15 de març 2021

COVID epistemology

 Why Does the Pandemic Seem to Be Hitting Some Countries Harder Than Others?

And there lies an epidemiological mystery. The usual trend of death from infectious diseases—malaria, typhoid, diphtheria, H.I.V.—follows a dismal pattern. Lower-income countries are hardest hit, with high-income countries the least affected. But if you look at the pattern of covid-19 deaths reported per capita—deaths, not infections—Belgium, Italy, Spain, the United States, and the United Kingdom are among the worst off.

This is the unfixed conundrum explained by Siddhartha Mukherjee in The New Yorker, And no clear answer, you may read the whole article to confirm it.

 The covid-19 pandemic will teach us many lessons—about virological surveillance, immunology, vaccine development, and social policy, among other topics. One of the lessons concerns not just epidemiology but also epistemology: the theory of how we know what we know. Epidemiology isn’t physics. Human bodies are not Newtonian bodies. When it comes to a crisis that combines social and biological forces, we’ll do well to acknowledge the causal patchwork. What’s needed isn’t Ockham’s razor but Ockham’s quilt.

Above all, what’s needed is humility in the face of an intricately evolving body of evidence. The pandemic could well drift or shift into something that defies our best efforts to model and characterize it. 


Great documentary, on Knoedle gallery fake art