The New York Times is reporting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was relying on a faulty study in declaring a 10 percent chance of the transmission of Covid-19 outdoors. After using the “miscalculation” to support outdoor mask mandates for over 300 million Americans, the CDC now says that it is more like one percent. It is astonishing that such a key and controversial component of our Covid policies was not just based on a miscalculation but never actively questioned or reexamined to discover the error.
The outdoor risk has been a major source of disagreement with many contesting mandatory mask rules for those walking or working or recreating outside. It turns out that, according to the Times, the 10% benchmark is based “partly on a misclassification” of virus transmission in Singapore at various construction sites. Those sites were incorrectly described as outdoor but now appear to have actually taken place in indoor settings. Singapore also classified settings that were a mix of indoors and outdoors as outdoors, including construction building sites.
The real risk is one percent or less. Yet, cities like Chicago closed whole parks — magnifying the isolation and depression for citizens.
I can understand the reliance on an article in the prestigious Journal of Infectious Diseases. I cannot understand the failure to closely examine its basis since it appears to have been the primary basis for the policy. Hundreds of millions of Americans were impacted as well as the economy. Yet, CDC is only now noting that the article appears to have been fundamentally flawed in its underlying assumptions and calculations.
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