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Weak evidence for strong pandemic interventions: a 2019 WHO warning for the current COVID-19 crisis

Steffen Roth (La Rochelle Business School, La Rochelle, France)

Kybernetes

ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 30 May 2020

Issue publication date: 3 May 2021

Abstract

Purpose

Social distancing. Travel bans. Confinement. The purpose of this paper is to document that more than 50% of the world population is affected by World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for the 2020 coronavirus crisis. The WHO admits that the evidence quality for the effectiveness of these recommendations is low or very low.

Design/methodology/approach

This self-contradiction is confirmed by a WHO document published in October 2019 as well as supporting documentation from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Findings

This viewpoint concludes that an obvious resolution of this self-contradiction would be to limit restrictions and interventions to those for whose effectiveness the WHO’s document reported that there was at least moderate evidence.

Originality/value

A shift of focus is suggested from discussions on the commensurability and social costs of anti-COVID-19 interventions to their actual effectiveness.

Keywords

Citation

Roth, S. (2021), "Weak evidence for strong pandemic interventions: a 2019 WHO warning for the current COVID-19 crisis", Kybernetes, Vol. 50 No. 5, pp. 1349-1356. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-04-2020-0248

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited