Readers who have followed my commentary since early February will know that I have been prescient from the beginning of the pandemic.
Those who have found my commentary more recently will have some idea of my accuracy, but it is reading ahead of time my views on what is likely to occur and then seeing that come to fruition when the perception of prescience is really underlined.
Typing away in isolation without contact with anybody who would even remotely be considered an Australian “insider” has been useful to keep my ideas as free as possible from groupthink, but is also difficult as even the most self-assured writer appreciates some (evidence of) positive feedback – though I must admit to being a bit like Groucho Marx, sceptical of any group\club that would want me to join it! – and in my “About Me” page I made it clear that I have good reasons for not permitting comments (interaction, debate or trolling) on my site.
Then came the pandemic! In other words, this is how I have worked for years before it became fashionable in 2020!
I have, however, had that confirmation from a few sources during the pandemic – a coffee mate who also reads my FB posts said in April “if only they listened to you – everything has happened exactly the way you said it would”, and a portfolio manager at one of Australia’s best-known boutique fund managers in a personal email thanked me for pointing him in the right direction early in the pandemic.
Perhaps most important to me has been my friendship with Zhengli. I do not wish to betray our friendship by saying too much. I will just say that in our email contact she has said very little about her own work to me (and what she did mention is widely known), and has been sparing in her own views of the future, other than to say early on that she agreed with my concerns over the potential for meat to play a role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
That is a concern I began expressing publicly in late April and is summed up in this passage from my open letter to The Australian Prime Minister and Ministers for Health and Agriculture published on my site on 29 April:
A far more significant and society-wide concern is the potential for SARS-CoV-2 contamination of meat during processing and its persistence in product which may lead to processed meat being a significant factor in spreading and prolonging the COVID-19 pandemic.
I then released on 1 May a detailed post on the issue entitled “COVID-19 And Food Safety in Processed Meat“.
I also expressed these concerns in comments on “The Conversation” which has been my go-to site to drive reader interest in my own site (given that I am hamstrung by not participating in Twitter for the same reasons discussed above).
Now that potential has been proven by a nice piece of research by a group in Singapore headed by an ex-pat Australian (whom I had been aware of since he wrote an interesting article published on The Conversation in March). I stumbled upon a reference to this new research in a news article just prior to publishing my most recent piece on the topic, which prompted a quick but prominent paragraph insertion in that post.
Given that in my piece I had been writing about my being an outsider being an advantage to me, including by not being subjected to the omnipresent coercive pressures that career scientists face (which this more recent article has also highlighted), I was keen to write to the senior author with some questions on why he did the work and how it was funded. Dale responded promptly and was very obliging.
It was not until later that I began to think about how I had a reader from Singapore looking around my site some time back, who had not visited again since. When I looked through the viewing logs for my site I saw that they had visited on 1 May and again on 5 May looking at several pages, when I had just released my report on the potential for contaminated meat to spread SARS-CoV-2, “COVID-19 and Food Safety“, and when I had been active in promoting my concerns over this potential including writing comments on “The Conversation” and open letters to politicians.
As I said in my recent post about my career, I had to accept when I retired that I was never going to be given the full credit I deserved for my contribution to my field.
Now in the COVID-19 pandemic what is most important is that good science is performed to help humanity to overcome our serious challenges. And as I said in a comment below the pre-print of this research, I am very pleased that these researchers have conducted this research and so very well.
If, however, the idea, or the seed of the idea, to conduct this research was gained by reading my ideas then it is only right that I be recognised for my contribution in some manner, even if I am a maverick outsider!
Just a little food for thought to those who can make or encourage the adjustment…
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© Copyright Brett Edgerton 2020