It’s taken me a long time to sort these out. This list of more or less controversial issues is quite simply based on an inventory of articles and reports I’ve read in certain papers over the last 6 weeks. I have not yet attempted to map anything. However I can see 4 groupings.
Firstly, what we could call biological controversies related to the spread of CV in the human body. Secondly, social controversies concerning the person to person spread of CV. Thirdly political controversies related to the diffusion of CV through rural, urban, regional and national communities. Finally geopolitical and health controversies connected to the global spread of CV.
Loosely speaking a controversy is a discussion between different types of human actors based on their differing interpretations of evidence concerning a particular issue.
So, in a controversy a given problem/question/anomaly/puzzle/difficulty is being examined/discussed / investigated/resolved on the basis of data/evidence via a more or less heated and passionate conversation/debate/argument/dispute/ in order to help us deepen/improve/ our knowledge/understanding or to allow/reach/ facilitate/deploy a decision/action/policy (or simply to resolve a dilemma) and thereby « improve » the world.
The four groupings below are peppered with controversies (to which I will add your suggestions in italics where possible).
a) The biology of Covid-19: What is it? How does it affect the body? What symptoms does it provoke? What are its origins? How to fight it? How to prevent it?
b) The sociology of Covid-19: Is it? (Thank you Hanna) What is it? (added 12th May) How and where did it start? How is it transmitted biologically? How is it transmitted socially? How can transmission be hindered? How can it be prevented and stopped? How can it be tracked? How can it be modelled? How can it be measured? How can it be reported?
c) The politics of Covid-19: What is it? (added 12th May) How can the spread best be limited within real (local, regional, national) communities? Why are there differences between nations? How to keep the economy going? How and when to loosen (local, regional, national) restrictions? What type of post-Covid 19 communities (local, regional, national, international) are desirable and/or possible?
d) The geopolitics of Covid-19: What is it? (added 12th May) How did this pandemic spread? How did various international communities respond? What type of global post Covid-19 world is desirable and/or possible?
Next, I will try and provide some examples of actual controversies for each of the four groupings In parallel, I will do my best to aggregate the references.
I am very tempted to start by tweaking Bruno Latour’s (1989) imaginary agent 009 and the Soviet Union missiles example which I exposed in 4 instalments (1) (2) (3) & here last month.
Meanwhile, please respond and react so that I can adjust, alter and improve the framework. I will add your suggestions (if I see a way of doing that) as I receive them.