Apr. 21, 2020

Thoughts on this pandemic and mistrust of scientists and the medical community

I was watching the news last night and saw the people who are protesting and defying the quarantine.  Personally, I don’t feel an imperative to return to work because I am an educator and I am still teaching, still getting my regular salary. Now, my investments are suffering, but I’m not worrying about those right now. I’m not in a position to worry about money, so I can’t understand why people are protesting. Why they feel that money is more important than lives. But then, I remember that some of these people are not getting the same information as others. We have become so polarized and tend to stay in our political and media silos that we almost seem to be living in two different worlds.

This got me to thinking about science and how for some reason, people have been led to doubt science and scientists, along with the media and people who serve in government. I am also aware that moneyed interests drive our media and our politics. On one news program, the commentator was talking about this issue of living in silos such that some have a totally different belief system when it comes to science and politics. It was mentioned that one station has been promoting how Sweden has not required their citizens to be locked down. At the same time, the actual facts, how many have contracted the disease and how many have died from the disease are not being given along with the promotion of no quarantine. Sweden has the highest mortality rate in Nordic countries, more than Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. So people that watch conservative media think that Sweden is doing just fine without locking down their citizens, not knowing the high mortality rate there.

This same kind of doubt in science has stymied any political action on climate change. The science of climate change, the preponderance and convergence of evidence that supports the theory of anthropogenic climate change, has been brought into doubt by conservative media and conservative politicians. Of course, it is the petrol-chemical industry that is influencing these misconceptions. Moneyed interests have been influencing politicians forever.

The scientists that work for government, from the EPA, to NOAA, to the USDA to epidemiologists teams have been censured and removed by the current administration. Apparently, the facts and evidence do not convince a POTUS who rules from his gut, his hunches, his desires. Facts have become fake news and now, conservatives don’t even trust the medical community in the midst of an unprecedented world pandemic. The inconsistent messages leave many even less trusting of anything coming out of press conferences.

I know this sounds mean, but I do think Mother Earth is culling the herd. If you continue to ignore the facts, the science, the sound medical advice, you might get ill out there. I am wondering if this pandemic will actually change the electorate in 2020. Those of us who stay informed and stay quarantined, will be around for the next round of elections. Many who mistrust science and insist that money is more important than lives may forfeit their lives. You can’t earn or spend money or vote if you are six feet under. And you can’t take care of your family if you are ill. Are we so entranced by the belief in money and that a constantly growing economy will trickle down that we will continue on the hamster wheel for our corporate masters?

This mistrust of science is formed by years of propaganda. Too many have been trained to mistrust the very institutions that strive to keep us safe, healthy and thriving. Climate change is a liberal hoax and so are all those scientists. This pandemic is not a problem and those crazy Democrats are making a mountain out of a molehill. Democratic socialism will give us a country like Venezuela not Demark, Finland, Norway or Sweden. If the conservatives like Sweden so much, why not adopt some of their policies that are good for people like health care for everyone.

I know I am most likely preachin’ to the choir, but maybe someone will read this and step out of their silo. Maybe they will wonder why so many people think the response to the pandemic has been incompetent. Or actually look at the facts and figures. Why does the United States have the highest rate of infection on the planet? Oh, were doing more testing so our figures are inflated. Okay, let’s look at mortality rates. The United States has nearly 45,000 deaths today. Spain has 21,000. Italy has 24,000, China has less than 5,000 and they have over a billion people. The facts clearly put the United States as having almost twice as many deaths as any other country. Why is this? Do these facts make an impact on your belief system that nobody could have foreseen this pandemic or that our country has responded efficiently to this crisis. And if they are able to discern this truth, maybe they will question the other propaganda they have been victim to such as mistrusting scientists who warn us about climate change. Science isn’t a bad thing. Scientists can be liberal or conservative, but at their hearts, they are truth seekers. Isn’t it about time we let the truth come to light? The truth will keep you and yours alive during this extraordinary event.