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article imageOp-Ed: Epidemiology, managing the virus and ending the Coronababble

By Paul Wallis     Mar 16, 2020 in World
Sydney - In the last few months, more has been written about coronavirus/COVID19 than is usually written about most wars. Disinformation is rampant and running commentaries don’t seem to achieve a lot.
There is another, much more practical, side to this pandemic. The people who actually manage pandemics, epidemiologists, are finally getting a word in edgewise.
There’s a lot to learn from these guys. There are still so many unanswered questions, too, for example:
• How many people are actually getting infected, as a percentage of populations?
• Will coronavirus become a part of life, like the flu?
• Was China’s lockdown as successful as they claim? (This one does have an answer - General verdict, yes. The question is really can the world do what China did?)
• Why do only 1 in a thousand kids get sick?
• What are the long-term management options? (Should be a rhetorical question by now, and it isn’t.)
• Why do older people get the virus?
A very interesting interview in The New Yorker has a few answers based on what’s happened so far. The interviewee, Justin Lessler, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has a much broader take on the virus and its effects than the “news”.
Lessler, like his science, is hampered somewhat by the need for his science to keep pace with findings. Statistics are moving targets, and the picture is changing as the virus spreads. The thing to note is that epidemiology is seeing things differently, and it’s a very different picture from the panic-mongering idiocy now blacking out all other news.
The other very interesting contrast to be made is with people who are experts in the field and the bizarre information circulating around the world. Myths and cures are everywhere in the not-very-imaginative clickbait. The trouble is some of these myths are dangerous.
The other big issue is that most of the Coronababble and its useless side effects like crashing the markets is coming from people who should know much better. This virus has exposed multiple weaknesses in health systems, pandemic preparedness, and governmental slackness. It has exposed a global media which has been almost entirely destructive in its reporting of the outbreak.
Put it this way – The epidemiologists see it as a problem to be solved. The media apparently see it as a problem to be exploited. How about we let the experts do their jobs, and lose the Coronababble? ...And preferably the morons doing it, as well.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about coronavirus, coronababble, coronavrirus epidemiology, Justin Lessler, ohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
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