The contributions of the scientific and academic community, as well as the health unions, are essential in a time of pandemic as much as the urgency of what we are going through, despite the fact that its relationship to politics is very complex, especially when it is. The latter is unable to understand that knowledge is the raw material, the essence of the task, and only politics can be obeyed.
Brazil is a symbolic case of contempt for science and the recommendations of doctors and health professionals. Mexico also and the United States itself with Trump. In Chile, we haven’t reached these extremes, but it is indisputable that the constant communication between science and public policy has not been very good in the past 14 months, and earlier this week it reached a critical point, when medical school was on Covid-19 schedule Social “for the reckless decisions of the government during the pandemic, which led to a new lack of control over the transmission of the virus, affecting the lives and consequences of thousands of people.”
In its general statement, the union recalled initiatives that were not consulted or whose opinion was not taken into account that led to more injuries and weakening of the hospital network, such as the recent “mobility permit”, in addition to leave without appropriate conditions, and the opening of borders in the context of the emergence of new variables and licensing the operation of casinos, malls and restaurants in the high-risk stages.
The departure of the main union leader in this health crisis is dangerous and does not respond to the politicization of his role, nor to a desire to have a leadership role for his leaders, as some government-related sectors wanted to show. The protest signal that this decline has been shared by professionals across the country, and based on the nonsense sharing in a situation has little or no impact on health decisions affecting the entire country.
Let’s agree that politics is not only a matter of data and rational decision making, and it should not be. In addition to the fact that data often contain a certain degree of uncertainty, political sentiments and emotions are also determinants. Data, facts and reason do not have to be the only participants in political decision-making, but if ignored, these decisions will certainly be wrong.
Public policy can and should go beyond data, but start from it, and not without doing so. Reality can change, but you know. When the government underestimates the role of science or the role of medical school, it helps destroy an indispensable tool for knowing reality and solving problems.
Therefore, science does not replace public policy or vice versa.
How we make sure, then, that politicians’ decisions are the right decisions, with proper weighting of science and knowledge, is perhaps the most relevant question this pandemic poses. The answer, of common sense, can be found in Plato, 2,400 years ago: “Let us be guided by those who know.”