UnHerd - Why did all the major health authorities get it so wrong back in March?
|Michael Story & Stuart Ritchie|
Masks work? No.”
Scott Atlas, a member of Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, wrote a tweet the Saturday before last that opened with these words — only to find it deleted by Twitter a day later. In the offending tweet, Atlas had written that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had both recommended against mask-wearing, and had in fact argued that it could cause “many harms”.
This violated Twitter’s policy against Covid-19 misinformation, so it had to go. As the New York Times noted, both the WHO and the CDC do recommend wearing masks to protect against the coronavirus.
The only problem is this: mere months ago, both the WHO and the CDC both had argued — in fact, argued very confidently — against the use of masks, just as Atlas said. It won’t do to ignore this rather inconvenient fact, as the New York Times did, or to pretend the statements were never made. That’s because the Atlas affair provides an object lesson in how overconfident claims by experts, especially on issues as fraught as Covid-19, can come back to bite them.
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