Covid-19: Blood on whose hands?

By | 16th May 2021

As the UK Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jonathan Van Tam, said in a recent press conference, the current statistics on Covid-19 infections may be almost as good as we will ever get….

The opening of the end game also means the start of attempts to control the story ahead of the inevitable lessons learned inquiry. Different factions want to get their retaliation in first and pin blame on their opponents. The complex story of late 2019 and early 2020 is reduced to claims that X, Y and Z had blood on their hands because they did not immediately follow the injunctions of A, B, and C.

Sociologists have been studying organizational failures leading to major accidents, disasters and catastrophes for more than 50 years….Science policy elites in the UK may not have much respect for sociology but this work has been extensively used in understanding medical errors, industrial accidents, nuclear power station meltdowns and space shuttle explosions. There are good reasons why the Biden Administration has appointed a sociologist as deputy director of science policy. What it teaches us very clearly is that these events are not about personalities but about the inevitable difficulties of making decisions in complex environments on imperfect and uncertain information…

A Social Science Space blog

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