Congress Needs More Scientific Expertise to Fight COVID-19

By April 6, 2020

As lawmakers in the United States turn their focus to fighting the scourge of COVID-19, they will need to come up to speed quickly on the science behind the virus that causes it; the ongoing challenges around testing; and the dynamics of spread.

That is going to be difficult, because lawmakers and their staff tend to be generalists. Out of the 535 lawmakers, only 17 have a background in a field related to science and technology policy.

They will resort to Google searches, reading Wikipedia, news articles, and, yes, even social media reports. Then they will make a flurry of cold calls and e-mails to whichever expert they can get on the phone with the desperate hope that someone will provide useful and actionable answers.

Read the full opinion in Scientific American.