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  • jyotleen.dewal

Transparency, or Lack Thereof

The lack of transparency in reported information from various organizations and individuals has only caused more confusion as Americans attempt to navigate the complicated and altered world of COVID-19. 

As pharmaceutical companies race to develop an effective vaccine (with November 3rd as a flexible deadline), they fail to disclose the terms by which they conduct their clinical vaccine trials. This past September, AstraZeneca announced that it halted human testing after an individual developed significant neurological symptoms. A week later, the company resumed clinical trials in Britain-- but without disclosing the status of the patient with raised concern. 

In September, AstraZeneca and eight other pharmaceutical companies pledged to stand by correct procedure and science in developing a COVID vaccine-- just as they would formulate and administer any other drug during a normal year. Yet, independent scientists point out that the agreement excludes the commitment of these companies to share more expository details about their findings with the public. 

It’s decisions like these that provoke American citizens and scientists alike to question the safety of such vaccines. Put simply, Dr. Harlan Krumholz of Yale University states, “Trust is in short supply.” 

Continuing with the Covid-19 theme within the realm of transparency: President Trump and his recovery. This past weekend, Americans seemed to gather more contradictory details than helpful information regarding the health of the president. On Saturday, White House Dr. Sean Conley repeatedly dodged questions inquiring if the president was sick enough to be administered oxygen. After reiterating multiple times that oxygen was not given, Conley openly admitted on Sunday to administering oxygen to the president on Friday after his blood oxygen levels dropped. He claimed that his failure to deliver the entirety of the truth was his attempt to keep the spirits up of the American people (similar to President Trump’s claim in September that he disguised the severity of the Coronavirus to protect American citizens.) 

Mark Meadows-- the White House Chief of Staff-- stated on Friday that the president had, “very mild symptoms.” Yet just the next day, he disclosed that President Trump’s “vitals were very concerning,” and that his path to recovery remained unclear. 

This constant stream of contradictory information only casts Americans further into a shadow of confusion and frustration. Not being administered the dose of truth, but rather a dosage of “attempted comfort,” is unsettling in it of itself. Transparency must be highlighted in every discussion henceforward, and all Americans have the duty of consuming information with biases in mind.

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