Science ‘risks coronavirus backlash’ as it is drawn into politics

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14th May 2020

David Matthews

Times Higher Education


Policy experts express fears that public and politicians will hold scientists responsible for the economic and social damage of lockdown
Trust in science could sour in the pandemic crisis, especially if politicians try to pin blame for policy mistakes and the downsides of lockdowns on their scientific advisers, international science policy experts have warned.

Although initial surveys in the UK and Germany suggest that trust in science has jumped, scientists advising governments on their response to the coronavirus have also been subject to death threats, newspaper exposés and online hate across a number of countries, leading some to fear that they could be held responsible for the economic and social damage wrought by national lockdowns that seek to halt the disease’s spread. In the US, Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a familiar presence at presidential press conferences, has been the subject of online conspiracy theories alleging that he is attempting to undermine Donald Trump.

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