What’s behind the COVID Public Health Switcher?

Anthony Fauci.

Anthony Fauci. Illustrated | Getty Images, iStock

You may have noticed that the public health guidelines have changed significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic process. Initially, masks were not recommended. Since then, they have been mandated in many settings. First, people were asked to choose between vaccination and wearing a mask. Nowadays, people are often told to wear a mask even after vaccination. For months, the number of new COVID cases has been treated as an important measure of the severity of the surge. But lately, there has been a message that hospitalization and death are important.

Changing standards and expectations have led to: National ReviewMichael Brendan Dougherty (Alumni of) 1 week), To suggestion This is unmanageable switcheroo By public health authorities, Including President Biden. Others claim that it was just a change, and the CDC, Anthony Fauci, the President, and others simply made reasonable adjustments to those changes.

The truth is somewhere in the middle.

A pandemic involving a new coronavirus, including a series of different variants with different levels of mortality and infectivity, inevitably creates a high degree of uncertainty between physicians and epidemiologists. At the same time, public health professionals whose mission is to inform the country how best to respond to risks at any point in the pandemic are, of course, authoritative and simple to be taken seriously. I feel that I need to speak with it. The tensions between these poles-uncertainty in fluid situations and the desire for authority and simplicity-produce mixed messages and sometimes even appear incompetent.

When that predictable outcome is confused with cultural war, the outcome is even worse. That is, the spread of suspicion of malicious intent of civil servants and the spread of corrosive distrust of experts and the institutions they lead. At worst, this distrust can flow into the acceptance of conspiracy theories that the government deliberately excludes individual freedom and violates our physical integrity for fraudulent purposes.

It’s no mistake that Doherty and other critics are careful when public health professionals make mistakes or contradict themselves. However, they spend some time playing “pitfalls”, spend some time showing an understanding of the difficult situations these professionals are facing, and are already badly polarized and obey authority. Trying to save lives in a vast and chaotic country of 330 million people who dislike it. Of any kind.

The last thing the United States needs is another deeper cycle of institutional outlawing.

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