Professor Lincoln: Social Scientists Are Missing Link of Biden COVID Strategy

Monday, November 30, 2020
Illustration of medical worker holding large syringe toward coronavirus scared-faces
Illustration by Alexandra Koch/Pixabay

THE HILL -- Martha Lincoln is assistant professor of Anthropology at San Francisco State University and a member of the Scholars Strategy Network. She wrote this opinion piece for The Hill.

“A truly effective, truly ‘all-of-society’ pandemic response by the incoming administration will require strategies informed by social science,” Lincoln wrote. “The president-elect has promised that his administration’s pandemic response will be built ‘on a bedrock of science.’ In order for that to pay off, the administration should dedicate new funding to investigating the spread of conspiracy theories about the coronavirus. These will, if allowed to proliferate, undermine the efficacy of even the most promising evidence-based measures in disease control.

“Biden’s team should also recruit social scientists to apply their significant knowledge base to the development of a pandemic communication strategy, meeting skeptical Americans where they are and motivating them to get on board with efforts in public health. A culturally competent pandemic response could mean the difference between a real recovery from the pandemic’s most catastrophic effects — and a ‘dark winter’ lasting for years to come.”