Interview: Angela Saini

The science journalist and author tells Ben Horton of the difficulty in navigating uncertainty about Covid when policymakers require clear answers

The World Today
5 minute READ

We are sitting in our respective homes, waiting for the gradual lifting of the third COVID-19 lockdown in Britain. It feels like everyone I speak to is talking about R numbers and herd immunity and comparing different versions of the official statistics. What has the pandemic revealed about public understandings of science?

For a long time the media has treated science as a ‘nice to have’ addition. It’s about new discoveries, it’s kind of fun and it hasn’t been taken seriously. The past year has revealed how important it is to have thorough, interrogative science reporting. I think sometimes the public imagines – and certainly even I imagined when I was younger – that science is a set of facts, and that when scientists publish a paper it represents a kind of unvarnished truth entering the world. 

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