Sen. Susan Collins recently questioned the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for issuing “confusing, conflicting guidance” when it comes to the issuance of COVID guidelines. In light of the recent misleading information the agency put out about the outdoor transmission rate, I couldn’t agree more with her concern.

The CDC recently released a statement that said fewer than 10 percent of COVID transmission occurs outdoors when the data show it is more like 0.1 percent of the time. While the CDC’s statement was technically true, it gave people a distorted, exaggerated sense of risk that was clearly devised to instill fear in the American public. This does not serve their mission well, and it erodes the public’s faith in all guidance issued by the CDC, which is dangerous. Deceptive practices like this can lead to a “boy who cried wolf” situation where people don’t listen to the CDC at a time they really need to, because they have lost faith in its credibility.

The last thing we all need right now is unnecessary fear and restrictions that are not consistent with the science. We are afraid and restricted enough as it is, and it is past time to be honest about the negative impact restrictions have on people that are the price we have been paying to prevent spread of the disease.

Thank you, Sen. Collins, for speaking out against this sort of deception. We will never be able to return to normal if we can’t trust that our public health department is making life-changing policy decisions based on science.

Garrett Murch
Mount Vernon

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