Saturday, September 30, 2023

Courage to Admit our Mistakes

Translation from Maarten De Cock

"Many people know, from unfortunate experience, and doctors recognize that most contagious diseases are communicated by breathing the air that comes out of the chest of individuals already suffering from these kinds of illnesses. ~ M. Rouland, 1784."

We've known about airborne pathogens for literally hundreds of years, yet the CDC and WHO have a bizarre aversion to acknowledging it. Surely they've all seen that Wired article by now, right?!?

Some suggest that it might be significantly more difficult for people in healthcare to start wearing a mask again:

"Imagine being a doctor and realizing your medical training overlooked the most important and basic fundamentals of patient safety, and that you were taught outright pseudoscience by charlatans, and that you repeated these lies confidently to patients who trusted you. Shit. We dug the hole too deep. The only way out now is to keep pretending. It can't be true."

It's hard to realize you've made a huge mistake, but people have to get over it.

As a teacher who focuses on teaching good science from junk and good media from biased unsubstantiated bullshit, I once told a class that some coaches were taking balls out of soccer games to make it so kids weren't humiliated by losing. I heard just a piece of what sounded like a news report on CBC while getting a lift, and I didn't look for any corroborating evidence or even the name of the show to check that it was the news

My students rightly pointed out it was a satirization of current events. Of course it was!! How incredibly embarrassing!! I used it as an example of how easy it is to get sucked in. A really humiliating example. I could have said I was just testing them, but I didn't. I owned it. 

You just have to eat it and go on. 

I get that it's a different kettle of fish with lives on the line -- nobody died thinking that some schools don't allow balls on the field or realizing that their teachers can make giant whoppers of mistakes -- but the longer they wait to fess up, the more lives will be harmed by this travesty. 

Jump in with both feet: strap on an N95 and goggles when you leave the house TODAY! People will ask you about it, and now's your chance to admit that you had been duped all this time and want to rectify that, to fix things as much as you can, and to teach others how airborne viruses work -- that they can worry far less about what they touch and far more about what they inhale. It'll be a difficult first day, but it will get easier. Soon it will be second nature. 

So brave!!  

(Tip: N95s are actually more comfortable and breathable than a surgical mask; they don't move on your face and slip around or fold into your mouth when you talk, and you can stick your tongue out at people without them knowing. If you really hate masks, you might just be wearing the wrong kind.)

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