COVID–19 My Predictions Part 6–Rejection of Science
“The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.” Bertrand Russell
“Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.” Adam Smith
COVID-19 Prediction number 6 – Science will be rejected
Full disclosure. I actually wrote this a few weeks ago before people began to protest some of the more draconian stay at home orders. Events overtook my "prediction", so from your perspective this will be more of an observation.
Have you noticed how many times people mention “science” right before they reject it? Wise leaders know that the best decisions are made when input is received from experts with different backgrounds. The immunologist may have expertise on virus replication, but whatever they propose need to be assessed by a wide variety of experts from other disciplines.
We live in an adult world, and adult decisions need to be made. It is a childish argument to say, “no one must get infected!”. It is an adult decision to weigh the benefits of a quarantine against the cost of an economic shutdown.
And yet we see childish rejection of science all around us. Here are a few examples.
We know that COVID-19 is particularly virulent in older people with compromised immune systems. In one state nursing homes went into quarantine very early, and that state had a low mortality rate. One state rejected the science and actually ordered nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patents! That state become the epicenter of the outbreak in the US.
One state banned the purchase of gardening supplies. They would allow the stores to be open for other items, but you could not buy seeds or plants. What science was that based on?
Some states closed parks. Parks? It is scientifically proven that sunshine kills the COVID-19 virus and that exercise boosts your immune system. But they closed the parks anyway.
Where I live, you can take your boat out for, and I quote: "fishing to feed yourself or your family." But recreational boating is "prohibited". How can you possibly be more socially distanced than on a boat in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay? What science is that based on?
Children have been proven to be almost completely unaffected by the virus. They are not good hosts so they tend to not catch it, nor do they seem transmit it to others. So why are all the schools closed? Because of “science”?
The New York Times recently reported that COVID19 testing indicated that an many as 2.7 Million New York residents may have had the disease and had NO symptoms! At the time of the article there were approximately 289,000 confirmed cases and approximately 23,000 deaths. It appears that less than 10% of the people who were infected had symptoms! That means that the COVID-19 is exceptionally viral and even our current draconian quarantine measures will not work.
So why are some places keeping them in place?
Did you know that hospitals are furloughing doctors and nurses? In the middle of a pandemic! Why? Because outpatient and elective services are banned. "Elective" means surgery which can be delayed. So replacing your hip, fixing you heart valve or correcting your vision are not going to happened. As a result, hospitals are shutting down and people are suffering. What science is that based on?
Peoples reaction to all of this is anger and frustration. Peaceful protests are occurring in several states and the Attorney General has commented about the need to protect peoples Constitutional Rights.
My father once told me that you can learn more from a bad leader than you can from a good one. For all of us entrusted with leadership positions, we need to pay attention to what worked and what didn't. We also need to carefully assess the opinions of our experts and make sure our decisions are rational.
Next week will be the final in the series. I'll be getting back to Project Management basics, starting with the Talent Triangle.
I recently did a webinar where I provided tips on managing remote teams, and I was exceptionally pleased with the quality and topics of the questions. Everyone was focused on getting work done efficiently. That same week I held a conference call with my entire organization of approximately 500 people. We were openly discussing what the future held for our industry. Those questions were extraordinarily high quality and focused on the work. If you watch too much TV, you start to lose faith. But, if you talk to the people that make things work, you are amazed at their tenacity and dedication!