Science? We don’t need no stinking science!

The Supreme Court ruling against New York state's decision to limit religious gatherings in a few high-incidence parts of New York City during the Covid-19 pandemic will cause grave danger in the rest of the country, where public health authorities will feel hamstrung to restrict religious gatherings even when the virus is spreading out of control, writes Jeffrey Sachs.

Lesson from the past

From the NYT: “But America’s experience with polio should give us pause, not hope. The first effective polio vaccine followed decades of research and testing. Once fully tested, it was approved with record speed. Then there were life-threatening manufacturing problems. Distribution problems followed. Political fights broke out. After several years, enough Americans were vaccinated that cases plummeted — but they persisted in poor communities for over a decade. Polio’s full story should make us wary of promises that we will soon have the coronavirus under control with a vaccine. …

“Granted, there are countless differences between the fight against the coronavirus and the long-ago fight against polio. The global capacity for vaccine research and development is far greater than it was in the 1950s. Drug approval and manufacturing safety protocols have been refined since then, too. Already, just months into the current pandemic, there are far more vaccines in development against the coronavirus than there ever were against polio.”