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Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020 - 21:03 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

Quis Custodiet

"I Have No Ideology. My Ideology Is Health."

- Dr. Anthony Fauci, on confirming that his expert recommendations are largely being taken

Today's short discussion will be on the prospective anti-coronavirus drug, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). Clearly, any semi-effective treatment would be heavensent right now, and several preliminary - if limited - studies have suggested that HCQ may be effective, with some additional anecdotal support. Italy at least has already begun mass application of the fairly long-known anti-malarial, because when you've a bunch of patients literally on their deathbeds with insufficient ventilators and staff, why not allow them the Right to Try?

Amidst this rare ray of light in such dark times, you would of course have Twitter stepping in to delete relevant tweets by public figures such as Fox News host Laura Ingraham, and former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani, on touting HCQ's effectiveness. Just so the details are clarified, Ingraham's mistake appeared to mainly be about the affiliation of the doctor she quoted; the claim that "many hospitals" are trying HCQ seems fair enough. Giuliani's issue seemed to be retweeting a claim of a 100% treatment effective rate, which is however the result of the admittedly limited French trial.

Above all this, the unsaid problem is: who died and made Twitter the ultimate arbiter of truth?

There's the argument that citizens might act inappropriately on the information, such as the unfortunate fellow who perished after drinking fish tank solvent of the same name, but seriously one can only muster limited sympathy about that. Moreover, the FDA has just cleared HCQ for emergency use anyway, which to me exposes the partisan bias of platforms such as Twitter and Reddit (consider their differing decisions on whether to lock similar posts criticizing the Chinese and American leaders respectively), the manipulation of which seems to have been unironically lapped up by the mainstream, according to a Stanford study.

Maybe if they were colour-coordinated?
(Source: huffpost.com)

The most pertinent example of how truth and authority might not coincide, then, would be on face masks. Remember when various health authorities were eagerly peddling the line that common folk didn't need one, and that it didn't really help? Well, the U.S. CDC is for one seriously considering rescinding that quite possibly-mistaken guidance, because it sure looks like mass wearing of masks helps prevent the spread especially once community transmission has begun - which makes plenty of sense due to asymptomatic transmission being attested.

This of course brings us to the supposed foremost health authority - the WHO - insisting mid-January that there's no evidence of human-to-human transmission (this tweet notably not deleted by Twitter, or labelled as false information)... and this is without mentioning how the WHO were stating that the coronavirus "isn't airborne", and were staunchly against strict international travel restrictions when it would have actually worked, unlike America's wise early ban, which sadly wasn't comprehensive enough and moreover got slammed as racist. Tellingly, there's a case to be made that it was those who disregarded the WHO's and corporate FAKE NEWS' early downplaying of the situation - such as Taiwan - who came off the best.

Anyway, the main point here would be: regardless of one's political leanings, I hope that it can be recognized that deplatforming as a policy is not a good practice. Sure, maybe some might think that those who have had their tweets or posts deleted deserve it, because they're obviously in the wrong. Well, if history is any indication, they could soon find out what it's like to be silenced too.

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Next: A Plague On Both Powers

Related Posts:
Of Logic, Looting, Twitter & Disinformation (Part II)
Of Logic, Looting, Twitter & Disinformation (Part 2.5)
Of Logic, Looting, Twitter & Disinformation (Part I)
Corona Update (Part II)
Of Logic, Looting, Twitter & Disinformation (Part 2.75)

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