One headline has stayed with me: ‘Science was on the ballot’ – and public health lost. In an article published the morning after the election, STAT news reported:
“Results…underscore just how many Americans agree with a president who has called the nation’s top scientists “idiots,” openly mocked mask-wearing, and has insisted states must be “liberated” from lockdowns. … That leaves public health officials to grapple with hard, existential questions: How can they forge new relationships with this huge swath of the country as the pandemic continues to unfold? Where does the public health field go from here?”
STAT gathered eight different interviewees’ perspectives. Take a look.
Before the election, many Americans said they were weary of pandemic news. A week after the election, many now say they are weary of political news. Record numbers in hot spots – as this New York Times map depicts – demand that the coronavirus captures news, public and policymaker attention again.
Meantime, the FDA, which has been questioned frequently on pandemic-related issues,now faces new questions on an Alzheimer’s disease drug review.An FDA official had said that the evidence for the drug, aducanumab, was “substantial” and “highly persuasive.” Not so, according to an FDA advisory panel. Almost all of the 11 panelists voted that the data were insufficient to show that the drug was effective. The New York Times reportedthat one panelist was “very disturbed” that the FDA seemed to be “starting out with the assumption that the treatment works” and that the FDA seemed “weighted” toward the drug company, adding that “all of this was just terrifically one-sided.”
In summary, while it is a time to heal, it is also a time for new analysis of public health priorities and for federal health agency scrutiny. This is no time to look the other way while the federal government is in transition.
Addendum: later this same morning, STAT published: