WHO as Conceited and Blinkered as Ever on #CovidIsAirborne, Tweets via Comms Director Gabby Stern Display






By way of Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Gabriella “Gabby” Stern has been the Director of Communications on the International Well being Group (WHO) since 2019. She serves as spokesperson for WHO’s director normal. Sooner than that, she labored for the Invoice & Melinda Gates Basis as Director of Media & Exterior Members of the family beginning in 2016. Sooner than shifting into public members of the family, Stern were a journalist, spending nearly 25 years on the Wall Boulevard Magazine, emerging to Deputy Managing Editor of The Wall Boulevard Magazine, and the Editor for Strategic Tasks.

The sort of prominent biography makes the tweets I’m about to spread all of the extra exceptional, each for the extent of pique displayed, which is unworthy of a public members of the family skilled, and for the truth that they arrive from a Comms Director for a big global participant. Stern’s tweets additionally display that WHO — boastful and blinkered — has no longer (a) absolutely internalized its resistance to accepting the science on airborne transmission, and (b) resists to this very day. What may Stern had been considering?

I now provide Stern’s tweets.


From March 11, 2023:

First, Sparrow is a extremely certified skilled[1], although Stern treats her like a Twitter rando or troll.

Additional, Sparrow’s query is fully warranted. As far as I will be able to to find, @mvankerkhove has no longer apologized, and even expressed remorseful about, very a lot in contrast to quondam WHO Leader Scientist Soumya Swaminathan:

Q: Was once that your greatest mistake as leader scientist—no longer calling SARS-CoV-2 airborne?

A: We must have executed it a lot previous, in keeping with the to be had proof, and it’s one thing that has price the group. You’ll be able to argue that [the criticism of WHO] is bigoted, as a result of in terms of mitigation, we did speak about all of the strategies, together with air flow and overlaying. However on the similar time, we weren’t forcefully announcing: “That is an airborne virus.” .

Nor has Stern. And WHO must ask for forgiveness. (Heck, if WHO have been the Yakuza, they’d have observed are compatible to sacrifice a couple of digits.) See “COVID-19 and Airborne Transmission: Science Rejected, Lives Misplaced. Can Society Do Higher?” for what it took, and the way lengthy it took, for scientists to get WHO to even admit the possiblity that Covid is airborne. WHO’s molasses-like reaction mattered, for the reason that pandemic unfold exponentially, and every day of lengthen supposed tens of millions extra have been not able to offer protection to themselves, no longer having proper steering on transmission, to not point out executive having unhealthy steering for coverage.

In the end, when a public members of the family skilled loses it at the Twitter and tells an MD that their remarks are “unwarranted,” one thing’s long past very improper within the comms store.


From March 12, 2023:

There’s not anything “gruesome” about Sparrow’s tweet no matter. Right here’s the episode to which Sparrow refers, from the extremely revered atmospheric chemist Kimberly Prather:

In essentially the most charitable interpretation, Tedros butchers the framing totally on transmission. In the slightest degree charitable interpretation, Tedros wandered off the reservation and spoke the unspeakable reality — “Covid is airborne” — and Ryan yanked his chain and were given him to unsay what he stated. In both case, I might have concept WHO’s Director of Communications would have executed their activity, and made certain Tedros was once correctly briefed all through a presser at a vital second all through an endemic, however what of that.

Additional, when a public members of the family skilled flips out at the Twitter and tells an MD that their remarks are “gruesome,” one thing’s long past very improper within the comms store.

“Naming and shaming”

From March 13, 2023:

Stern’s touching worry for civility within the face of WHO’s coverage and communications debacle that unquestionably price many, many lives is famous. Additional, “naming and shaming” is a well known tactic within the human rights group, and lots of see the West’s reaction to the Covid pandemic via a human rights body (certainly, it’s arduous to native on the eugenics-like coverage of “Let ‘er rip” and no longer imagine that body). Dialogue will also be had about whether or not naming and shaming is an efficient tactic, however there’s no just right explanation why for Stern to rule it out a priori.

Subsequent, when “Crew 36” documented how they pressured WHO to modify direction on airborne transmission (“COVID-19 and Airborne Transmission,” above), they integrated the names and electronic mail addresses of each and every WHO functionary with whom they communicated, with the correspondence. If that’s no longer “naming and shaming,” I don’t know what’s. And if that’s advert hominem, then have at it, say I.

In the end, when a public members of the family skilled will get on their top horse about civility — as an alternative of addressing the problem to hand — one thing’s long past very improper within the comms store.

“All such answers”

From March 11, 2023:

Readers will immediately realize what Stern’s checklist — “medicines/vaccines/exams/remedies” — omits: Air flow, overlaying, and certainly all non-pharmaceutical interventions. That turns out very ordinary in the middle of an airborne pandemic. However possibly it’s no longer so ordinary in any case. Probably the most parsimonious clarification could be that Stern is just expressing the unstated perspectives of WHO’s best control, and WHO’s best control — regardless of that they modified the web page for the proles — nonetheless doesn’t settle for transmission (John Conly, “chair of WHO’s An infection Prevention and Keep watch over Analysis and Building Professional Crew for COVID-19, which makes key selections at the analysis that informs the WHO’s suggestions,” indubitably doesn’t). This thesis is supported via the truth that WHO’s notorious tweet of March 28, 2020 remains to be up. Here’s a display shot that presentations[2] how even these days, it’s nonetheless being learn and nonetheless doing harm:

If Stern essentially believed that Covid is airborne, she — and as Comms Director, she unquestionably has the clout — would have already had that tweet taken down, way back. She hasn’t, so she doesn’t.


One can most effective surprise what Stern does within the administrative center all day. Yet again from the departed and regretful Soumya Swaminathan:

Q: Sooner than you arrived, the function of leader scientist didn’t exist at WHO. How has your working out of that function developed? What would you inform a successor about it?

A: It’s a multifaceted function. , which wasn’t actually regarded as one of the crucial purposes of the executive scientist.

It kind of feels an overly ordinary factor for a Leader Scientist to turn into a “spokesperson.” Isn’t {that a} activity for the Comms other folks? Stern’s personal bio defines her as a “spokesperson” for the Director Basic, so why is Swaminathan enjoying this type of function in any respect? Wikipedia (sorry) defines a Director of Communications:

A director of communications is liable for managing and directing a company’s inner and exterior communications. Administrators of communications supervise public members of the family body of workers, create conversation methods, and and media touch for the group.

A director of communications will also be known as a public members of the family supervisor,communications director, or .

That is natural hypothesis, however it could appear affordable for Stern to have taken this function, in particular for a subject matter as essential as Covid. As a substitute, Tedros wasn’t correctly briefed, and Swaminathan ended up doing a Comms activity that wasn’t actually hers to do.

To be honest, possibly Stern sees her activity as slapping down the proles, somewhat than clinical conversation. Or possibly, to her, slapping down the proles is clinical conversation. In spite of everything, she nonetheless has it, so she’s well-placed along with her superiors, just right activity.


[1] @annie_sparrow: “MBBS FRACP MRCP MPH MD. Flying physician. Scientist. Strategist. Assist employee. Activist. Affiliate Professor World Well being Icahn Faculty Drugs @ Mount Sinai.”

[2] Twitter does no longer give the dates of likes or retweets, however they’re indexed in opposite chronological order, so this Like took place after March 12.


Here’s Stern’s profile image on Twitter, environment an instance for the sector:

By no means thoughts Stern being unmasked. Let’s simply hope Oscar the Cat isn’t inflamed, as a result of cats can transmit all through shut touch (CDC; Rising Infectious Illnesses).

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