Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today?

Confused by the science of Covid? It’s not just you. Sometimes it seems like the scientific understanding of the coronavirus is changin...


Sometimes it seems like the scientific understanding of the coronavirus is changing hour by hour.

It was believed that the virus was only spread by close contact or on contaminated surfaces, then it turned out that airborne. Americans no need to wear masks. Wait, they do. Recall shots may not be necessary, at least not for long – until they are highly recommended.

We live with science as it unfolds in real time, our colleague Apoorva Mandavilli reported this week. The process has always been fluid and unpredictable. But rarely has he moved at this speed, and it has rarely been so crucial to pay close attention to it.

To some frustrated Americans, public health officials have at times seemed to do an about-face – or even intentionally mislead the country.

Consider CDC advice on masks In the first weeks and months of the pandemic, officials said masks were not necessary for the general public, in part to preserve supplies for frontline workers, because the Times Opinion columnist Zeynep Tufekci noted. Months later the agency went back on its opinion.

Then, in May 2020, the agency said those vaccinated could ditch their masks, but failed to stress enough that the masks might be needed again. Now, with a new wave of infections, they are.

A central problem, Apoorva said, is the relatively low level of scientific knowledge in the United States. “We’re not really talking about health as a public good, as a community goal, either,” she added. “It’s not like deciding to exercise or eat well, which are very individual activities. Infectious diseases are, by definition, something that connects people. “

“This wouldn’t happen if the public health authorities had done a good job of educating the public from the start,” she said. “You can’t really go into a pandemic without having never talked about these things before and expect people to understand everything and get involved.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today?
Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today?
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