May 5, 2021

ANALYSIS: TRUE. The experts can stay wrong longer than you can stay alive:

If you had attended the conference (alongside Lawrence O Gostin) at which the international pandemic preparedness index was created, a conference which judged a country less prepared for a pandemic if it favoured closing borders in response to a disease outbreak, and said you thought that idea was silly and anyone thinking about it for five minutes would reach the obvious conclusion that a disease which spreads from person to person will not spread if a person doesn’t cross the border and encounter another person, you’d have been right of course, but what does that count for? Is there any mechanism at all for alternative views to surface? After all, you can’t short their belief. Maybe you can get them to bet you money that’ll pay out in the event of a pandemic, but you’d actually have to convince them to take the bet. Maybe you could buy property in New Zealand like Peter Thiel did in what looks now like a pretty prescient move? None of this sounds realistic for anyone likely to be in those rooms. I think if you were an early career researcher in public health and sceptical about the prevailing beliefs, there basically isn’t much of a way for you to speak your mind at all and even if you did, if global pandemics happen every 100 years, you could have lived your whole life before being proved correct. The experts can stay wrong longer than you can stay alive.

Found via the Covid One Year Ago twitter account. Speaking of which, I wonder if the folks who run it will be looking back at flip-flopping health officials, who went from demanding nationwide lockdowns, to cheering on masses of protestors (read: rioters) starting around June of last year: 

After telling GOP to downsize convention due to COVID-19, N.C. governor marches in crowded protest.

NJ governor admits COVID-19 double standard, says recent protests are different from business owners’ complaints.

De Blasio: Large Group Protests Are Acceptable, Religious Observances Are Not.

● NPR: Dozens of public health and disease experts have signed an open letter in support of the nationwide anti-racism protests. “White supremacy is a lethal public health issue that predates and contributes to COVID-19,” they wrote.

‘Did I miss the memo?’: Hospital workers in full PPE applaud George Floyd protesters as they march past.

Related: The Suicide of Expertise.

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