What if we are approaching this all wrong?
If you have some time, listen to the interview below with Dr. John Ioannidis of Stanford University. He’s a a Greek-American physician-scientist and epidemiologist who studies scientific research itself.
Ioannidis published a paper titled, “A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data.” It’s a fascinating, non-emotional, look at COVID-19 that should at least cause us to question the way we are tackling it.
“At a time when everyone needs better information, from disease modelers and governments to people quarantined or just social distancing, we lack reliable evidence on how many people have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 or who continue to become infected. Better information is needed to guide decisions and actions of monumental significance and to monitor their impact…
One can only hope that, much like in 1918, life will continue. Conversely, with lockdowns of months, if not years, life largely stops, short-term and long-term consequences are entirely unknown, and billions, not just millions, of lives may be eventually at stake.
If we decide to jump off the cliff, we need some data to inform us about the rationale of such an action and the chances of landing somewhere safe.”
If you prefer to listen than read, here’s a recent interview about his article:
I bring this up because many crusaders have condemned those who buck conventional wisdom and question the cost of a crippling quarantine policy as not just ignorant, but morally reprehensible. What if there is a third way?
But there’s some goods news too, even if we are overreacting. The Los Angeles Times ran an upbeat editorial yesterday drawing historical parallels between the current epidemic and the 1918 flu. Not so much in the viruses themselves, but in societal reaction and how social distancing worked then and will work now.
In a sense, we are left with more questions than answers when comparing the two articles. The good news, it seems, is that even if we “stay the course” in a manner that ends up costing even more lives, history predicts we will bounce back. That should bring a smile to our faces, even during this particularly difficult time.
I know this post isn’t exactly travel-related, but I was impressed by the interview…I think we all need to think more critically and admit we may not have all the answers before us on a short-term solution. Hopefully we are doing it right, but let’s all be open to the possibility we are not.