Should we rely on proven science or scapegoats?
As we work our way through what is proving to be one of the most severe public crises in the past century (excluding wars), there is certain to be great controversy. In that regard, consider these points.
Much has been made of the inaccuracy in projections promulgated through numerical modeling.
No surprise there.
Of course the models, having little real data to work with, are all based on assumptions — and thus results will differ, sometimes widely, based on variations in those assumptions.
That is not the point.
The truth is that serious people were throwing up warnings and were ignored.
The reality is that between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans are going to die.
The point is, every element of our great government denied and diddled for too long, playing politics, back when we might have been able to take reasonable actions to greatly reduce this number.
All right, maybe not.
Or maybe yes.
The key word is “maybe.”
There are two things about all this that really scare me.
First is that rampant ignorance is tolerating the denigration of serious science and the people who practice it. How many of the people tweeting outrageous attacks on Dr. Fauci and his ilk can, if asked, describe how science actually works?
From hypothesis, to experimentation, through peer review, to resolution of theory; that is the progression of science fact.
I want to punch the wall every time I hear somebody say, “Oh, that’s just a theory.”
Again, profound ignorance of even the most basic principles abound.
In less than 170 years, we have gone — quite literally — from a world lit only by fire to one where microwaves cook our food using power obtained by harnessing the atom.
It was the scientific method — hypothesis through theory — that achieved this. Along the way, science made many wrong turns and some serious errors.
But that is an integral part of the process. Over the long haul, science has delivered the goods.
The second worry is what will happen next time. And there will be a next time; it is only a question of when.
What will happen when the transmission rate of some new pathogen is perhaps only 50 percent greater than COVID-19, and the fatality rate is maybe five times greater?
Do we accept that mistakes were made here — some, quite foolish — and try as best we can to develop in advance the systems and procedures needed to deal with it? Or do we stick to the current method of keeping our heads where the moon don’t shine, wait until it’s over and start looking for a scapegoat?
Knowing, of course, that the scapegoat will always be someone of the opposing political party.
Don’t be confused by ‘herd immunity’ crowd
Local businesses and the public would benefit from knowing that Center for Disease Control (CDC) standards on virus risk from “surfaces” have not lessened.
There is no actual CDC “update” stating that COVID-19 “does not spread easily” from surfaces.
This last 10 days, significant U.S. media has quoted a minor formatting change within the CDC website as representing a CDC guidance “update” that “The virus does not spread easily” from surfaces.
On May 11, a minor subtitle using that language was added to the CDC website details to preface how the virus is transferred.
The media, in an absence of diligence, then erroneously touted this as an “update” on CDC risk guidance.
Now, within two weeks, the CDC website has eliminated that added subtitle language, realizing the potential confusion.
So don’t let the “herd immunity” crowd confuse you: No original CDC content existed intending to advise the public of an “update” on risk standards showing that the virus “does not spread easily” from surfaces.