Told ya so! Mask-wearing Trump is a huge scalp for this obscure ...

World

Told ya so! Mask-wearing Trump is a huge scalp for this obscure data whizz

It started on a whim, but what Jeremy Howard found out about face coverings transformed global opinion

Jennifer Rigby and John Mullin

On America’s west coast a little-known data scientist watched from his living room, scarcely believing his eyes.

Donald Trump, who had long sneered at face coverings, was finally sporting one, and in public. And, with that black US presidential seal-embossed mask, Jeremy Howard’s extraordinary mission had helped claim the most important scalp of all.

After a week in which the world, with the exception still of vast swathes of the US, embraced masks as a vital tool to fight coronavirus, Howard’s almost accidental role in contributing to a shift in world opinion can be revealed as key...

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