Can following “the science” around in circles be hazardous to your health?

At a minimum, it can make you dizzy…
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I  sense that coronavirus interest has started to wane, so you might have missed this one.

From the get-go, we were warned of that “silent spreaders” — the 50% of people who get infected by the coronavirus but never show any of the symptoms — would, in fact, spread the virus like wildfire.  So, bunker down.

Based on  modeling studies the WHO had advised that as much as 41% of transmission may be due to asymptomatic people … spreading through loud talking, singing or shouting. Source: WaPo

But, earlier this week the WHO — the “gold standard” in worldwide medical expertise — did a u-turn:

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Specifically, Maria Van Kerkhove, a Stanford trained MD who is the WHO’s technical lead for coronavirus response said:

From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual.

We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing.

They’re following asymptomatic cases, they’re following contacts and they’re not finding secondary transmission onward. Source: CNN

Whew!  One less thing to fret about, right?

Not so fast, mes amies…

It took the WHO less than 24 hours to turn the u-turn into a full 360….

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As soon as the words left Dr. Van Kerkhove’s lips, the “science community” pounced, “touching off a furious scientific debate”.

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“Many” scientists said:

With so much still unknown about asymptomatic infection and transmission,  it was irresponsible for the WHO to speak  definitively. WaPo

English translation: “We don’t know jack (and, you know, people follow us anyway).

That’s reassuring, isn’t it?

Predictably, the WHO threw Dr. Van Kerkhove under the science community’s bus, asserting that she not issuing an official WHO directive or advice.

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To partially rehabilitate her position,   Dr. Van Kerkhove resorted to some Clintonesque statement parsing:

  • “Rare” doesn’t mean “never”
  • “Asymptomatic” doesn’t include “presymtomatic” people who eventually become symptomatic
  • “The data” was merely referring to a “small subset of studies and unpublished information”.

In other words: “Just fogetaboutit

So much for following the science…

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