There are certain things we’ve come to expect during an election season. This election season; however, feels different. This is in large part because we are seeing the scientific community so much more politically active than usual. Michelle Obama is not a “scientist” per se, but, given what the data suggests, we may have to agree with her assertion you need to “vote for Biden like your lives depend on it.”
We are seeing publications like the New England Journal of Medicine(NEJM) and Scientific American, which have been dependably unpolitical for well over a century, condemn the current administration’s lack of leadership during this challenging time. The publication Nature has come out in support of Joe Biden just as Scientific American. Nature, in a recent editorial, has indicated they “plan to increase politics coverage from around the world, and to publish more primary research in political science and related fields.”
The Reckless COVID-19 Response
This administration’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic response and undermining science is where these publications’ condemnations overlap. The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law has even gone so far as to establish a “Silencing Science Tracker” serving to track “government attempts to restrict or prohibit scientific research, education or discussion, or the publication or use of scientific information, since the November 2016 election.”
One of the more troubling findings arising from the analysis of the COVID response is that as of September 1st if the United States could have achieved at least the same COVID-19 death rate as the world average, 145,000 fewer Americans would have died from the disease. It’s also hard to ignore the Cornell University study suggesting the President is the single largest driver of COVID-19 misinformation in the United States. It’s no wonder in NEJM’s editorial “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum” is the statement, “Anyone else who recklessly squandered lives and money in this way would be suffering legal consequences.”
You may notice I didn’t say much about climate change. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to talk about that another time.
Why Nature supports Joe Biden for US president. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02852-x. Last accessed: 10/17/2020.
Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/scientific-american-endorses-joe-biden1/. Last accessed: 10/17/2020.
On November 3, Vote to End Attacks on Science. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/on-november-3-vote-to-end-attacks-on-science/. Last accessed: 10/17/2020.
Dying in a Leadership Vacuum. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe2029812. Last accessed: 10/17/2020.
Michelle Obama Makes Final Pitch: ‘Vote For Joe Biden Like Your Lives Depend On It.’ https://www.npr.org/2020/10/06/920684113/michelle-obama-makes-final-pitch-vote-for-joe-biden-like-your-lives-depend-on-it. Last accessed: 10/17/2020.
America’s Death Gap. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/01/briefing/coronavirus-kenosha-massachusetts-your-tuesday-briefing.html. Last accessed: 10/19/2020.
Evanega, Sarah, et al. “Coronavirus misinformation: quantifying sources and themes in the COVID-19 ‘infodemic’.” (2020).