So remember the tear-jerking story about a 26-year-old resident at a NYC hospital who tragically died of COVID? Half of the country was sobbing about his tragic and harrowing death a month ago.
Today NYTimes published a retraction. The fellow is perfectly fine. Never was sick at all.
Imagine how many people read the story back in April, heard friends retell it, caught a glimpse of a headline in their news feed. None of them are going to see the retraction because nobody scours ancient stories for retractions.
It’s only if you pay attention that you realize how many of the stories that have shaped our understanding of this crisis have been retracted, how many studies were debunked, how many models turned out to be completely wrong, and how many people describing painful COVID symptoms on social media and collecting thousands of retweets tested negative for COVID five times and were referred to a psychiatrist for delusional ideation (true story).
But nobody is paying attention because they already know that this is an enormously dangerous virus. Which they know from the harrowing stories, scary-looking graphs, testimonials from fake doctors and nurses (true stories) and, hey, remember that young resident dying in NYC? How could you doubt after all this proof?