Reposting a thread by zeynep tufekci @zeynep on the Cochrane mask review

Zeynep Tufekci (Turkish: Zeynep Tüfekçi; [zejˈnep tyˈfektʃi]; zay-NEP tuu-FEK-chee) is a sociologist and a writer who is a columnist for The New York Times. Her work focuses on the social implications of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and big data, as well as societal challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic using complex and systems-based thinking. She has been described as “having a habit of being right on the big things” by The New York Times[1] and as one of the most prominent academic voices on social media and the new public sphere by The Chronicle of Higher Education.[2] In 2022, Tufekci was a Pulitzer finalist for her “insightful, often prescient, columns on the pandemic and American culture”, which the committee said “brought clarity to the shifting official guidance and compelled us towards greater compassion and informed response.”[3]

Before becoming a columnist, she was a writer for The New York Times and The Atlantic and has written regular columns for Wired and Scientific American in the past. She is a professor at Columbia University‘s Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Security and a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.[4][5][6] She was previously an associate professor at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina.


NEWS: Cochrane says lead author of a mask review misrepresented its findings, apologizes for summary statement that was imprecise and says they will update it. They say their review did NOT find masks don’t work. Plus, I examine the actual evidence.

It will be publicly available. I am breaking the news in the piece, but will add a link to their public statement when they post it.

Masks are a tool, with a time and place. People can have opinions about mandates and their time and place, but we should not deny or misrepresent the evidence, including the uncertainties. In this case, kudos to Cochrane for correcting the record. Hope people notice.

Discussing masks seems to bring out weird stuff. It’s a tool. It’s not a magic wand. We have vaccines and treatments, which is great. But no need to go on a warpath against masks and misrepresent the evidence base. Worn correctly and consistently, they help. Not that hard.

Why are you ignoring the illogical rules, etc? I am not. I’ve written my first “open the parks” piece in April 2020. That there were illogical rules, overblown claims and/or weak studies (yep) doesn’t invalidate that masks are a tool, with benefits that have a time and a place.

Also, sorry, especially (#notall) MDs. Randomization whenever possible is great—and essential for drug trials—but it’s not always possible. MDs don’t get to decide all rules of science. Natural experiments, regression-discontinuity, case control, labs… That’s also evidence.





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