Tag Archives: pandemic

Patrician policymaking

…policies have been made by people with very narrow life experiences and imposed on others with whom there is ‘no intercourse and no sympathy’…This indifference is as true of our scientific and medical elites as of our politicians and public servants. Although STEM disciplines have traditional been ladders of social mobility, we are seeing the… Read More »

Is Covid-19 a disease?

Let us first understand that ‘disease’, ‘illness’ and ‘infection’ are not categories that are given to us by nature. They are human moral judgements about the undesirability of the impact of certain microorganisms on ourselves, and a few favoured plant and animal species that are particularly relevant to us. Most of the sciences that study… Read More »

Could we live with a ‘second influenza’?

Somewhere along the line we have lost a sense of proportion about the Covid-19 pandemic. At the beginning, we were rightly concerned that a novel virus, to which human populations had never been exposed, might represent an existential threat to our species. This justified rapid, and often poorly-evidenced, actions to interrupt transmission of the infection.… Read More »

The ‘New Normal’: Webinar with Culture, Mind & Brain group, McGill University

21 May 2020 PANELISTS: 2:00 Samuel Veissière (McGill): Introductory remarks on the ‘infodemic’, the role of the Internet, and pre-existing social pathologies 2:15 Cécile Rousseau (McGill): Symptoms – Virtue – War 2:30 Stefan Ecks (Edinburgh): The importance of social science in pandemic epidemiology 2:45 Robert Dingwall (Nottingham Trent): The three social pandemics: fear, explanation and… Read More »

How do pandemics end?

In the midst of the present chaos, it is easy to forget that the world has had pandemics before and that they have come to an end. Can we learn anything from these experiences that might help us in dealing with Covid-19? Note first that no pandemic has actually wiped out humanity. While this may… Read More »

New Podcast – Robert Dingwall vs Richard Horton on UK government decision-making about Covid-19

Going Viral is a podcast developed by Mark Honigsbaum, a journalist and historian to look at issues around infectious disease outbreaks. The current focus is on Covid-19, with a historian’s interest in the longer-term context of the immediate UK government response. Richard Horton has been arguing that rapid action should have followed the publication of… Read More »

Coronavirus – Global Agenda: World Lockdown – Battling the Pandemic

Panel discussion for NHK – the Japanese public broadcasting network Borders can’t contain the raging COVID-19 pandemic. It has forced unprecedented action, but the outlook is grim. What is the nature of the coronavirus and how should we confront the worldwide risks? Moderator Ebara Miki Chief International Correspondent, NHK WORLD-JAPAN Panelists Shindo Nahoko Senior Advisor,… Read More »

Coronavirus: Lockdown is another triumph of populism over science – most people have behaved rationally so far

All infectious disease outbreaks generate three social epidemics – of fear, explanation and action. The last describes the pressures to “do something”, however pointless or irrelevant. The Government’s lockdown represents another triumph of populism over science. Its approach is reminiscent of the line from the Communist playwright Bertolt Brecht about the failure of the people… Read More »