Guest opinion: When it comes to COVID, trust the scientists
As the new academic year is underway with all its nuances imposed by COVID-19, my wife and I find ourselves assisting our grandson as he starts the second grade online. He is learning about the “scientific method” and doing experiments.
It seems some of us forgot what it is as we grew up. In case you did forget, let me remind you. The scientific method is a way to search for answers to questions. The steps are to 1) Make an observation, 2) Ask a question about what you observed, 3) Propose an answer to your question (a hypothesis), 4) Conduct a study to test your hypothesis and gather data, 5) Analyze the data, 6) Report the results and conclusions of your analysis. Your initial hypothesis may be wrong, but it leads to more questions and to correct answers.
When COVID-19 first struck the world, scientists had never observed this virus before. They observed it was spreading quickly, making people sick and people were dying. Scientists began asking questions about the disease such as: how does it spread, who does it affect, how can we prevent its spread, and how can we prevent one from acquiring the disease? Scientists sought answers to their questions. They created hypotheses and conducted studies. They gathered data, analyzed it and reported on it.
Now after seven months, a lot more information about the virus is known. Scientists learned that not all of their initial conclusions were correct. They revised their conclusions and reported them to the public. For example, it was initially thought, before the transmission of the virus was known, that a mask would not help in preventing one from acquiring the virus. After several months of careful study, we now know that the virus can be transmitted through the air. In addition, the conclusion from more studies is that wearing a mask can not only prevent people from being infected, but it can prevent people who have the disease from transmitting it to others. We also learned from scientists using the scientific method that unlike with the flu virus, there are people with COVID-19 who have no symptoms, yet they can spread the virus. As more data accumulated on infection rates, it showed that the disease does not discriminate — it infects not only older people and compromised individuals, but it also can infect people of any age, gender, socioeconomic group, religious affiliation or political party.
We learned from scientists using the “scientific method” that to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we must do our part as citizens of these United States to protect ourselves, our families and communities. We must 1) Wear a mask in public, 2) Engage in social distancing and 3) Wash our hands frequently.
Only then will we be able to conquer this highly infectious and deadly disease.
As the cases of COVID-19 reach their highest levels ever in Utah and across the U.S., we must remember what we learned about the “scientific method,” believe in science and trust our scientists.
As the new school year begins, masks and social distancing are a must for our most treasured children and for the teachers with whom we entrust our children for several hours a day. For those students in class, basic safety measures are a necessity. Parents, grandparents and teachers working together must ensure our children’s safety in today’s environment. Me — I will be with my grandson while he learns virtually.
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