EDITORIAL

Gradually, then suddenly

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Science  06 Nov 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6517, pp. 639
DOI: 10.1126/science.abf5396

Summary

Racism, climate denial, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are major crises standing in the way of a prosperous future for the United States, and resolution of all three could be enabled by science that is persistently ignored. In Ernest Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises, a character named Mike is asked how he went bankrupt. “Two ways,” he answers. “Gradually, then suddenly.” The resistance of U.S. policy to science has followed a similar path: It gradually built up over 40 years, beginning with the election of Ronald Reagan, but suddenly reached a tipping point in the chaos of 2020. Will the path to resolution also be gradual and then sudden, and if so, at what cost?

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