In: Opinions & Features

05.14.2021 | Forbes

By Steve Brozak

Mark Twain famously said: Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you pleaseAs if to stand these words on their head, the US Covid-19 response has been an exercise in selective data collection. This is not only hubristic but also unscientific. The consequences, if the process continues, will result in further pain and suffering. Making matters worse, the Centers for Disease Control, CDC in its new mask guidance has introduced confirmational bias into the equation. Confirmational bias happens when we search for, favor, and recall information that supports our desired outcome while, simultaneously, dissuading us from collecting any facts that might prove counter to that desired end. In this case, the desired end is a rapid return to normalcy.

The desire for a return to normalcy (however defined) is understandable, but in this case, it cannot be achieved at any cost because that cost will be devastating. Many politicians, and even some scientists, are ignoring Twain’s advice. They are less interested in acquiring all the facts and prefer to embrace those select views which comport to proclamations of successful crisis management.

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