- Dr. Fauci recently said that trusting public health agencies is crucial if we ever want to defeat the coronavirus.
- Some agencies, like the CDC, have unfortunately modified statements and safety guidelines in response to pressure from White House officials.
- A top infectious disease doctor recently said that the next three months will be the “darkest of the entire pandemic.”
The coronavirus in the U.S. has unfortunately become a divisive political issue for reasons that still defy explanation. So while it would have been ideal for everyone in the country to be on the same page when it comes to coronavirus safety guidelines from day one, opinions about how to best combat COVID-19 tend to split along party lines.
Part of the problem is that government organizations like the CDC have been subject to political pressures, often from the White House itself. As a prime example, an official from the Trump administration, back in September, urged the CDC to change its COVID-19 safety guidelines with respect to school re-openings.
The sad reality is that the CDC, which should ideally elicit trust from the public, is now looked upon with suspicion by people on both sides of the aisle. Some of the CDC’s waffling on certain issues — such as airborne transmission — hasn’t helped matters either.
Touching on this issue, Dr. Anthony Fauci, during a recent interview with the Project on Government Oversight, explained why this distrust and skepticism of public health agencies is so dangerous. Fauci also noted that it’s something of a two-way street to the extent that public health agencies need to be transparent about what’s going on behind the scenes.
“It’s absolutely essential,” Fauci said, “because if you’re going to make scientific-based public health recommendations, everything has got to be transparent.”
“Otherwise, once you lose the confidence of people, they don’t believe what you’re saying or they believe you’re holding things back or they believe there’s a political motivation to things,” Fauci added. “And we’ve got to admit it — those of us in government, all of us, you and I and all of the people that work for me, and all the people that work for you — that there is a building distrust now in the transparency of what we do. It’s the elephant in the room.”
“You’ve got to make sure that everybody understands where we’re going,” Fauci also said. “What is the goal, and how we’re going to get there. And then you lead by example. Consistency is also very important. You can’t, you know, flip-flop on things. Sometimes you change because the evidence changes, but you can’t flip-flop on things.”
Especially now, with the coronavirus surging across the country, it’s imperative that people across the country, no matter their political affiliation, get on the same page when it comes to basic coronavirus safety measures like mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines. And getting to that point, naturally, requires more trust between the public at large and public health agencies.