Elections in the US: the scientific community closes ranks against Donald Trump

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The main specialized magazines publish editorials for the first time in centuries asking for a vote against the current president.

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, achieved what no other president had ever achieved before: that the most prestigious scientific journals on the planet for the first in their more than two centuries of history to position themselves against a candidate for the presidency of the country.

The latest to join the anti-Trump movement has followed the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), the quintessential dean medical journal. In its 208 years of existence, it had always stayed out of politics and had never endorsed or condemned a political candidate. And yet this week it publishes an editorial signed by its 34 publishers, 33 of which from the US, in which accuse Trump of turning the coronavirus crisis into a tragedy.

In this way, the NEJM joins another of the most prestigious and influential publications, Scientific American, which in September took an unprecedented initiative and decided openly support the Democratic candidate to the White House, Joe Biden.

“The pandemic would wreak havoc on any nation and system, but Trump’s rejection of (scientific) evidence and public health measures has been catastrophic,” the editorial stated.

Other publications, such as Nature, Science, Lancet, British Medical Journal, JAMA, although they have not published an editorial openly positioning themselves against Trump, they report intensively on the American president’s attacks on science.

Without going further, Nature published on October 5 an article on the disastrous impact of the republican tycoon’s four-year tenure, from the travel ban of scientists, to manned flights into space, to the dire management of the health crisis caused by the coronavirus.

The text assured that the head of the White House had not made science a priority; had proposed massive cuts at many key scientific institutions; it had decided to abandon the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris Agreement to fight climate change. Although it is, surely, his response to the Covid pandemic, denying the scientific evidence, which has led the magazines to react.

On Friday, October 2, while the head of the White House was admitted to a military hospital with coronavirus, an investigation by Cornell University accused him of being “probably the main driver” of misinformation about the pandemic in the media .

The study “Disinformation of the coronavirus: Quantification of sources and topics in the ‘infodemic’ Covid-19” analyzed more than 38 million pieces of information in English published between January 1 and May 26 by traditional media around the world .

The research, prepared by experts from Cornell University, located in Ithaca, in the state of New York, identified more than 1.1 million news stories about the pandemic.

“It is especially notable that while disinformation and conspiracy theories propagated by ostensibly popular sources, such as anti-vaccination groups, 5G opponents, and political extremists, appear in our analysis on several of the topics, they contributed much less to the overall volume of misinformation than more powerful actors, in particular the president of the United States”Says the document.

Mentions of Trump, the researchers noted, constitute by far “the largest component of the ‘infodemic’,” a term used by the World Health Organization (WHO) to refer to the “excessive amount of information” that makes it difficult to for people to find reliable sources and credible guidance when they need it, in this case on the pandemic.

“This reinforces the conclusion that the president of the United States was probably the biggest driver of misinformation of the Covid-19”, pointed out the analysis, which indicated that mentions of Trump reached “37.9% of the total of the ‘infodemic ‘”.

Source: The vanguard and EFE

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