Coronavirus (979) Lancet COVID-19 Commission Statement

15 September, 2020

Dear HIFA colleagues,

Selected extracts below. Full text here: https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S0140-6736%2820%2931927-9

CITATION: Lancet COVID-19 Commission Statement on the occasion of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly

The Lancet COVID-19 Commissioners, Task Force Chairs, and Commission Secretariat

Published Online September 14, 2020

https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31927-9

'It is extremely important that the research into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 should proceed expeditiously, and in a scientific and objective way that is unhindered by geopolitical agendas and misinformation.

'One reason for failure to suppress the epidemic is a style of political leadership that has been called medical populism; Lasco has described political leaders as “simplifying the pandemic by downplaying its impacts or touting easy solutions or treatments, spectacularizing their responses to crisis, forging divisions between the ‘people’ and dangerous ‘others’, and making medical knowledge claims to support the above”. Lasco makes three cases in point: the US President, Donald Trump, the Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, and the Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro. We call on governments to prioritise advice from the professional public health community, working in cooperation with international agencies and learning from the best practices of other nations. All countries should combat decisions based on rumour-mongering and misinformation. Leaders should desist from expressing personal viewpoints that are at odds with science.

'Section 11: the work of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission going forward

117. This Statement summarises the views and recommendations of the Lancet Commission on COVID-19 on current key issues related to the worldwide pandemic as of mid-September, 2020. In the coming months, the Commission will develop a portfolio of COVID-19 metrics to track how the recommendations herein are being implemented, and will report on them quarterly...

118. The Commission will also consider recommendations on how to counter misinformation on science, not only with regard to COVID-19, but also concerning other related issues'

The full text includes 12 uses of the word 'misinformation' and none of the word 'infodemic'.

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org