Strongly held belief systems largely untethered from data give rise to exponential increases in COVID-19 infection rates

A previous post is concerned with the value of a data-oriented approach toward COVID-19. The current post focuses on approaches that tend to ignore data based on public health research.

Prevention of further escalation of a crisis

A Dec. 7, 2020 CBC article is entitled: “Southern Alberta churches, residents file court challenge to COVID-19 rules as cases surge: Constitutional law expert says the application has little hope of succeeding.”

An excerpt reads:

Adams said it’s not required that governments have absolute proof that each public health measure is effective or necessary when they are trying to stave off consequences that would dwarf harms caused by the restriction of rights, such as limiting social gatherings or requiring masks to be worn.

Non-enforcement of health or emergency orders

A Dec. 7, 2020 Associated Press article is entitled: “As virus slams rural California, many still pan restrictions.”

An excerpt reads:

In a pre-Thanksgiving Facebook post, Shasta County Sheriff Eric Magrini asked people to be responsible but said he “will not be enforcing the compliance of any health or emergency orders related to curfews, stay at home orders, Thanksgiving or other social gatherings” or mask mandates. Several sheriffs in other areas have made similar statements.

In Sutter County, “we’re not running around arresting people, so it’s all about personal responsibility,” said Smith of the COVID-19 response center. “But can you tell me a law enforcement agency anywhere in California that is enforcing this?”

Fringe theories

A Dec. 8, 2020 New York Times article is entitled: “Elevating Fringe Theories, Ron Johnson Questions Virus Science: The Wisconsin Republican has transformed his Senate panel into a forum for amplifying dubious theories and questionable treatments pushed by President Trump.”

An excerpt reads:

Mr. Johnson’s inflammatory public statements and his decision to give a platform to an assortment of contrarian doctors promoting alternative treatments have also irked some fellow Republicans, who have privately groused that he is acting irresponsibly. But in the clubby Senate, few are willing to criticize a colleague openly or challenge a chairman on how he runs his committee.

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