Our Time Press

COVID-19: Facts vs Opinion

Dr. Christopher Blaszczak-Boxe is the Science Editorial Advisor for Our Time Press and the CEO of Christopher & Associates. A research scientist and higher education instructor, he was an Associate Professor at Medgar Evers College and Deputy Chair of its Chemistry and Environmental Science Department. He is a longtime instructor at CUNY Grad Center and worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dr. Boxe is a Board Member, Grants and Community Engagement Specialist, at the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust. He is highly invested in making science accessible to inner-city youth.

An Interview with Dr. Christopher Boxe

Bernice Elizabeth Green:
Your view on “facts versus opinion.” Why is it important to pay more attention to the information coming from professionals in the science arena than media, social media rumors or organizations’ press releases. 

Dr. Christopher Boxe: Within the context of the continually evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the plethora of information virtually available, one should should digest a broad scope of information, such that he/she/they attain the universal picture and scope of the pandemic. Doing this also allows parties to better discern similarities, differences, fact, and erroneous information imparted from the myriad of available sources. This should culminate toward ascertaining information that is predominantly data and evidence-based driven. Such data-driven/unbiased information can be attained from internet-based searches that reveal laboratory initiatives that are currently underway and/or published in peer-reviewed journals. For example, Google Scholar is an excellent resource for obtaining peer-reviewed journal publications. 

OTP. Is there a role NASA is, or could be, playing in this?

DCB: NASA is an independent agency of the United States federal government; it receives its annual budget from the United States Federal to meet goals/deliverables under the umbrella of the civilian space program, aeronautics, and aerospace research. Therefore, NASA likely has limited versatility to get directly involved in combating the present Coronavirus pandemic. Concomitantly, as the response to the pandemic is continually evolving, the role of select entities (within the context of the pandemic), may change. For example, Governor Cuomo recently requested retired/qualified nurses and doctors to sign up (via an Executive request issue March 20th, 2020) to volunteer their services if the pandemic continues to worsen. 

OTP. What does this situation forecast for future careers? And your thoughts on the situation underscoring the importance of hard science in this situation? 

DCB: The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic permeates all aspects of life. Focusing on an overarching impact factors I foresee futures market niches in: (i) remote work/online modality; (ii) further innovations in multi-scale modeling of varied viral evolution and temporal spreading/progression from a select source point; (iii) further progress in laboratory studies of the impact and evolution of varied pathogens and how they can be effectively treated; (iv) additional progress in multi-scale and stratified global response and implementation to combat impending and/or occurring pandemics; (v) major progress in preventative mental and physical healthcare; etc – all of which should be data-driven and evidence-based. 

OTP. Do you know companies or bioscience engineers who are directly working on therapies, cures or solutions to this crisis? 

DCB: Treating and finding a vaccine has now become a global competition: 

OTP. From a scientist point of view, how do we talk to our children about the unknown? 

DCB: Firstly, guardians and/or parents must continue to empower 
themselves about the current viral pandemic (including past major viral pandemics – e.g., the 1918 Flu Pandemic). Moreover, parents and/or guardians should also empower themselves with knowledge of viral strains that humans globally continually deal with, such as the cold and flu. Guardians/parents should transparently communicate their knowledge of the past and present happenings and communicate to their children how they can also proactively partake or play a role in reducing the impact of such phenomenon. In doing so, children will be empowered and eventually realize that humans will abate and eventually eradicate it as a collective within Earth’s ecosystem. 

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