As noted on Twitter by Theory of Change podcast host Matthew Sheffield, Pence’s appointment is curious given his belief system.
“Is it scary that VP Pence is in charge of the coronavirus taskforce and also doesn’t believe in the evolutionary theory that is essential to any response?” he tweeted.
In a separate tweet, Sheffield highlighted that the process of vaccine creation hinges on evolutionary theory. Conversely, one social media user pushed back against Sheffield’s fears and pointed out that Pence is more akin to a “project manager,” not someone that will be in a laboratory researching a vaccine.
As noted by Quanta Magazine, vaccines can push pathogens to evolve in ways that can create new threats. Such evolution is reportedly the subject of researchers who examine how viruses evolve in response to vaccines and seek to adopt new treatments for these changes.
“Just as the mammal population exploded after dinosaurs went extinct because a big niche opened up for them, some microbes have swept in to take the place of competitors eliminated by vaccines,” the report reads.
Forbes previously reported that Pence has expressed his belief that evolution is simply a theory that he claims its creator, Charles Darwin, hoped to see proof of in the future. According to Pence, this proof has yet to be observed, which was disputed by paleontologist Shaena Montanari. Notably, Montanari claimed that she and others in her profession disagree with the notion that evidence of Darwin’s idea has not been discovered.
“It is unclear if Pence is either willfully or unknowingly misrepresenting the scientific definition of the word ‘theory,'” Montanari wrote.
She continued to note that a theory is scientifically defined as the “highest designation of knowledge” that has been “rigorously tested using the scientific method.”
Thus far, Trump has been playing down the effects of the coronavirus. Despite his public comments, CNN reported that the president has been “privately lashing out at officials” due to issues related to the coronavirus.
In response to the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a guideline on dealing with the pandemic. According to Dr. Anne Schuchat, the deputy director at the CDC., the most important thing is for people to stay well-informed and aware of the circumstances to ensure preparedness in the case of a community spread.
Trump names Mike Pence as the Coronavirus Czar rather than CDC Director Robert Redfield or Surgeon General Jerome Adams. A physician should be in charge of the nation’s coronavirus response, not some dude who quarantines himself from other women when dining out. #coronavirususa
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) February 26, 2020