ON FRIDAY, APRIL 30, the WHO quietly updated a page on its website. In a section on how the coronavirus gets transmitted, the text now states that the virus can spread via aerosols as well as larger droplets. As Zeynep Tufekci noted in The New York Times, perhaps the biggest news of the pandemic passed with no news conference, no big declaration. If you weren’t paying attention, it was easy to miss.
To err is human, and thus we are often making choices with less than the full facts. But when these decisions have lasting implications for life and property, we do well to both call out and own the mistakes and emendations.
Not because we should scapegoat or publicly whip those guilty of transgressions, as is even more popular in this grotesque age of ‘cancel culture,’ but because only by naming but also explaining why we got it so badly wrong can we create a safe space for analysis and improvement.
In such a safe space it is probable less time would be spent defending an incorrect position. The concomitant effect is we would then have more resources to improve our world.