It’s hard not to be a little overwhelmed when I think of the relative optimism that gripped me and many colleagues, science journalists, and scientific disseminators as it became clear just how challenging the Covid-19 pandemic would be March last year treat. We thought it was really possible to make a difference to the public by providing quality information based on reputable science. Today (in fact for the last few months) my feeling is almost complete defeat. I feel like a total failure. We failed.
In March 2020, the following argument gave us: In a situation like the one we live in, denial would not be feasible. It is easy to minimize or deny the existence of global warming when the most catastrophic effects of man-made climate change are decades away from clear realization. The coronavirus tsunami, on the other hand, devours people within a period of a few weeks or at most a few months, as we considered at the time. There will come a time when denial becomes impossible – something like “It didn’t even hurt!” after being hit in the head with a hammer which drew blood and possibly fractured the skull.
Tolinhos. We underestimate how many people are able to live in rejection. Brazil had never had a mass anti-vaccination movement – before that there were few money crickets who had fled vaccines. At the most dangerous moment, such a movement has just blossomed, as opinion polls show.
The worst thing about feeling helpless is, at least from my point of view, not knowing how to do a route correction in public communication about the coronavirus, or whether such a correction is possible. We’ll have to try another route, but I have no idea what it would be. And since it is an infectious disease that relies primarily on social contact to spread further, there is no point crossing your arms and saying “Darwin cares about those” who don’t want to protect themselves . Either the vast majority of us put our conscience in our hands, or 200,000 deaths are just the beginning.
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