Politico has a piece that points to the truth so far about the Carona virus….
Scientists ARE people…
And they say very different things that ARE confusing and worrisome…
The CDC said Americans don’t need masks — but now they might. The agency said the virus spread through “droplets” from coughs and sneezes — but then warned about catching it from people with no symptoms, or even from surfaces, like subway turnstiles or metal shopping carts.
It said young people are at low risk — but the hospital beds and morgues of New York called that into question.
America’s best scientists and its vaunted public health agency are still learning on the job about the coronavirus. For a terrified American public, the kaleidoscope of changing messages has created more fear, confusion and distrust.
Scientists are used to gaining knowledge one step at a time — and they’ve learned a lot in a hurry about a virus none of them had ever seen before, allowing the search for treatments and vaccines to begin. But the virus always seems one step ahead of them.
And they aren’t moving at the velocity the public craves in a crisis of this magnitude. It only gets worse when the voices of science must compete with the voices of politics.
And while Americans may be used to elected officials’ spin for political gain, the inconsistencies from trusted public health officials have left the public with an understanding that’s muddled at best.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented threat,” said former CDC Director Tom Frieden via email. “I think that people understand that we’re learning more every day, though gaps in understanding come partly from the mixed messaging being delivered by different individuals, agencies and media outlets.”
When the CDC has tried to be blunt — most notably when epidemic expert Nancy Messonnier told reporters in February that Americans should prepare for community spread of the illness and “severe disruption” to their lives — the White House quickly put out a competing, more reassuring message.
The CDC has since played only a minor role in communicating with the public about the pandemic — and their statements don’t always perfectly match up with what the White House task force says.
“Let’s be frank,“ said Frieden. “What Dr. Nancy Messonnier has said was exactly right, and at exactly the right time.” He said he wished the CDC had been briefing the public “every single day.” Instead, the leading public health agency has been shunted to the communication sidelines.
John Auerbach, who leads the nonpartisan organization Trust for America’s Health, said the public health officials generally were clear about what they knew and what they didn’t. But that wasn’t always the case with elected officials who “sometimes made definitive statements that turn out to not be the case.”
The CDC’s own missteps on testing hurt its standing within President Donald Trump’s circle. And the testing delays also hampered the public health response, as the experts did not have a handle on how far or how fast the virus was spreading.
The CDC also was not always on message…..