from the I'm-shocked,-shocked-I-say dept.
The U.S. government proposed manipulating information about whether N95 masks worked to fight the spread of coronavirus in the general public, according to Dr. Richard Bright, a whistleblower who testified publicly for the first time on Thursday. The deception was an effort to avoid shortages and keep masks available for U.S. health care workers, but likely had a ripple effect throughout the country, leaving many people to believe that all masks are useless or even harmful during a pandemic. Bright's testimony is the first confirmation from a high-ranking official that the U.S. government actively sought to distribute incorrect information about N95 masks during the covid-19 pandemic.
Dr. Bright told the House Subcommittee on Health on Thursday about his attempts to warn others in the Department of Health and Human Services about the pending shortage of masks in January and early February, just as the novel coronavirus was spreading outside of China. Bright said that officials at the meeting simply said they would change the recommendations put out by the CDC to discourage the general public from buying masks.
"I indicated we know there will be a critical shortage of these supplies. We need to do something to ramp up production," Dr. Bright, the former top vaccine specialist at HHS, said of a meeting with HHS officials on February 7.
"They indicated if we notice there is a shortage, that we will simply change the CDC guidelines to better inform people who should not be wearing those masks, so that would save those masks for our health care workers," Dr. Bright testified.
"My response was, 'I can not believe you can sit and say that with a straight face'," Bright said. "That was absurd."
[...] Dr. Bright's entire 6-hour testimony is available on YouTube, and it's quite damning.