When Public Health Experts Overreach the Public Loses Faith


MINOT, N.D. — The COVID-19 pandemic has given us all an object lesson in why public health officials and experts need to be mindful of how the public perceives them.

We got confusing mixed messages about masking. Many public health officials rushed to sign off on left-wing protests during the pandemic even as they derided events, such as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, as “superspreader” events.

It’s almost as if many of these supposedly fact-based, science-driven experts were filtering their public health pronouncements through their political belief system.

This, unfortunately, has driven a not insignificant decline in the trust the public feels for public health experts.

Still, throughout the pandemic, many demanded that our elected leaders step aside so that the technical experts could govern us. Gov. Doug Burgum certainly came under that fire. His opponent in the last election, Democrat Shelley Lenz, announced during her campaign a plan to address the pandemic by appointing technical experts to make decisions for her.

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