In DepthVoices of the Pandemic

The United Kingdom's mask crusader

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Science  16 Oct 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6514, pp. 276-277
DOI: 10.1126/science.370.6514.276


Trisha Greenhalgh is a firm believer in evidence-based medicine. A physician and expert in health care delivery at the University of Oxford, Greenhalgh wrote a best-selling book on the topic, and her research has earned some of her nation's highest honors. But lately she's been arguing that COVID-19 has revealed the limits of evidence-based medicine and the privileging of randomized controlled studies over clinical experience and close observation. In May, when several prominent U.K. scientists argued there was insufficient evidence to recommend face masks to help control the spread of COVID-19, Greenhalgh was furious. She has since become a tireless advocate for masks and other common-sense measures to fight the pandemic. It's not more research that's needed, she says, but more thinking.

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