The NY Times relied upon a software engineer who retrained in sociology to study the intersection of technology and society to write columns on epidemiology topics. The NY Times gave her an enormous platform.
The NY Times called her “the only good amateur epidemiologist”.
Let’s look at an example of her expertise:
As of March 2023, Slovakia had the 11th highest mortality rate in the world, higher than the U.S.’s 19 ranking.
Per the NY Times, her qualifications were that she talked fast, with an accent and did not have the arrogance of social media celebrity epidemiologists:
Dr. Tufekci, a 40-something who speaks a mile a minute with a light Turkish accent, has none of the trappings of the celebrity academic or the professional pundit. But long before she became perhaps the only good amateur epidemiologist, she had quietly made a habit of being right on the big things.
Source: How Zeynep Tufekci Keeps Getting the Big Things Right – The New York Times
Per the NY Times, Tufecki’s errors are why the CDC flipped on masks. The CDC fell for Tufecki’s nonsense:
The C.D.C. changed its tune in April, advising all Americans above the age of 2 to wear masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Michael Basso, a senior health scientist at the agency who had been pushing internally to recommend masks, told me Dr. Tufekci’s public criticism of the agency was the “tipping point.”
The CDC maintained that homemade cloth facemask worked for about a year and half, when it quietly pivoted to say we should use certified surgical masks or N95 respirators. Later studies found neither worked to stop the community spread of Covid-19.
As of March 2023, the global community has disposed of nearly 1 billion masks every day, on average, for the past 3 years – all for little to no benefit. Say that again: we threw away almost 1 billion masks per day for three years.
Thus, we didn’t stop Covid but at least we made many people fearful and angry, and we created an environmental catastrophe, so it was all good!
Tufecki promoted using paper towels as masks:
Her nonsense caused the public to make bad decisions, falsely implying if we just had homemade cloth face masks -or damp paper towels – life would return to normal. There were experts who asserted that summer might be the end of the pandemic. If many of us had known how wrong the Experts were, we would have made vastly different decisions on how to bide our time for the next two years.
The pandemic ended when, per NIH and CDC, almost everyone in the country had Covid-19, at least once. Which is how most pandemics of highly transmissible respiratory viruses have ended in the past.
Update: She put her entire career on the line and if true, she should fade away at this point:
At the time of this blog post, she’s posting on Twitter that those who criticized her are anti-vaxxers (for the record – again – I had 13 vaccinations shots from December 2019 to December 2022 and will get at least two more in 2023.) This appears to be her strawman-argument to engage in name-calling those who have pointed out her errors and the effects those errors had on real people.
In one paper she wrote, she concluded the importance of masks was to create ritual and solidarity: