Social media can’t be allowed to suppress scientific discourse, critics said after Facebook ‘fact-checkers’ flagged as ‘false’ an Oxford professor’s report citing a Danish study on the effectiveness of masks against Covid-19.
“[What] has happened to academic freedom and freedom of speech? There is nothing in this article that is ‘false,’” Carl Heneghan, the director of the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University, said on Friday.
He posted a screenshot of Facebook flagging his article for the Spectator magazine as ‘False information’, citing “independent fact-checkers.”
Heneghan was discussing the long-delayed study on the effectiveness of facemasks, conducted in Denmark and finally published this week. One of the few randomized controlled trials on masks, it suggested that masks alone don’t work to stop the spread of Covid-19.
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The British government has used out-of-date death-scenario modelling to illustrate the coronavirus crisis and justify a second national lockdown, new research shows.
The selection of data has not been based on the current reality, Carl Heneghan, the director of the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University said, in comments published on Monday.
The death forecasts could be four to five times too high, Heneghan insists.
I cannot understand why they have used this data, when there are far more up-to-date forecasts from Cambridge that they could have accessed, which show something very different.
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Carl Heneghan, a professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, says governments have failed in accurately communicating the actual threat posed by coronavirus, leading people to become “overly frightened” due to misplaced fear.
Heneghan was responsible for the UK government significantly lowering its official COVID-19 death toll after he revealed that health authorities were counting coronavirus deaths even if someone had subsequently died of other causes.
Urging people to “get on with your lives!” Heneghan said that exaggerated fears over the pandemic had led to “people going about their daily lives misunderstanding and overestimating their risk.”
“We reset how we calculate the death rates. We now need to reset how we communicate the risks of the virus,” said Heneghan.
Where is the virus? Fear is the only virus.
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