The road from evidence to policies and the erosion of the standards of democratic scrutiny in the COVID-19 pandemic
Em: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Repositóro ULisboa: http://hdl.handle.net/10451/50352
The COVID-19 pandemic poses extraordinary public health challenges. In order to respond to such challenges, most democracies have relied on so-called ‘evidence-based’ policies, which supposedly devolve to science the burden of their justification. However, the biomedical sciences can only provide a theory-laden evidential basis, while reliable statistical data for policy support is often scarce. Therefore, scientific evidence alone cannot legitimise COVID-19 public health policies, which are ultimately based on political decisions. Given this inevitable input on policy-making, the risk of arbitrariness is ubiquitous and democratic scrutiny becomes essential to counter it. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the standards of scientific and democratic scrutiny have been, as a matter of fact, substantially lowered. This erosion potentially damages democracy.