As the pandemic took hold, most epidemiologists have had clear proscriptions in fighting it: No students in classrooms, no in-person religious services, no visits to sick relatives in hospitals, no large public gatherings.
So when conservative anti-lockdown protesters gathered on state capitol steps in places like Columbus, Ohio, and Lansing, Mich., in April and May, epidemiologists scolded them and forecast surging infections. When Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia relaxed restrictions on businesses in late April as testing lagged and infections rose, the talk in public health circles was of that state’s embrace of human sacrifice.
And then the brutal killing of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis on May 25 changed everything.
Soon the streets nationwide were full of tens of thousands of people in a mass protest movement that continues to this day, with demonstrations and the toppling of statues. And rather than decrying mass gatherings, more than 1,300 public health officials signed a May 30 letter of support, and many joined the protests.
That reaction, and the contrast with the epidemiologists’ earlier fervent support for the lockdown, gave rise to an uncomfortable question: Was public health advice in a pandemic dependent on whether people approved of the mass gathering in question? To many, the answer seemed to be “yes.”
Duh. It “seemed” to be yes because it is yes.
Now watch as some of the “public health scientists” demonstrate their unreliability:
Some public health scientists publicly waved off the conflicted feelings of their colleagues, saying the country now confronts a stark moral choice. The letter signed by more than 1,300 epidemiologists and health workers urged Americans to adopt a “consciously anti-racist” stance and framed the difference between the anti-lockdown demonstrators and the protesters in moral, ideological and racial terms.
Those who protested stay-at-home orders were “rooted in white nationalism and run contrary to respect for Black lives,” the letter stated.
By contrast, it said, those protesting systemic racism “must be supported.”
“As public health advocates,” they stated, “we do not condemn these gatherings as risky for Covid-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national public health.”
I would not trust the scientific conclusions of any epidemiolgist who signed this statement. For it shows they are not guided by scientific thinking; they are guided by ideology.