It seems as if everyone is an epidemiologist these days. So it’s worth considering epidemiology’s history and the role it should be playing in public policy, preventing disease and promoting health. When U.S. President Donald Trump and reporters get into arguments about infections, testing and death rates, they’re engaging in an epidemiological discussion. Not everyone
Crises make for strange bedfellows. It took the COVID-19 pandemic to forge a bond between journalists and epidemiologists. These two occupations have little in common. Journalist detest jargon and are admonished by editors for wordy prose. Epidemiologists publish in medical and scientific journals using the jargon and terminology of their profession. They may present scientific
“Pandemics are a magnifying glass that sheds light on social conditions,” says May-Brith Ohman Nielsen, professor of history at the University of Agder in Norway. Pandemics lay bare the failures of a country’s organization and capacity that went unnoticed during uneventful times. Conflicting policies, staff vacancies, purchase orders for the wrong items, a lack of
Allan Bonner explores a concept proposed by Ulrich Beck: that politicians try to underwrite our safety. These days, they do this by political theatre and photo ops — like eating beef after the Mad Cow scare, or eating in Chinatown after SARS, H1N1 and now COVID-19. Should this be the priority?