We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Rightly or wrongly, Trump and other national leaders took the advice of medical experts when they offered terrifying predictions.
Experts are of course fallible, but another problem with expertise is the tendency to view things through their specific lens. Safety experts, for example, might wish the max speed limit to be 35 mph. It would save many lives.
Imagine you are one of the "experts" in front of the camera lights with the nation hanging on your every word.
Are you going to say, all will be well, and risk the blowback to your ego and reputation if things go south, or are you going to say, "Things are going to Hell, but if we do A, B, and C, things might not be so bad. " Then when your dire predictions don't pan out, you can be acclaimed as a hero because your directives were followed.
It's easy to see why they behave as they do. And let's not forget the ego trip of the attention and the power they briefly hold.
Meanwhile they can't stop the spread of the illness at all.
And the public just laps their bullshit and wants more.
All of the models that predict both the spread of the virus and its effect on the economy are multi-variable logistical models. The "optimal" course of action depends heavily on which of the variables you choose to optimize. If you optimize for slowest spread rate you will get a very different course of action than if you choose to optimize for minimum economic disruption. Both of these are just as "scientific" in that the answer comes out of the equations. The question of which variables to optimize for is a question of policy, just as subject to judgement and debate as any other political question.
Another Guy named Dan
If you remember Freon was banned based on the experts claims and their computer model forecasts. Supposedly Freon caused the hole in the ozone so if Freon was banned the hole in the ozone would close. Well, the hole in the ozone hasn't closed and a hole in the ozone actually opened in the northern hemisphere. That sure wasn't predicted by the experts with their computer models.
Well, as expensive as this lesson is going to be I am confident that in 18 months we will know what was right to do and what was a mistake. Having said that I would still expect it to be a political football such that if Trump were to win in November that they would still impeach him for failing to prevent any and all deaths.
Science is the practice of relying most firmly on whichever currently circulating hypotheses have suffered the least from efforts to disprove them so far. Most important, it's the practice of continuing revising theories as new evidence comes in, instead of clinging to beliefs out of habit or comfort--but that includes unscientific beliefs.
I expect the experts will tell me what they know and detail the uncertainty of the situation & data, and the relative risk of possible actions. Then the policy making leaders will decide on the best course of action, weighing the risks and trade-offs. Is there any other, better, way to manage through a crisis?
Both the experts and leadership have let us down. They should and could have done better.
I don't agree. The one exception I see where your point would be correct is that NY failed terribly when they put Covid-19 patients back into nursing homes AND when they didn't insist that others in nursing homes with symptoms were immediately transferred to hospitals. I think what they did actually might be criminal.