When Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Secretary of Defense 1975-77 and 2001-06 first made the statement below, way back when, I thought it was the dumbest thing I had ever heard…….what did it even mean?
“The message is that there are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”
As I reflect on the statement now, it is a perfect description of what we are going through with the current pandemic. I have heard so many politicians and lay people bemoan the fact that we are getting mixed messages from the doctors and scientists. How can we ever trust a thing they say?
The simple matter is that Covid 19 came in as an unknown. As it gathered steam and statistics were created, we had some known knowns, but still had some known unknowns. Despite serious progress being made and knowledge being gained, current evidence suggests that there are still many unknown unknowns (things that we don’t know we don’t know) about this disease.
The scientists and doctors are not necessarily lying or deliberately trying to mislead us, as the course of the pandemic progresses. They are simply following the science, doing what scientists do. Until they have the most up to date information, how can we expect them to tell us exactly what we need to do and be assured that these instructions will be adequate for the long term.
We all have to stop dissing the doctors and scientists when the instructions change. We need to stop listening to the internet and politicians who express opinions that are purely their own, based on a hunch or the metrics in their head, without any credible science to back it up.
As my readers know, my posts are based on personal experiences and photos. What in the name of Covid could have prompted this post?
Walking by the lake the other day, I could feel spray on my face. Where was it coming from? The aerating fountain in the lake was running and the wind was blowing from the NW towards us. When I Google measured the distance this spray had travelled, I found it was 137 meters (450 feet) away from where I was standing.
Which takes me on to my next rant. I watch people in the news, invoking the Charter of Freedoms and Rights (Canada) or their Constitutional Rights (U.S.) to justify why they do not and will not ever wear a mask in stores or when social distancing is not possible and almost coming to blows when told they must. Why the attitude? Yes, you have rights, but only until they infringe on somebody else’s rights? Why do your rights trump mine? Yes I chose that word deliberately. If I wear a mask, I am protecting you. If you wear a mask, you are protecting me. Why can’t we all just do the right thing? If you sneeze and I am wearing a mask, I am not protected? Droplets could go into my eyes or pass through my mask.
When we were in Vancouver in March, a person without a mask ahead of us sneezed in bright morning sunlight. The halo of droplets spread out for about 5 meters (16 feet) around them. I thought that was the worst it could get, until….. I felt the spray from the fountain.
Do the right thing folks. It is the most selfless thing you can do. When there are no more unknown unknowns, perhaps we can get closer to normal, but not yet. Perhaps, Covid 19 is not the virus here, maybe we are and the Earth is trying to rid itself of the human virus
Stay well. Physically distance (Practice Safe Six, as they say). Wear a mask when you can’t and when indoors and in stores.