COVID-19 researchers become victims in the war on science


Margaret Hellard has thick skin. You have to when you work with prisoners while researching infectious diseases. You have to when News Corp commentators like Andrew Bolt are calling the COVID-19 modelling scientists like you, “trash”. Sure, take a microscope to Professor Hellard’s work – the professor of epidemiology and director of the Burnet Institute won’t back away from meaningful debate. But death threats? Wishing her kids ill? That was not a danger the scientist was expecting to face while helping Australians out of the coronavirus pandemic. “You have these sort of things where somebody feels like they can say your work is crap or this or that,” Professor Hellard said. “Then every now and then you have one where (they say) ‘and I would like you to die or your family members to die or for you to fall off a cliff, or something evil to happen to you’ … that can be really horrible.” Police have launched an investigation into one particular email, in which Professor Hellard’s life and family was threatened.

Source: COVID-19 researchers become victims in the war on science

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