As I watch the world cope with the pandemic something really stuck me. Americans, and probably the world at large, are just not accustomed to how science works. We are accustomed to just going to a respected website and getting a well-established and researched answer. Want to know the symptoms of chickenpox? Easy. What to know what constitutes a dangerous fever, and what means your kid is fine? Easy. All of that and more is easy to find on the web, or by calling your doctor.
When something like COVID-19 comes along, a new virus that has the potential to be a global disaster, we want the same instant answers. We expect to go to CDC, WHO, our doctors, or other experts and get quick answers. And guess what? They give them. They give the best and answers they have at the time.
The problem is the best answers you have in the first couple months of a new pandemic are at best-educated guesses. It takes time and research to get good answers. Fortunately, science has a way to take care of this. They take care of it by changing their answers as they learn more.
The problem is that means sometimes things they said do not do, later they tell you to do. Sometimes science has to reverse their answers more than once. Each time they give their best answers, and sometimes those answers are wrong especially when they are rushing as fast as they can to get answers out.
So, what happens? People are like “You lied to us! You said X was bad, and now it is good!” or the like. Sadly, comments like this are from lack of understanding of the scientific process.
Instead, we should do the best we can with the answers we have and understand that those answers may change as we get more information. It could be years before we really have solid answers, but we cannot wait on them. We act in the here and now, and correct as we go.
So, for now, I suggest you listen to the experts, such as Dr. Fauci, and understand that no expert is perfect and all things could (and likely will) change but that does not mean the experts are not giving out the best advice they can right now.