Maybe We Can Handle the Truth

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a Senate comittee hearing in Washington, D.C., July 20, 2021. (Stefani Reynolds/Reuters)
If public-health officials had been more careful to qualify their COVID-19 guidance with admissions of what they still didn’t know, we’d all be better off.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE I t’s okay to talk to us like we’re ignorant — we are ignorant.

That’s not the same thing as talking to us like we’re stupid.

Dr. Anthony Fauci and his colleagues did a fair bit of harm early in the COVID-19 epidemic by trying to be clever. Nobody had a lot of information about COVID-19 at that point, the effectiveness of masking was an unknown variable, and there were shortages of protective equipment. (Remember how hard it was to buy household cleaners there for a while?) As Fauci himself tells the story, he and others were worried that there would be a

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