Science communication is a political project, even if you don’t like to admit it

“in the book Zimmer argues that evolution need not have any ideological or political implications—after all, science is not political. That this seems true to exactly none of the actors in the conflict he recounts—from the red-state legislators to the school administrators—does not disturb the placidity of Zimmer’s analysis. His subsequent books on politically weighted science topics (most notably those involving neuroscience and heredity) are uniformly erudite, charming, and—above all—impenetrably sealed off from difficult political questions. For all its encomiums to the empirical, in the end this kind of commitment to an idealistic bit can survive the threat of reality only one way: by escaping it.”

A Virus Without a World: The politics of science writing

Now it gets more difficult

From the University of Melbourne’s Vaccine Hesitancy Tracker:

Vaccine hesitancy across Australia has fallen from 21.8% on 7th August to 20.3% on 20th August

This fall is concentrated amongst those who were previously unsure, with 8.6% unsure on 20th August compared to 9.8% two weeks earlier. The percentage unwilling to be vaccinated has not changed much in the past month

Vaccine hesitancy in NSW is still the lowest in Australia. However, hesitancy has increased slightly in NSW despite the continuing rise in cases of COVID-19, from 17.3% on 7th August to 18% on 20th August

In NSW over the last two weeks, more people are unwilling to be vaccinated (from 9.2% to 11.8%) and fewer are unsure (from 8.1% to 6.2%). Those who are unsure are more likely to be influenced by incentives. More information can be found in this Research Insight article

Source: Vaccine Hesitancy Tracker

Who could have seen this?

An interesting post on Social behavior and the covid pandemic, but the last bit of this quote jumped out at me:

But here’s the thing: what 2010-era sociologist or political scientist would have predicted that a major global pandemic would occur in the next several decades, that an almost miraculous search for an effective vaccine would be successful in an amazingly short period — and that the pandemic and vaccine would become a political issue leading to mass refusal to vaccinate? All global epidemiologists believed the first proposition — that pandemic would occur sometime; some biological researchers thought that vaccine creation could advance quickly; but I can’t think of any respected political scientist or sociologist who would have predicted the massive movement that has emerged against vaccination and the politicization of the spread of the virus. 

Social behavior and the covid pandemic – Understanding Society

I can’t think of many social scientists working in vaccination who haven’t been thinking about this for at least a decade.

More than 50 long-term effects of COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis

More evidence and research from multi-disciplinary teams are crucial to understanding the causes, mechanisms, and risks to develop preventive measures, rehabilitation techniques, and clinical management strategies with whole-patient perspectives designed to address the after-COVID-19 care. There is a need for more information about prospective studies to better evaluate the natural course of COVID-19 infection and define the long- COVID-19 syndrome. From the clinical point of view, physicians should be aware of the symptoms, signs, and biomarkers present in patients previously affected by COVID-19 to promptly assess, identify and halt long COVID-19 progression, minimize the risk of chronic effects help reestablish pre-COVID-19 health. Management of all these effects requires further understanding to design individualized, dynamic cross-sectoral interventions in Post-COVID-19 clinics with multiple specialties, including graded exercise, physical therapy, frequent medical evaluations, and cognitive behavioral therapy when required
— Read on www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-95565-8

US Office of Climate Change and Health Equity

If I reflect back on when I started in public health, most people were actively hostile to the concept of health equity and global heating was regarded as a fringe issue of marginal significance. How much things have changed when the US DHHS sets up an Office of Climate Change and Health Equity. Even if it’s a small, under-resourced unit, its very existence has meaning.

“The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall … establish an Office of Climate Change and Health Equity to address the impact of climate change on the health of the American people,” – Source

Stories from the frontlines in South Western Sydney drive calls for innovative mental health solutions

Community messages, Belmore, South Western Sydney. Photo by Cate Carrigan

An important Croakey post by Cate Carrigan on the myriad mental health impacts of the current lockdown, and subsequent effects on mental health services.

Kids with mild to moderate mental health conditions and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are being smashed by anxiety and effects of remote learning. Younger kids in particular, where the non-academic value of school is in socialisation forming and sustaining friendships etc. We’ll have a whole generation of kids set back by this. Don’t even get me started in kids with severe ASD, ADHD, eating disorders, anxiety, mood disorders or schizophrenia
— a psychiatrist practising in South Western Sydney

Read at www.croakey.org/shocking-stories-from-the-frontlines-drive-calls-for-innovative-mental-health-solutions/