An open letter from members of the US National Academy of Science that chastises President Donald Trump for ignoring science has gained signatories during the coronavirus pandemic, the Guardian reports.
The letter-writers argue that "[s]cientific evidence and research should be an important component of policymaking" and call on the US to maintain scientific data on publicly accessible websites and appoint qualified individuals to positions that require scientific expertise.
As the Guardian reports, the letter was originally written in 2016 to protest the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement and was updated two years later to more broadly warn against President Trump's dismissal of science. That issue, the Guardian notes, has again become front-and-center with the coronavirus pandemic, as the Trump Administration has disregarded expert advice. This, it says, has led more scientists to sign the letter, bringing the number of signatories to 1,220 out of a membership of 2,900.
"Every single week practically you hear about scientists being dismissed or relocated and key positions not being filled," Ray Weymann, a co-organizer of the open letter, tells the Guardian. "Over the last two years this feeling just built up more and more and it was really highlighted by the pandemic."