Learning from COVID-19: A 23-Nation Comparative Study of COVID-19 Response, with Lessons for the Future of Public Health (Synthesis Report)

Pinned Publication

CompCoRe Interim Report

Sheila Jasanoff, Stephen Hilgartner, J. Benjamin Hurlbut, Onur Özgöde, Margarita Rayzberg

This 121-page report is the first major publication of Comparative Covid Response: Crisis, Knowledge, Politics (CompCoRe) – a cross-national study of the policy responses of 16 countries across five continents. It provides a preliminary distillation of the study’s initial findings. Led by a team based at Harvard, Cornell and Arizona State Universities, CompCoRe is a collaborative undertaking involving more than 60 researchers from around the world. Read more

Was “science” on the ballot?

Vol. 371, Issue 6532, pp. 893-894. DOI: 10.1126/science.abf8762

Stephen Hilgartner, J. Benjamin Hurlbut, Sheila Jasanoff

On 7 November 2020, moments before Kamala Harris and Joe Biden began their victory speeches, giant screens flanking the stage proclaimed, “The people have chosen science.” Yet, nearly 74 million Americans, almost half the voters, had cast their ballots for Donald Trump, thereby presumably not choosing science. Prominent scientists asserted that “science was on the ballot” and lamented that “a significant portion of America doesn’t want science” (1) Read more

CompCoRe Synthesis Report

Sheila Jasanoff, Stephen Hilgartner, Wilmot James, Lyal White

This short report draws on two studies—the CompCoRe Interim Report and a report by our African affiliate—that together include 23 countries on six continents. It provides preliminary insights into why COVID-19 has produced different outcomes in different places, how policymakers can better manage national responses in the months ahead, and what we must do to strengthen national and global systems for future health emergencies. Read more

Learning from COVID-19: A 23-Nation Comparative Study of COVID-19 Response, with Lessons for the Future of Public Health

Pathologies of Liberty: Public Health Sovereignty and the Political Subject in the Covid-19 Crisis

Cahiers Droit, Sciences & Technologies
11, pp. 125-149. DOI: 10.4000/cdst.2252

Sheila Jasanoff

This paper discusses the diverse grounds on which litigation during the Covid-19 pandemic tested the nature and limits of power in a public health system that has long functioned like a state within a state. The pandemic revealed a tension between human beings as biomedical subjects, more acted upon than acting, and as social and political subjects, more acting than acted upon. In the regime of what this paper calls public health sovereignty, people are required to observe potentially severe restraints on liberty in the name of the common good and are governed by the disciplinary mechanisms of biopower described by Michel Foucault. Read more

Trouble in the trough: how uncertainties were downplayed in the UK’s science advice on Covid-19

Humanities and Social Sciences Communications
7, Article number: 122. DOI: 10.1057/s41599-020-00612-w

Warren Pearce

The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has forced science advisory institutions and processes into an unusually prominent role, and placed their decisions under intense public, political and media scrutiny. In the UK, much of the focus has been on whether the government was too late in implementing its lockdown policy, resulting in thousands of unnecessary deaths. Some experts have argued that this was the result of poor data being fed into epidemiological models in the early days of the pandemic, resulting in inaccurate estimates of the virus’s doubling rate. Read more

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