Pandemic Exit Interviews: Stop panicking about the COVID-19 variants, says UCSF’s Monica Gandhi

Dr. Monica Gandhi is not your typical epidemiologist in the era of COVID-19. While the vast majority of experts in her field call for the most stringent business closures and other mitigation measures, Gandhi – a professor of medicine at UCSF – has called for a “harm reduction” approach that also considers other risks beyond COVID-19 infection when making public policy. That view has not been a popular one among policymakers and experts in her city and state. But Gandhi is confident that one day, she’ll be vindicated. “I have been surprised by the party lines that were drawn in terms of how to respond to pandemic, as opposed to having everyone take in new data as it comes, incorporate the data and then make decisions that can change over time,” [said Gandhi]. “It seems that we decided early on that there’s only one way to respond, and any dissent from standard messaging was met with dismay and criticism. For example, in terms of the winter lockdown in California, I was dismayed by the degree of profound shutdowns for outdoor playgrounds, outdoor dining and also this idea that no one from two households could see each other.” And when I spoke out about that, I took a lot of criticism. My impulse in speaking out came out of a concern for the economic situations of the working class and the impacts on health that come from economic insecurity. And those questions of, “How are they going to feed their families?” were met by scientific community with, “We’ll deal with that later.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and income inequality from reliable major media sources.

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Author: {Want To Know}