Coronavirus days: does science help?

covid-again I can't answer that, but the Economist has a recent article Are governments following the science on covid-19? Which has a chart of how much a country's scientists think that policymakers have followed scientific advice. Scraping the numbers for the "agree or strongly agree" line (using "disagree or strongly disagree" produces much the same), I can compare that to deaths-per-million. The Economist itself doesn't attempt any quantification, contenting itself with The countries hit hardest by the pandemic have been those where policymakers have strayed furthest from scientific recommendations. In Brazil, for example, most researchers believe expert advice has been disregarded. In America, which appears at the bottom of the Frontiers ranking, Donald Trump has dismissed his public-health advisers as “idiots”, mocked face masks and suggested that the disease might be treated with injections of disinfectant.

So there is a relationship, and it even goes in the right direction: more scienceyness gets you fewer deaths. But the scatter is large and the relationship looks weak (I threw in an Excel regression line).


* Speaking of science, the Graun's relentless negativity is notable: "For all its bluster, the UK will continue to be a customer of others’ innovations, not an inventor of its own". What, we're going to invent and innovate nothing? FFS. Of course we're not got to invent everything whatever our idiot gov says, but going to the opposite extreme is cretinous.


Tom said...

There's a nurse in South Dakota that sheds some light on why the USA is what it is and where it is: https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2020/11/16/south-dakota-nurse-intv-newday-vpx.cnn


Team Trump's alternative views often stem from the nation's First Son In Law, who runs the White House Office of American Innovation. Unfortunately, its chief Sciency Guy, Jared Kushner seems hard pressed to distinguish between innovators and people who make up stuff, witness the hydroxychloroquine/disinfectant fiasco and the restaffing of NOAA's upper echelons with loyal lame ducks from political PR outfits like Heartland and CEI

This trend may snowball through Inauguration Day


Old_salt said...

You should label your axes.

Tom said...

Noah, I am so excited to hear the wonderful news that Dr. Akhigbe can enlarge both my dick and my breasts. Perhaps he can also assist me in the treatment of my chronic disease, gullibility. I eagerly await your reply.

William M. Connolley said...

Sorry, Noah and Dr. Akhigbehave been - ZOMG - censored.

Note: for reasons that I've been unable to work out, I don't get emails about comments on *this* blog, until I've commented myself. On one of my other blogs, things are different. Meh. anyway, I usually remember to check back on the posts and ideally post a comment myself, but this time I forgot. Actually, I wonder if I should just post a comment, then delete it, and that would be enough?

Anonymous said...

That's a shame. If plugged into Google, Noah Roland's comment about how Dr Real Akhigbe (aka Dr Zuma Zuk, Dr Uromi, etc) had helped him get his wife back could have taken your readers to all sorts of interesting places.

To, for example, a blogpost at Climate Change News with the splendidly clickbait title 'The Combined Forces of Herpes and Global Warming Are Threatening to Wipe Out the World's Oysters'. That could then have led to an article at SeaFoodSource saying that 'the herpes oyster virus has been good for business', this being because that particular business had coped with the virus better than many competitors had been able to.

A comment about pandemics from that SeaFooodSource article:

"Once the virus is in the environment, it is there for good. It's about learning to live with it and implementing best practice and good biosecurity where possible. We're now four years down the line and we are continuing to fine-tune things to get the best results," he said.

Four years? I hope we get our oysters in a row sooner than that.

Vinny Burgoo