For the past 3.5 years, I’ve been going 2,000 mph just trying not to crash into the guardrail. Emergencies will do that, particularly in spaces that aren’t prepared. I’m finally able to slow down and process the good and bad in both my roles: being on the front lines of the response and publishing YLE.
You did an outstanding job. The politicization at the scale that occurred is directly related to one man that cared only about his own ratings, not the people he was elected to serve. There is no good answer on how to deal with a man that had no problem trashing our CDC like he did or anyone that crossed his path. That is what America voted for it an cost many their lives, like healthcare workers and people that followed the conspiracies over science. I valued your knowledge and appreciate your clarity. Thank you.
You left out your role as mother. You weren't watching this from the sidelines as a disinterested party. You had all the same fears as the rest of us.
I have really appreciated (and continue to appreciate) your balanced, direct, concise information sharing. Thank you for humbly sharing, admitting mistakes when they were made, and persevering through our generation's worst public health crisis (yet). Keep fighting the good fight.
We are all humans and are vulnerable to shortcomings. Science on the run is always confusing, it needs time to percolate. The best reporters and advisors are the ones who can easily admit their mistakes and oversights. This behavior adds to their dependable integrity - your valuable integrity!
No one in public health was really prepared to see the awesome complicating, often negative, impact of the human response factor. In retrospect, the political manipulation of the pandemic was both tragic and destructive (but not unprecedented - see 1918). The fear and uncertainty of the first year were Biblical. You jumped in to make sense of it all. Brava!
Thank you so much for this summary. It's important to me that we continue to evaluate what we learned so we can -- hopefully -- be better prepared next time. I'd also like to see us heal the useless divisions that made it harder to protect people and save lives. You're right to remind us how terrifying this was. We didn't know what we didn't know. Still don't. I remember trying to figure out who to listen to, who to trust. From the beginning, yours was a voice that I listened to and could trust. Still do! Yours is a voice of integrity, honesty, sanity and humility. I am so grateful for your work and your voice.
It is the mark of a great soul that it can look at itself and admit its shortcomings. Congratulations! You are an inspiration! - Thank you also for all you did during the pandemic. Your column was our go-to place for the best information. Was it perfect? No. We were not looking for perfect. Only fools do that.
Wow! How I wish our elected officials could write something similar. I always admired your ability to say “I don’t know” and now admire you even more for publishing this very introspective article.
Only wish you would send it as an opinion piece to WSJ, NYT and others.
Thanks for all you do.
You were and are my go-to for this topic. Getting your views during the worst of it was a comfort.
Where do the scientists that questioned policy, and were later proved right, go to get their reputations back? Where is the accountability for those that knowingly misled the public?
Please help us navigate endemic COVID. I’m finding it difficult to avoid infection, live my life and not feel marginalized. I’m older, have health risks but also don’t want to be isolated. I had a lovely exchange with Bob Wachter about his advice on this.
I do feel nuts when I mask , but I value my health too.
Recently there was tremendous hate on Twitter amongst the COVID concerned, and I learned about narcissism of the minority-- where a small minority turns on itself.
I just read Twitter, and not often.
Thank you for this reflection and all that you do.
I am so thankful for all you have done. As to being sloppy and checking sources in particular, but also all your items on your second list: I appreciate the honesty and reflection and also hope you see that by acting as a good scientist, you continue to seek where the weaknesses are and address them. You’ve done that time and time again. And been transparent (and humble) when doing so, which actitud think has set a far better example of good action than if you were perfect. You are a light throughout this pandemic. Your star is bright, but only starting to shine- and who knows if we would have gotten the chance to see your shine without this virus. While I could have done without COVID ... I remain grateful for you.
Great column. It may be insulting to say that you have matured a lot during the pandemic since I didn't know you before, but you are now a very articulate scientist and this post shows your depth of understanding. It is unfortunate that Republicans are so anti-science. Ted Budd who Trump propelled to the Senate came out against Many Cohen for the head of CDC because her covid policies got in the way of making money.
To end with a trivial thing: there is one wierd sentence that spolis an otherwise beautifully written post: I’ve also started a list my phone.
As a healthcare professional I couldn’t wait to read your next newsletter. You have always provided a valuable source of information which saved me time and confusion during a time where I really needed accurate information as quickly as possible. Thank you for all you do.
One lesson I hope the US government has learned: never force people to do something. For instance: vaccine mandates.
Often, whatever force is being applied creates the opposite behavior. Not only are people now skeptical of and refusing mRNA vaccines, but the government has created hesitancy with tried-and-true “traditional” vaccines.
Force comes in many forms and is not limited to mandates. Creating charts based on cherry picked data, or omitting data that goes against The Narrative, is another form of manipulation that the American public can sniff from a mile away.
YLE, you’ve been a bright spot for many during this pandemic. I admire your intelligence, ability to communicate, courage and perseverance. You always learn and seek to do better. Good things are ahead for you!
First, know that you and Dr. Bob Wachter were the two best guides in dealing with the magnitude of the Covid risk issue, what to do and how to do it. As an Industrial Hygienist for 50 yrs, knew that masks and ventilation/filtration were key control elements, with vaccines necessary. CDC failed for a number of reasons and truly hope they can change for future risks. Thank goodness for you and Dr. Bob.