Let’s Practice: Listen to the Scientists

March 6, 2020

Fascinated by the parallels between Corona virus and climate communication.

The planetary response to the virus is like “climate change response” in a test-tube.

We’re seeing the whole range of familiar responses – denial, distortion, silencing/intimidating scientists.
What can we learn from this?

27 Responses to “Let’s Practice: Listen to the Scientists”

  1. Fomtriok Says:

    I agree. We should keep focused on the science. I was actually surprised to find how so many leaders, governments and even a lot of the media care more about image and facade than about humans. It is of course (like that Harvard professor says) a matter of risk and odds – meaning we can hardly ever say things with absolute certainty – but claiming that “This is not a pandemic” however, or that “You shouldn’t prepare with food at home” or that “Fear is more dangerous than the virus” and things along that line is irresponsible and anti-scientific. Of course, we should never panic, and we should never stop cooperating and helping each other. But being afraid of this virus which is indeed a pandemic is very rational and understandable. Good leaders would tell the truth; that the situation is very serious, and although hoping for the best, preparing for the worst and being open about this.

  2. terrydonte Says:

    While many of your comments are true they simply distort reality. If one looks at the 100,000 and the 3400 number one thinks the plague is upon us and the end of times is year. If one however looks at how they measure this one finds an entirely different picture. If you need medical care with the Flu, the CDC death rate is about 7 percent. That 100,000 number is medical care patients so the death rate is about half that of the flu. The flu killed 50,000 Americans back in 2012-2013 about 700,000 infected enough to go to medical care assuming the 7 percent number is correct. The stock market did not crash, the president was not called to account and things just rolled along as usual. The infection rate of cases serious enough to go to the hospital is declining in China. The difference today is the news is anti Trump and needs click bait to sell its propaganda message to make a buck to have than nice vacation in someplace warm during the winter. What you are seeing is hysteria.

    There are at least two or three vaccines in development, If we hold the bureaucrats feet to the fire we could have a vaccine in at most a few months and than the virus would be just another flu just like the ones we get every single year.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      There are at least two or three vaccines in development, If we hold the bureaucrats feet to the fire we could have a vaccine in at most a few months….

      NO NO NO NO NO.
      It doesn’t work like that. Just as getting together 9 women won’t produce a baby in one month, there are built-in limits on how quickly a vaccine can be developed, tested and produced in large quantities. For something this large-scale, the morbidity rating* on the vaccine has to be super-low.

      IF we get a vaccine that tests well (desired efficacy, low toxicity) in animal models,
      & IF that vaccine tests well for human bioavailabilty
      & IF that vaccine is shown safe for larger groups,
      & IF that vaccine is shown efficacious (tricky for vaccines, because you have to figure out how many people would subsequently be resistant to the virus)
      & IF that safe, efficacious vaccine can be made affordably in large quantities, including the costs and complexity associated with shipping and storing the vaccines,
      THEN we can start distributing it.

      Contrast that with a more contagious known disease, like measles: Outbreaks due to low herd immunity are readily addressed with existing supplies of well-established and widely available vaccines.

      *Safety requirements for some specialty vaccines are lower than for those used in the general population.

      • terrydonte Says:

        Kaiser is starting a trial of a vaccine in Seattle Washington,pays you a $100 dollars to take the vaccine and show up for tests etc. All that needs to be done is speed up the testing and widen the trial numbers.

        • redskylite Says:

          Only $100 – You can get 3500 crisp mint pounds sterling for being a guinea pig in the U.K to test a vaccine . . – however this is for the long term future, in case the virus comes back. I doubt the U.S approval mechanism is any speedier than the U.K’s. Sorry for the poor source.

          “a vaccine is unlikely to be approved in time to halt the current epidemic, which has so far seen more than 110,00 people across the globe fall ill with COVID-19. ”


        • redskylite Says:

          and it’s more than $100 in Seattle – so good luck with the new job . . .

          Researchers in Seattle have also begun recruiting healthy volunteers to participate in a clinical trial for a vaccine developed by the biotechnology company Moderna Therapeutics, according to The Wall Street Journal.

          The vaccine trial is expected to launch by the end of April and will take 14 months but volunteers don’t need to be quarantined. They will receive up to $1,100 (£836) in total.

          All the potential jabs are in the pre-clinical stage, which means they haven’t been studied in humans yet.

          It takes years to develop new treatments for illnesses because new medicines must be extensively researched in a series of phases.

          Usually thousands of people have to take part in the clinical research phase to monitor safety, tolerability and effectiveness in people.

          Even if they prove successful, they must be produced on a large scale, which needs billions of dollars, and be vetted by regulators.

          Because vaccines for COVID-19 are still in the making across the world, it is unlikely any will be finished in time to halt the current outbreak.

        • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

          All that needs to be done is speed up the testing…

          There’s not a lot of play in the system. Part of the testing involves watching the entire cascade of the response within each person’s system.

          Kaiser’s vaccine candidate, while first out of the gate, has to clear a lot of hurdles before it can be injected into millions of people. However, it is possible that even a vaccine that’s not quite suitable for the general public can be made available to health care workers.

  3. redskylite Says:

    The stock market always gets the jitters when anything out the ordinary happens, people are scared of losing money, see an opportunity to make a quick buck, and a lot of automation software kicks in, causing mass selling/trading – pity as we would hope our financial systems would be robust enough to support us in times of need.

    Best thing is to listen to the health professionals, rather than self-opinionated, and often grumpy, lay persons. Does that ring a bell ?

    Who better than the WHO. (not the rock group)
    This is not a drill.

    This is not the time to give up.

    This is not a time for excuses.

    This is a time for pulling out all the stops.

    Countries have been planning for scenarios like this for decades. Now is the time to act on those plans.

    These are plans that start with leadership from the top, coordinating every part of government, not just the health ministry – security, diplomacy, finance, commerce, transport, trade, information and more – the whole government should be involved.

    • redskylite Says:

      no harm in listening to the original who as well . . .

    • redskylite Says:

      For me who was unsure – Epidemiologists are scientists who study diseases within populations of people. In essence, these public health professionals analyze what causes disease outbreaks in order to treat existing diseases and prevent future outbreaks.

      Excellent interview by CBS thanks for bringing our attention. I like to hear the opinion of top experts in the appropriate and we should indeed take note.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      These are plans that start with leadership from the top…

      We’re fucked.

  4. dumboldguy Says:

    After the last pandemic in 2009, a pretty good movie was made in 2011—-it is scientifically accurate and seems rather prescient-prophetic-timely about what is going on right now. Just watched if from Netflix.

  5. jimbills Says:

    Some related articles today:
    Trump calls Inslee a ‘snake’ over criticism of coronavirus rhetoric

    On Trump’s narcissism and an example of how it affects him during a crisis, here’s an example:
    Trump Interrupts Coronavirus Briefing to Ask Fox Reporter About His TV Ratings

  6. redskylite Says:

    “Fascinated by the parallels between Corona virus and climate communication.”

    The major difference is that Covid-19 will unfold in a much faster timescale, and the results will be very plain, obvious and undeniable.

    I have always believed in listening to trained professionals, who understand the problems and challenges and can explain them clearly to the lay audience. I have worked in a potentially dangerous industry, where a vigorous “health and safety” program saved lives. Workers should expect to come home, uninjured at the end of the day. Politics have absolutely nothing to do with that and it makes me mad to see parties relaxing sensible safety procedures, just to earn a quick buck or two.

    This in the Guardian today quoting some of our most respected climate experts.

    These guys have sweated through university and made a career understanding the climate drivers – they should not be ridiculed, ignored or suppressed. Welcome back home Mr Trenberth I am very proud of you and your contributions to society.

    “Dr Kevin Trenberth, National Centre for Atmospheric Research (US) –
    For the most part my comments of 19 September 2014 still apply except that the glimmer of hope has diminished if not vanished entirely. With Obama as US president and the Paris agreement in late 2015, a glimmer of hope seemed to emerge, but with Trump and his ignorant accomplices, the hope has vanished.


    • otter17 Says:

      A big thank you for sharing that Guardian article. It has been a while since I visited isthishowyoufeel.com and it is quite cathartic to hear the guy running the project and his story since he first started it. It is good to hear that he has gotten back in the swing and obtained a new round of letters some five or so years later. Sometimes, it takes a bit of sadness that can give a boost of resolve after hugging it out with someone you love, haha.

  7. terrydonte Says:

    Today,3/09 Yahoo had an article on the death rate in Germany it is 0.00181% which is right in line with the flu. Germany also tests everyone with any symptoms which is most likely the reason the death rate is so low. Here and other places they wait until a person is on deaths door and than test which means any medical treatment is not done and as a result a look of people die.

  8. redskylite Says:

    Just in case TD posts anymore of his percentages the latest info from U.N’s WHO is that globally we crossed 100,000 reported cases of COVID-19 in 100 countries.

    The global death rate is reported at more than 4,000.

    So globally it is currently running at just over 3.5 percent of affected patients.


    We crossed 100,000 reported cases of COVID-19 in 100 countries.

    It’s certainly troubling that so many people and countries have been affected, so quickly.

    Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real.

    But it would be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled.

    The bottom line is: we are not at the mercy of this virus.



    Covid-19 death toll rises to more than 4,000; Italy on lockdown

    The Covid-19 death toll has increased to more than 4,000, with around 3,100 cases confirmed in Mainland China, as of the end of 10 March.

    The total confirmed cases around the world have increased to more than 113,000 in 113 countries, while recoveries have increased to around 59,000.


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