Why did it take so long for COVID-19 transmission facts to be acknowledged?

8 May 2021 • 15:00

Following the World Health Organization’s seemingly small update to its website that acknowledges that airborne transmission is a key way that COVID-19 is spread, Zeynep Tufekci digs into the question of why it took so long for COVID-19 transmission facts to be acknowledged.

So much of what we have done throughout the pandemic — the excessive hygiene theater and the failure to integrate ventilation and filters into our basic advice — has greatly hampered our response. Some of it, like the way we underused or even shut down outdoor space, isn’t that different from the 19th-century Londoners who flushed the source of their foul air into the Thames and made the cholera epidemic worse.

Every leader and their organization needs to be able to say, “We’ve learned more, here’s what’s changed. Here’s how we’re making sure everyone understands.”