There is nothing impolite about stating the reality that scientists offer a perspective and I applaud your willingness to state the potential problem you see in the dialogue. Allowing pride to impede our ability to cooperate would only hurt us more. Any single expertise is unlikely to have the answer in this crisis.

This is the reason that think-tanks informing policy recommendations often include economists, anthropologists, medical doctors, international public health professionals, infectious disease epidemiologists, intelligence agents, human rights lawyers, politicians, policy analysts, and historians (who offer some of the most valuable commentary — one in particular who has continually added to my understanding is a doctor of medical history), more. Society vastly undervalues the asset that historians are to us, and in all sincerity, I appreciate your perspective on this situation.

I am not a decision-maker in this case, so my expertise — or lack thereof because I am but a student — has little to do with my assertion. It would be a grievous error on anyone’s part to draw conclusions that flow from the input of one field.

The policy recommendations in this crisis were informed by those much greater in knowledge, across fields of study, who engaged in exchange of ideas with other fields allowing them to gain the perspective in those fields.

Most importantly, to return to the first post to which you responded, I’m uncertain how that relates to the conclusion that we have faired poorly, especially relative to our wealth and technological capacity.

The objections raised concerning the size of our nation, don’t relate to the key errors that hurt us. Rather than pointing out why you believe I’m incorrect, it would be more fruitful for you to make an argument and support it, so everyone can understand what the assertion is and what affirms it. Critically, adding context to these would be helpful:

  1. Economists, historians, public health experts, medical doctors, and social workers all agreed that unified early action had the best hope of saving the economy long term. Despite this and notice given to all politicians on Feb 5, we did not see that.
  2. Long after virologists, public health experts, intelligence agents, medical doctors, health security experts and, most importantly, infectious disease epidemiologists concurred that the virus was likely already here, testing remained restricted to people with a history of travel. That is, multiple fields agreed that this was likely here, but federal restrictions kept testing exclusive to those with a travel history/exposure to known cases. In the weeks from Feb 5 to March 4th and 9th when testing broadened the virus quietly spread far and wide. It was spreading like wildfire and we could not prove it.

I’m open and willing to hear what you have to say on the subject, but please do specifically address these concerns because interdisciplinary dialogue informed them and offering a counter conclusion is much more valuable than simply telling someone they have it wrong.

Public health biologist studying at Johns Hopkins | Science writer & artist | Views reflect me alone | Subscribe @

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