COVID-19 My Predictions Part 5 – Skepticism about “Experts”
“Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it.” Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love
“Philosophers are people who know less and less about more and more, until they know nothing about everything. Scientists are people who know more and more about less and less, until they know everything about nothing.” Konrad Lorenz
Prediction 5 – People will no longer blindly follow expert’s advice.
Are you losing faith in experts? You probably should.
As late as 60 days ago the World Health Organization’s (WHO) official position was that China was doing a great job and the COVID-19 virus wouldn’t be a risk. How was that predication? It was also their initial position that masks didn’t have any impact on the transmission of the virus. I am not a Medical Doctor, but it stands to reason that a mask would have some utility on blocking an airborne virus! Speaking of not being a Medical Doctor, did you know that the Director General of the WHO isn’t either?
How did other leaders do? The top experts said as late as 5 weeks ago that masks don’t work. Now the say that they do.
But we have enough masks, right? I mean, now experts all agree that high quality masks are crucial in an airborne pandemic. And we do have pandemics periodically, so I am sure that there is a huge supply…
Nope, because other experts decided to offshore most of our manufacturing capabilities.
But what about medicine? Surely that is a strategic capability that we kept control over! Nope. Bristol-Myers Squibb closed its East Syracuse factory in 2004, and that was the last plant to manufacture key ingredients for crucial antibiotics like penicillin. In a 2009 article, the New York Times said “during a pandemic the United States would not be able to rely on vaccines manufactured largely in Europe because of possible border closures and supply shortages.”
But wait, there is more! “Dr. Yusuf K. Hamied, chairman of Cipla, one of the world’s most important suppliers of pharmaceutical ingredients, says his company and others have grown increasingly dependent on Chinese suppliers. “If tomorrow China stopped supplying pharmaceutical ingredients, the worldwide pharmaceutical industry would collapse,” he said.”
But the experts let it happened anyway.
How about local experts?
“Experts” in New York told people to “continue with their lives” even as the pandemic was spreading. Because people in the New York city area believed their local experts, New York State and New Jersey became the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in the United States.
Experts told us the travel ban was a bad idea and that it was xenophobic. Now those same experts complain that we took too long to institute the travel ban and that we should have known to do so much earlier.
We need experts! They spend decades learning their particular field of study and should be consulted and listened to. If you made any organizational decisions about how to handle COVID-19 without consulting a medical expert, you made a huge mistake! However, it is your responsibility to synthesize what they say and make your own decisions about how to proceed.
Expertise is great! But so is remembering history and applying common sense.
Next I'll discuss the rejection of science by leaders.
It is always amazing to me how people think they can micromanage large systems. The current response to COVID -19 is amazing in its speed and size, but I can tell you that my personal experience is not good. I am on the Board of Director’s of a local nonprofit club. We have a bar, a kitchen and many employees who are now furloughed. We want to bring them all back! But for some reason we don’t qualify for aide. Why??? Even a pandemic, the government feels compelled to pick winners and losers.