Infectious Disease

The doomsday clock stays at 100 seconds till midnight

January 27, 2021

2 min read

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Bronson is President and CEO and George is a member of the Science and Safety Committee of the Bulletin of Nuclear Scientists. Healio Primary Care was unable to confirm any other relevant financial information at the time of publication.

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The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced today that the Doomsday Clock is still close to midnight – 100 seconds to midnight – in part due to the unwillingness and leadership of politicians in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is.

The symbolic doomsday clock was first set to 100 seconds until midnight in 2020.

Science and Safety Committee for Atomic Scientists Bulletin Robert Rosner (left) and Suzet McKinney unveil the 2021 Doomsday Clock. Photo source: Bulletin of Atomic Scientists / Thomas Gaulkin.

The Bulletin of the Science and Safety Committee of Atomic Scientists sets the clock every year to inform the public whether humanity is safer or more at risk than in previous years. The decision is based on information from scientists and security experts assessing “the threat to human existence with an emphasis on man-made threats to nuclear risk, climate change and new disruptive technologies.” Rachel Bronson, PhD, President and CEO of the Bulletin of Nuclear Scientists said during a press conference.

However, there are “good reasons” to address the biological threat posed by COVID-19 in this year’s ruling Asha M. George, DrPH, Executive Director of the non-partisan Commission on Biodefense and Science and Safety Board member of the Bulletin of Nuclear Scientists.

“This disease exposed our vulnerabilities in ways that no one has had before – not even the 2001 pandemic influenza and anthrax attacks,” George said during the news conference. “As we can see in the current pandemic, something as small as a viral mutation could bring us closer to Judgment Day – a viral mutation that could happen immediately. We must continue to take this threat seriously, even if COVID-19 is far behind us. ”

Over the past year, climate change and nuclear warfare concerns have been “major drivers” in bringing the clock up to midnight, Bronson said. The underlying problem was and is “the deliberate erosion by politicians of science and our core institutions”.

“[Last year’s] The statement anticipated the early rejection of the US coronavirus pandemic threat and the early rejection of the global response, downplaying the required public health responses and defamation of prominent scientists, “Bronson said. “It was a disastrous series of falling dominoes made possible by years of annihilating science, ridiculing scholars and other experts, and considering conspiracy theories rather than promoting our previously most trusted institutions.”

In this year’s report, Bronson said the organization recognizes that “humanity continues to suffer”. While COVID-19 “is not going to wipe out civilization,” it has shown “how unprepared and unwilling” governments are to properly manage complex emergencies, from virulent pandemics to nuclear war and climate change, she added.

The authors of the Doomsday Clock report said the threat of climate change, nuclear weapons and widespread disinformation on the internet “might justify setting the clock closer to midnight”. However, there have been some “positive developments” including “the election of a US president who recognizes climate change as a profound threat and supports international cooperation and science-based policies,” the authors wrote. president Joseph R. Biden Jr., They added, showed its willingness to counter these threats by re-acceding to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and offering to extend a nuclear weapons control treaty with Russia for five years.

“It would be a privilege and an honor to move the hands of the doomsday clock away from midnight,” said Bronson. “Although there are important bright spots that we express very clearly in our repot – bright spots that we hope will continue to expand and evolve and allow us to push them back next year – the current situation doesn’t justify this.”

Reference:

Bulletin of the nuclear scientists. This is your COVID wake-up call: it’s 100 seconds to midnight. https://thebulletin.org/doomsday-clock/current-time/. Accessed January 27, 2020.

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