Pandemic reveals a deficit in readiness: Expert
THE COVID-19 crisis illustrates the way governments have let down their people by misunderstanding and underfunding science, according to a JCU scientist.
Professor Geoffrey Dobson from the University's College of Medicine and Dentistry says despite warnings of the dangers of a pandemic since 2015, the current virus has shown major deficits in our preparedness.
He said the public had been let down by a lack of support for early warning programs and vaccine development, a lack of sufficient funding.
"For decades, politicians have told the public how their country is leading science, innovation and technology," he said. "But they failed to support these claims with funding.
"There is now a lack of job security for scientists and subsequently a declining interest in the next generation to pursue a career in science."
Prof Dobson said scientists, universities and research institutions were in "survival mode" as a result, and hopes the current pandemic will drive home the important role of universities and the need for better funding schemes.
He said a misunderstood and critical aspect of science was that a "truth" or "fact" in science was an evidence-based statement, certainly open to debate generated by other evidence-based theories, but not just a subjective feeling or an impression.
"In my 30 years as a scientist I have never heard the word 'science' mentioned as many times as I have since February, nor have I witnessed to such an extent its credibility being blindly attacked for political gain," he said.
Originally published as Pandemic reveals a deficit in readiness