Covid-19 Unmasked: The News, The Science, And Common Sense

Winfried Just,

Covid-19 Unmasked: The News, The Science, And Common Sense
 
 
How can we keep up with the deluge of information about COVID-19 and tell which parts are most important and trustworthy?We read: 'Scientists recommend', 'Experts warn', 'A new model predicts'. How do scientific experts come up with their recommendations? What do their predictions really mean for us, for our friends, and our families?How can we make rational decisions? And how can we have sensible conversations about the pandemic when we disagree?These are the questions that this book is trying to address.It is written in the form of dialogues. Alice, a student of epidemiology, explains the science to three of her fellow students who have a lot of questions for her. The students have the same concerns that we all share to varying degrees: What the pandemic is doing to our health, our economy, and our cherished freedoms. In their conversations, they discover how the science relates to these questions.The book focuses on epidemiology, the science of how infections spread and how the spread can be mitigated. The science of how many infections can be prevented by certain kinds of actions. This is what we need to understand if we want to act wisely, as individuals and as a society.The author's goal is to help the reader think about the COVID-19 pandemic like an epidemiologist. About the various preventive measures, what they are trying to accomplish, what the obstacles are. About what is likely to be most effective in the long run at moderate economic and personal cost. About the likely consequences of personal decisions. About how to best protect oneself and others while allowing all of us to lead lives that are as close as possible to normal.While some chapters present slightly more advanced material than others, no scientific background is needed to follow the conversations. The technical concepts are explained in small steps and the occasional calculations in the book require only high-school mathematics.


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