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Quickly Noted: Public Deliberation in Preparedness

February 20, 2010

I came across an article last week by Larry Gostin, a legal preparedness eagle about the value of public deliberation, referencing a just published article by Baum, Jacobson and Goold. (I’ve secretly uploaded the Gostin article here, so don’t tell anyone)

Baum’s article notes that efforts like social distancing entail huge consequences, and pursuant to research that shows that deliberation ensures greater conformance with public health measures, public health powers be used only after valid research and buy-in from all affected parties (read: the poor, the infirm, the vulnerable populations that will experience the greatest burden from the action).

There was one line in Gostin’s commentary I took particular note of:

The available evidence of the effectiveness [of social distancing measures] is primarily anecdotal, historical or derived from modeling theories.

This echoes a tweet I saw from @erinashmiller who was live-tweeting a presentation by author John Barry from the 2010 Public Health Preparedness Summit:

Barry: quarantine had NO effect in 1918. If can’t successfully quarantine on army bases during war, not much hope for civilian pop

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