If you tested yourself on a random day when you had no symptoms, your one test would probably say “You’re Negative,” and that wouldn’t change your behavior at all. Such a negative test used with a low pretest probability of being positive is like firing a bullet haphazardly into the fog, long before you see the whites of your enemy’s eyes with a low pre-shot probability of hitting anyone.
Over a silly definition of “sanitation”, the CDC appears willing to gamble a pillar of our modern society’s constitutional law, a legal cornerstone of our executive agencies, and perhaps, should the CDC lose, its willingness to gamble will be precisely the reason why we can’t have that nice thing of Chevron deference.
Across our vast, heterogenous human populations of the US, a policy or a public health message that works where you live may very well harm people who live somewhere else, who have different cultures, beliefs and values. As one size may never fit all, it becomes increasingly important for scientists helping a pluralistic world to avoid political monism at all costs, to deliberately create space for alternative ideas.
As the pile of unshared science grows, our scientific understanding of crises like pandemics suffers from the attrition of the science it doesn’t know. It should be in the interest of all scientists to facilitate the sharing of scientific ideas to ensure no science goes unshared from fear of ridicule or public execution.
It’s essential we debrief on the harm we caused – the epidemiological harm we simply displaced andconverted to economic harm that, at the end of the chain, has caused equally real people to suffer and die at higher rates than they would’ve had we acted differently. It’s irresponsible and unscientific to suppress discussions on the inconvenient truth that our response to the pandemic likely indirectly killed people.