What scientists know about COVID-19 is changing fast. And people are confusing the possible with the probable. It's causing a lot of undue guilt and fear. In times like these, we turn to experts — but what are we supposed to think when the experts themselves are so uncertain?

We're faced with a torrent of new data, much of which is noise, but the pace of genuine scientific understanding can only go so fast. Journals have loosened their standard for papers on COVID-19 to help scientists share information. But not every new finding is going to hold up.

One respected group thought they had evidence the novel coronavirus had mutated into two strains, one more dangerous than the other. Other scientists re-examined the data and disagreed, showing how the original research over-interpreted the data. This kind of thing happens, but the original finding got instant, undeserved press.