Prof Francois Balloux: the climate of fear on Covid is dangerous
Freddie Sayers discusses the Covid pandemic with the renowned professor
Since the start of the pandemic, the debate over Covid restrictions has grown increasingly acrimonious. As both sides have dug their heels in, one person that has tried to keep himself above the fray is Prof Francois Balloux, Director of the UCL Genetics Institute and Professor of Computational Systems Biology at University College London.
He is typically grouped with the lockdown sceptics, but Prof Balloux has so far managed to retain the respect of both sides. Earlier this week, we caught up with Francois to discuss his thoughts on the pandemic, what kind of strategy he would like to see implemented, and why fear poses such a threat to society. Hope you enjoy.
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I was interested about Freddie’s comments on the various countries and that response has much to do with our attitude to our politicians. I wonder if he meant our attitude to politicians in general or specifically our attitude to the politicians we have at the moment.
I have over seven months listened to all of the interviews on Unherd and read many others, as it is only by listening to the opinons based upon the work of many scientists that we can educate ourselves about this virus, and it is only by education that a rational, behavourial response is engendered.
So much is to be gained by this as governments need to govern in as educated way as is possible, and if this has not been established, then the lack of so doing will commute to the people in unknowing, indecision, and fear.
The theme central to Prof. Balloux seems to suggest just this, as he is to the point of emploring that rational decisions can only be made within a context of educated consensual opinion and historical evidence.
A Berliner I met last week for an hour while passing through London remarked upon the ‘grimness’ of atmosphere here compared to Berlin, which I think links to what Balloux said about peoples faith in their governments – for the most part the Germans back their government. Sadly the virus in the UK has exposed the dichotomy and split in our society by underlining the inadequacies in our political institutional design, so to in many countries.
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