COVID-19 as a case study of the tension between politics and science, evidence and practice, healthcare and economics.

Jean Karl Soler

Keywords: COVID-19, EBM, politics, economics, healthcare

In 2019, a novel coronavirus and the threat of a global pandemic was met by unprecedented measures recommended by public health organisations, but influenced by major political pressures. The social, economic, political and healthcare policy impacts of such measures was not always in line with prior healthcare policy and the available scientific literature. A review of the assumptions which drove such policy decisions, and the empirical evidence on the effectiveness of such measures is both timely and essential.

Research questions:
1. To review available literature on the effectiveness of public health measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic
2. To review empirical evidence of the effect of such measures on mortality and morbidity during 2020 and beyond
3. To reflect on the interaction between politics and science, evidence and practice, healthcare and economics

A review and presentation of the highest level evidence available on the effects of public health interventions, and especially lockdowns and vaccination programmes, and their benefits and harms.

A review of the evidence available and a discussion of the interaction between evidence and practice in a broad context.

The critical review and discussion of available and emerging evidence on the effectiveness of such unprecedented measures undertaken in an exceptional pandemic will throw light on how evidence, science and healthcare may and did interact with politics, policy, social factors and economics, thus informing future decisions in such situations.

Points for discussion:
1. Discussion of the evidence for and against lockdown measures,

2. Discussion of the effects, harms, benefits and costs of lockdown measures,

3. Discussion on the optimal interaction between science, politics and economics.