Six days after our @Surgeon_General said this, our schools and non-essential businesses were closed and I was living under a stay-at-home order, for what he said was no worse than flu (actually he implied flu was worse).
He also said:
Americans should take comfort in knowing that we have the best team in the world to protect them from COVID-19. … No place in the world is better prepared to handle this challenge.
These are nonsensical platitudes. I can think of several places in the world that were better prepared to handle this challenge. Taiwan, for instance: Taiwan’s coronavirus response is among the best globally, CNN, 5 April 2020
Part of my job as surgeon general is to communicate the best available science to the American people — and that includes how we as a country, as communities and individuals, should act to stay healthy.
How should we act to stay healthy? By thinking of COVID-19 as no worse than the seasonal flu and by not wearing a mask in public (advice which he changed literally overnight because, I guess, a bunch of science was conducted and peer-reviewed in a matter of hours).
The problem with me realizing that our institutions are not “communicating the best available science” is that I no longer trust them. And it leaves me with a trust void. And it bleeds into and mixes with and reinforces lack-of-trust in all these other areas of life. I don’t trust studies, unless I investigate the authors and sponsors, a task that has become too arduous and time-consuming. I don’t trust Google and Microsoft and Amazon and other tech companies when they say they are doing something for my benefit. I don’t trust Big Pharma, health insurance companies, and just about every institution associated with the health and medical field. I don’t even trust photos anymore (photoshop).