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Base health decisions on sound science

To paraphrase a former U.S. ambassador, “You are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that many of the so-called “facts” that have been used for personal and public decision-making are not based on statistically sound data. Americans must understand that “testimonials” and “anecdotes” about (whether for or against) vaccines, masking and social distancing do not constitute sound science.

Important public health decisions must be based on the current, best reviewable science, generated, replicated and vigorously debated by top experts in the field. Much of what’s being sold as “truth” by nonexperts on social media, in the letters to the editor or at the coffee shop does not meet this rigorous standard and should not be treated with the same merit as sound science, as misguided politicians and leaders seem to assert.

A great amount of suffering is at stake if we continue to listen (and act upon) every opinion regardless of whether it has any basis in fact.

Jack Cartier, MD

retired Durango ER physician