EDITORIAL: Let the science guide

Image courtesy: Namibia Fact Check / Canva

Why is it so difficult to just listen to and follow sound advice, even as it continually evolves?

Namibia Fact Check editor, Frederico Links

People like simple, easy explanations or answers for things they don’t understand or in times of uncertainty. Such answers are not always or mostly possible or even correct, but the impulse is understandable.

Occurrences such as pandemics do not come with simple, easy answers. The scientific knowledge evolves as more is learned about what is happening, and so the answers evolve continuously. So, there’s nothing strange about scientific and medical advice changing as insights and understanding deepen.

Like many countries before and with us, Namibia is entering a critical phase of its COVID-19 outbreak, and it’s crucial that we listen to and follow sound evidence-backed scientific advice as infections rise rapidly and deaths start to mount.

So, now is not the time to lose our heads.

And it certainly is not a time to turn our backs on sound advice and warnings form health authorities, even if we are suspicious of those authorities over past and longstanding actions and practices.

That is not to deny that Namibia has a trust crisis around its institutions, including health institutions. It’s simply to say that we can have our very valid grievances and gripes, but let’s give our health authorities – the health ministry, advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – the benefit of the doubt in this situation at this time.

For what other choice do we have … falling prey to the pseudo-scientific crowd, the conspiracy theorists, the disinformation agents and the hoaxers with their scams and fake remedies.

Without intending to sound alarmist, this really is a life-and-death situation we are now pressingly facing, so there really should be no place for the Trump-loving, demon-sperm-diagnosing, hydroxychloroquine-pushing Stella Immanuels in our consideration.

As Namibia’s COVID-19 situation grows more severe, let’s embrace science and facts and let’s listen to what the experts have to say. Not doing so could have dire personal and community consequences.

Courtesy: World Health Organisation (WHO)