Letter to the Editor: Coronavirus confusion

I have worked for 30 years as a pharmaceutical research scientist. During that time, I have been involved with a great deal of scientific data presentation. All decisions were made based on experimental data. Poor decisions were made when based on poorly gathered, analyzed or presented data.

When comparing the COVID-19 pandemic to research methods I have seen on the job, it leaves me wondering, “What the heck are they doing?” Knowing your audience is crucial when making a presentation. Educating the general public is vastly different than making comments to a scientist. The general public doesn’t understand what a “five-day moving average” is.

When someone is told, “You don’t need to use a mask,” and then is told by experts that “A mask is necessary,” credibility is lost. Knowledge is power! Why are those in charge making us work so hard for accurate information?

Ambiguity is everywhere right now. Have you noticed that gloves aren’t necessary anymore? I have asked lots of people, “How many people have you seen coughing in public?” The answer I get is not many. The coronavirus is very real! However, research that generates false positive or false negative data should never be presented to the general public. Trust is earned by the presentation of facts that are easily understood.

What are the weaknesses of the COVID-19 virus? There are many unanswered questions. Clearly, the truth will require research, and it will take time. Is it true that the virus affects 1% of the total population? Do ultraviolet rays kill the coronavirus? How many young people who attend parties in large groups get sick from the virus?

Convincing the public can be very difficult. Video of laboratory tests using various masks (showing the distance — in green — that particles travel) is very important. Why wasn’t this shown to us months ago?

Finally, it is important to remember that Americans can be very skeptical. Give them an inch, and they will take a mile.

We can get through this!

Zeke Zeller
Townsend