlins 2-1 Friday night. After starters ... Read more »

Padres: No cancer found during manager Bob Melvin's prostate surgery

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres say no cancer was found when manager Bob Melvin had prostate surgery on Wednesday. Melvin, 60, was recovering at home Friday after ... Read more »

Ogunbowale, Gray help Wings rally past Mystics, 94-86

WASHINGTON (AP) — Arike Ogunbowale scored 27 points, Allisha Gray had 21 and the Dallas Wings overcame a 15-point second-quarter deficit to beat the Washington Mystics 94-86 on Friday night. ... Read more »

Resigning North Dakota senator led lawmakers in travel costs

The Associated PressFILE – North Dakota Sen. Ray Holmberg listens during a joint House and Senate Appropriations Committee meeting at the Capitol in Bismarck, N.D., on Jan. 7, 2009. Holmberg, ... Read more »

Residents in picturesque California county hit with gas prices topping $7 a gallon

A California county known for its spectacular mountains and proximity to Yosemite National Park has been paying the nation’s highest gas prices. Read more »

Boudreau to return as coach of Canucks next season

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Bruce Boudreau will return as coach of the Vancouver Canucks next season after helping to turn the struggling NHL club around as a midyear replacement. ... Read more »

New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern tests positive for COVID

On Location: May 13, 2022 Catch up on the developing stories making headlines.The Associated Press WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has tested positive for COVID-19 ... Read more »

Today in History for May 14th

Highlights of this day in history: Colonists go ashore in Virginia to set up Jamestown; Lewis and Clark begin to explore Louisiana Territory; Israel founded; Skylab launched; Movie producer George ... Read more »

Twitter CEO expects Elon Musk acquisition to close, addresses spending cuts

Musk is awaiting details supporting calculations that spam, fake accounts represent less than 5% of Twitter's users Read more »

Padres: No cancer found during Bob Melvin's prostate surgery

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres say no cancer was found when manager Bob Melvin had prostate surgery on Wednesday. Melvin, 60, was recovering at home Friday after ... Read more »

Renovated NYC museum shows indigenous perspectives

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City recently finished a major renovation of its exhibition on the native peoples of the northwest coast of North America. Curators ... Read more »

Police release 911 calls in Gilgo Beach case

A woman who disappeared in a beach community on New York’s Long Island more than a decade ago, sparking an investigation into a possible serial killer, said “there’s somebody after ... Read more »

Academy Awards set 2023 Oscars for March 12

The Associated PressFILE – Oscar statue on the red carpet at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Next year’s Academy Awards will ... Read more »

Actor Fred Ward, of 'Tremors,' 'The Right Stuff' fame, dies

The Associated PressFILE – Fred Ward, a cast member in “30 Minutes or Less,” poses at the premiere of the film in Los Angeles on Aug. 8, 2011. Ward, a ... Read more »

Judge refuses to drop elections suit against Trump, media

NEW YORK — A Colorado judge on Friday denied motions to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by an election systems worker against former President Donald Trump’s campaign, two of its ... Read more »

Q&A: Becky G unveils every side of herself in latest album

The Associated PressFILE – Becky G appears at the Oscars in Los Angeles on March 27, 2022. Beck G’s latest album is “Esquemas.” (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File) NEW YORK ... Read more »

North Korea reports 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19 outbreak

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea reports 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19 outbreak. Read more »

North Korea confirms 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea says 21 people died and 174,440 people were newly found with fever symptoms on Friday alone as the country scrambles to slow the spread ... Read more »

White Sox place Giolito on COVID list, activate Vaughn

The Chicago White Sox placed ace Lucas Giolito on the COVID-19 injured list and activated outfielder Andrew Vaughn following a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Friday. Giolito began experiencing ... Read more »

Traded back and forth, Ford learns to live out of suitcase

NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Ford has learned to travel light — and quickly. Since the start of the season, the 29-year-old first baseman has played for Tacoma, San Francisco ... Read more »

Falcon 9 rocket launches Starlink satellites

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 53 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from California on Friday. (May 13) Read more »

Celtics' Robert Williams remains out for Game 6 vs. Bucks

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Boston forward/center Robert Williams missed his third straight game with an injured left knee as the Celtics tried to keep their season alive Friday night in Game ... Read more »

Padres sign Robinson Canó, plan to use him off the bench

ATLANTA (AP) — The San Diego Padres have signed veteran second baseman Robinson Canó to a major league contract and plan to use him as a left-handed bat off the ... Read more »

WNBA star's Russia detention extended by 1 month

The lawyer for WNBA star Brittney Griner says her pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended by one month. Alexander Boykov told The Associated Press the relatively short extension indicated ... Read more »

Louisiana justices toss COVID-related charges against pastor

Hundreds of thousands of Americans fighting long-haul symptoms from COVID-19 Dr. David Putrino from Mount Sinai Health System and COVID long-hauler Joel Fram discuss the long-term effects of the disease.The ... Read more »

Sandy Hook lawsuits against Alex Jones on track to resume

The Associated PressFILE – This Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, photo shows radio show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones at Capitol Hill in Washington. The Sandy Hook families’ lawsuits against ... Read more »

Rockies' Bryant closer to return after cortisone shot

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Rockies outfielder Kris Bryant took swings in the cage Friday for the first time since he was sidelined with a sore back nearly three weeks ago ... Read more »

Mariners demote Jarred Kelenic to minors after poor start

NEW YORK (AP) — Rather than make his Citi Field debut against the team that traded him, Jarred Kelenic was demoted to Triple-A Tacoma by the Seattle Mariners on Friday ... Read more »

Biden: ASEAN partnership 'critical' in this moment

Looking to strengthen ties, President Joe Biden welcomes leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to Washington for the first time. “We’re launching a new era in U.S.-ASEAN relations,” ... Read more »

Phil Mickelson will not defend his title at next week's PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson caught lightning in a bottle last year at Kiawah Island, winning a major championship at 50 years of age. The fairways flooded, and the golf world stood and ... Read more »

Tennessee Titans' Malik Willis on Ryan Tannehill's mentorship comments: 'Everything is cool'

The Tennessee Titans didn’t take issue with Ryan Tannehill’s comments about mentoring third-round rookie Malik Willis. Willis and coach Mike Vrabel were asked about Tannehill’s scrutinized remarks following the first ... Read more »

Lawyers plan suit against Lufthansa over Jewish passengers

Lawyers for 26 passengers said Friday they told Lufthansa that they will sue the German airline for refusing to let members of a large group of Orthodox Jewish passengers board ... Read more »

Wild face offseason after yet another early ouster

While the Minnesota Wild were stacking up franchise records and securing the extra home game for the first round, general manager Bill Guerin carefully acknowledged a “great year” for the ... Read more »