More moves towards masks

Interestingly, since the last post here it seems that both the CDC and US Surgeon General have doubled down on advice to avoid use of face masks. Still suspecting that that advice may be changing soon regardless, given other moves. Here's another tweak from Scott Gottlieb the former FDA commissioner for example:

One reason that I've concentrated on him is that he seems to be one of the few both having a history of being critical of the Trump administration's response while, particularly lately, still being respected by those in the administration. Encouraging the public to wear masks is also a component of the report he's put together showing how to reopen society. Speaking to Good Morning America, Dr. Fauci - a face you're likely to see in Trump press conferences - also seems to find some support for the position.

At the moment, looking at the still emerging research, it seems as though the Czech Republic - the first country in Europe to have required wearing masks in public - seems to have successfully flattened the curve. Just within the last day or so the Germany Health Ministry is starting to echo the advice of the German Medical Association to wear masks, Austria has mandated wearing masks in supermarkets and Bulgaria has made wearing masks in public places compulsory.

The Czech Prime Minster has been publicly calling for Trump to require masking in public and it seems to me that there are actually quite politically compelling reasons for Trump to do so. In general in politics one need not tell a true story - it only needs to be true enough to be able to sell it to the public. If you look at how the CDC and the FDA obstructing testing are key reasons as to why the US is in the poor position it currently is, it becomes easier to sell a (generally false) narrative of Trump bravely fighting the Deep State. It doesn't matter that the Surgeon General has attempted to suck to Trump in very cringey and false ways - I look at Trump as a narcissistic sociopath who has no loyalty to anyone other than himself. If he can act in ways which seem to be ahead of organizations like the CDC and the WHO1 in adopting policies that are later more generally accepted (and for which a decent base of evidence appears to continue to be building) that seems to provide a fair bit of cover for his prior (and continuing) incompetence.

  1. Interestingly, the Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization tweeting "in personal capacity" has also retweeted an interview in in Science Magazine with the head of the Chinese CDC with the headline Not wearing masks to protect against coronavirus is a ‘big mistake,’ top Chinese scientist says↩︎