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For all of us who have watched with mounting terror as President Trump offers the public a series of half-baked ideas and hunches on how to handle, treat and cure covid-19, the solution seems obvious: Follow the science. Trump’s detractors have taken up this mantra. “Follow the science, listen to the experts,” says Joe Biden. “The West Coast is — and will continue to be — guided by SCIENCE,” tweets California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). “We’re going to follow the advice of the scientists and doctors,” says Maryland’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan.
But what does that mean? After all, it was Anthony S. Fauci who initially downplayed the dangers of the novel coronavirus. On Jan. 26, for example, he said, “It’s a very, very low risk to the United States. . . . It isn’t something the American public needs to worry about or be frightened about.” A few days later, Alex Azar, the secretary of health and human services, said, “The risk of infection for Americans remains low.” To be fair, he was merely reflecting the view of the government’s public-health officials.