Taste-testing the Daily COVID-19 Expert Opinion Buffet

We are offered a daily buffet of expert opinions, and in many cases these opinions are in conflict. So wisdom must be applied to our listening.

Asking the Right Questions

Here we are, weeks deep into a pandemic, and many decisions have been made. How did we come to those decisions? Are the decisions we’ve made the very best decisions? Do they protect the maximum number of people from dying from COVID-19 while also providing livable conditions for everyone? Is the relevant demographic data being taken into account?

For example, as reported in the Toronto Sun last week,  “Provincial health data shows those over age 80 account for just 19.6% of all cases but 64% of all deaths. Age 60 and over accounts for 42.8% of all cases and 93.7% of all deaths.”

If those 60 and over accounted for 93.7% of traffic fatalities, would we pull everyone off the road or would we look for ways to address, specifically, drivers who are 60 and over? Traffic isn’t an infectious disease, of course, so the comparison has its limits, but this is certainly worth thinking about.

Isolating everyone over 60 would have its challenges, but those challenges can’t possibly be greater than trying to isolate everyone when you consider the present and future economic toll of the extreme measures that have been taken.

Or how about this: “One study that got a lot of attention last week came out of Stanford, and suggests that the number of people who caught the COVID virus may have been 50 to 80 times higher than we thought. This likely means that the disease was much more contagious than was thought, that it was much less deadly than was thought, and that we actually may be coming down the other side of the curve, rather than climbing up the threatening slope.”

These ideas are worth thinking about because we are all (hopefully) more interested in preserving human life than we are about being right or sticking it to people on the other side of the political spectrum. 

Applying Wisdom

We are offered a daily buffet of expert opinions, and in many cases these opinions are in conflict. So wisdom must be applied to our listening. As my friend Aaron Rock wisely said recently,

“If you blindly ‘trust the experts’, and the experts are deluded by the Enemy, filled with sin, or without a discernible moral compass, you run the risk of endorsing decisions that have morally catastrophic implications. Likewise, when you quickly dismiss the experts as corrupt and thoroughly untrustworthy, you may fail to see God guiding them for the common good.”

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