In recent weeks, two prestigious scientific journals took the unprecedented step of denouncing President Trump’s handling of COVID-19. In the most recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, the Editors wrote that “Our current leaders have undercut trust in science…instead of relying on expertise, the administration has turned to uninformed “opinion leaders” and charlatans who obscure the truth…” And in this month’s issue of Scientific American, the storied publication that began 16 years before “Honest” Abe served in the White House, an inaugural presidential endorsement was made (against Mr. Trump) due to continued rejection of “evidence and science“.
My colleagues are not wrong. To become a scientist, physician and expert in a specialized medical field takes years of intensive training. Experts in public health (such as Drs. Fauci and Birx) have become trusted voices that the public has relied upon during the current pandemic. Other highly talented researchers at Regeneron (and Eli Lilly) have developed innovative treatments for COVID-19, as recently bestowed to Mr. Trump. Unfortunately, widespread availability of experimental therapies and vaccines is not likely to happen anytime soon. Until herd immunity develops (70% or more of the population develops immunity), we need to remain diligent to protect ourselves and others (masking/socially distancing/handwashing).
Bottom Line: Listen to the scientific experts who have spent their careers in advancing science, medicine and public health. They have no bone in this (dog) fight!
Michael Miller, M.D., is Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.