Practicing what you preach

It has always been an unfair image, pandemic experts who were portrayed as daredevils to whom different rules apply. Overblown attention to incidents of experts receiving a girlfriend at home during lockdown, or temporarily putting their mask aside while riding a bus, has fueled this view further.

An unfair image, and wrong too, a recent survey of The New York Times shows. The paper asked a group of 511 American epidemiologists and other infection disease specialists about their personal expectations of ‘back to normal’. The group was specifically asked when they themselves would resume 20 usual activities.

The outcome shows a diverse group with, if anything, a more cautious attitude than ordinary Americans. 60% would now make nonurgent medical appointments; 40% would not mind seeing a hairdresser this summer. But other activities meet with more resistance. Not more than 30% would already send their children back to school or summer camp, 15% prefers to delay this by a year or more. Only 17% would attend a wedding or funeral within the next 3 months; 42% would wait a year or longer. Handshakes? ‘Real epidemiologists don’t shake hands‘ (T. Christopher Bond). For more interesting quotes and details:

When 511 Epidemiologists Expect to Fly, Hug and Do 18 Other Everyday Activities Again, The New York Times, June 8, 2020