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Lectures

Wrong, but Useful – for Whom? The Politics of Pandemic Modeling

This article is part of the following series:

On March 17th, after a tepid initial COVID-19 response, Prime Minister Boris Johnson began encouraging citizens to avoid non-essential social contact. President Donald Trump followed suit, introducing travel bans and social distancing policies. These responses marked the beginnings of drastic and unprecedented government measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the United States and the United Kingdom.

A major …

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Lectures

Go Suppress Yourself | A Chronicle

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In December 2019, reports emerged of a pneumonia of unknown origin in the city of Wuhan, China. A week into 2020, a novel pathogen was identified–– “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2” (SARS-CoV-2), a new coronavirus. The novel virus is highly similar in structure and sequence to the first SARS coronavirus (2003). After entering the body, typically through the mucus …

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Lectures

Epidemiological Publics? On the Domestication of Modelling in the era of COVID-19

This article is part of the following series:

The COVID-19 pandemic has been called “a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco” (Ioannides, 2020), while the editor of the Lancet has declared that “the handling of the COVID-19 crisis in the UK is the most serious science policy failure in a generation” (Horton, 2020). At the heart of the science policy is mathematical modelling, a scientific activity once reserved for mathematicians, epidemiologists …

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Model Evidence – the COVID-19 case

Following the foot and mouth epizootic events in Great Britain in 2001, a veterinary practitioner famously described the subsequent disease control measures as ‘carnage by computer’.  An epidemiological model developed by a team at Imperial College, London, had effectively sanctioned, she argued, the mass slaughter of animals on farms that adjoined or shared a boundary with infected premises, even if …

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