I have wanted to make this simple yet important point for a long time. The media and the public err in both ways and hugely so. In some cases, especially in fields like theoretical physics, the media (and the part of the public that is brainwashed by the media) seem to think that the expertise doesn't matter and the opinions of a much broader spectrum of "pundits" are equally credible, to say the least.
When it comes to the research into quantum gravity and the unification of forces, some O(1000) people in the world are currently professionally involved with the research and competent at the same moment; about O(10,000) may be expected to have informed opinions about many questions. It's just a hard field that requires a very high intelligence as well as decades (time) to build a pyramid of knowledge that depends on the lower stories of the pyramid. However, this is also a field that is presented as something that is "collectively built" by millions of talking heads and the opinions of tons of talking heads – who clearly don't belong to the group of actual experts (e.g. just some media-savvy pseudoscientists or scientists who did their good research 50 years ago) – are being constantly sold by the media as if they were the "real science".
In other topics, especially the less demanding ones, exactly the opposite distortion is taking place and it is equally insane. There are surely tens of millions of people on Earth who have basically understood the important facts and ideas related to the Earth's (and places') changing temperature and many of the important physical and statistical processes that affect it. However, it is also a field where the media want to create the illusion of the "anointed thousands" who have the monopoly to talk about the weather and the climate. Well, in many cases, it is "hundreds of thousands" but it is the people chosen according to their support for the climate alarmist pseudoscience, not according to their actual knowledge of atmospheric physics, geology, and other fields.
The Covid hysteria is clearly an example of the second type – epidemiology is presented as a highly selective field. But like in the case of the climate, there are millions of people on Earth who have the prerequisites (knowledge of some basic life processes, reproduction of the viruses etc., plus some knowledge of the "mathematical physics" needed to calculate the growth and propagation of a disease) and who became really good after they invested some of their time to "learn a lot about Covid-19". Some of the people did end up knowing much more than others but the "initial pool" from which the experts could have been expected to emerge wasn't small in any way. If you took less than 1 million people, you would have missed a majority of the "current most penetrating experts" in the questions related to this particular disease (plus its context).
Instead of those millions, the media was working hard to create the illusion that "only several people should talk about this matter", like Fauci, Fergusson, and a few other fishy individuals. Quite generally, the people who had a stamp saying "epidemiologist" were greatly elevated – as long as they were willing to cooperate in the great deception and the fabrication of the mass psychosis. In Czechia, almost everyone in the medical elite understands that Covid-19 isn't a big deal. But that's exactly why some people – especially the new minister, "Colonel Professor" Roman Prymula, became so powerful now. He was a person whose specialization seemed narrow enough and, as a guy from the military circles, he was willing to establish an authoritarian system justified by the Covid hysteria. He did it in spring when much of the nation was really worried; but he was invited to do it again now, when an overwhelming majority of the nation has already understood that there is really nothing to worry about.
This guy is basically the only "sufficiently prominent" physician in Czechia who spreads the meme that we should be worried about Covid-19. The bulk of the medical elite started a petition titled
The Open Letter by Physicians to the Government And Media Concerning the So-Called Coronavirus Crisison Friday. At this moment, there are 36k signatures, one is added every 2-3 seconds in average. Prominent doctors like heart surgeon Pirk and the dentist-in-chief Šmucler ask the government to
* calm down the citizenry and stop producing piles of not too relevant numbers about one disease
* stop further restrictive policies
* reduce the mandatory face masks to places where their usefulness is clear enough
* terminate the habit of testing of the asymptomatic people; the adequacy of a test should be decided by personal doctors
* guarantee that too quickly developed vaccines won't flood the Czech market; forget about the dreams of a mandatory vaccination
* focus its energy on the economy that has been ruined.
The rest of the letter explains why the virus isn't the greatest worry, in comparison with other things (and their medical impact). Fine, so 70-80% of the people and and an even greater percentage of the physicians really agree with the letter. Col Prymula finds it inconvenient so he attacked the authors and the signatories. The hysterical Coronazi media (which, thankfully, don't cover most of the influential Czech news outlets) try to help him and write their hit pieces about the signatories, their knowledge, their morality, and other things. Surely they don't understand epidemiology, readers are told.
Oh, really? What exactly don't they understand? It is an infectious respiratory disease that does things differently in the body than flu but the effect is very similar to flu (whose effects and deynamics are understood by tens of millions of people really, really well). And it spreads by mechanisms that are extremely similar to those of flu or the common cold. Such diseases may quasi-exponentially spread for some time when the "number of infected people of the next generation" \(R_0 \gt 1\). The spreading slows down if too many people are already immune and unable to catch the disease. That's it. You may add some issues about the viral doses and other "subtleties" at which the "calm" people are surely more educated than the fearmongers.
What is vitally important yet missing? Where is the alleged esoteric expertise that the likes of Fauci, Fergusson, and Prymula are claimed to have – which no other doctors (and millions of other people) may possess? Why would you need 40 years to acquire that secret expertise and how could you have acquired it? What is it? It is absolutely absurd. No one is missing anything. Everyone who has deserved his or her college degree related to natural sciences must have understood the basic key facts about Covid-19 and its propagation by now (or by April 2020). The idea that Fauci, Fergusson, and Prymula belong to some amazingly scarce clique that "knows the secret knowledge" while no one else does – so that everyone else should shut her mouth – is an utterly ludicrous fabrication.
On top of that, even if some secret "epidemiological know-how that is needed to judge the right Covid-19 policies" existed – it doesn't exist – it would still be true that the right nationwide restrictions are a political issue that covers lots of political, legal and constitutional, moral, economic, and other considerations – in which many other occupations and types of expertise are very important. In democracy, many of these decisions ultimately have to boil down to the wishes of the majority, a fact that is clearly considered hugely inconvenient by the people with a certain very different agenda.
The dishonest media love to manipulate the public in this way. Every hysteria makes the journalists more important, the ratings and circulations are generally going up. The embattled industry of the "old media" is trying to save its life and they are abandoning the last principles of journalism and integrity to achieve their survival at any cost. Sadly, hundreds of millions of regular people are brainwashed by this utter garbage even though it is so self-evident that it is garbage (which is why the "new media" composed of trolls on social networks is probably even worse than the "old media"). In effect, the media is clearly overstating the importance and credibility of the hysterical doctors and researchers by many orders of magnitude.
Yesterday, I was shocked by another example of the worshiping of the supposed experts and it is related to the previous story, Trump's Covid. The New York Times hypes some "experts" who have determined that Trump suffers from severe Covid-19 because he was given drugs that are normally being given to the people with severe Covid-19. I am sorry but whoever is evaluating the basic news – and Trump's video above – and concludes that "Trump suffers from severe Covid-19" is just totally brain-dead. These people's brains are so unfixably fudged up that euthanasia seems like the most sensible recommendation to them.
Just look at the damn basic facts. Trump is clearly indistinguishable from a healthy person and he will be discharged from the hospital (where he was preventively) very soon. Serious Covid-19 patients can barely sit. When they speak, you immediately see and hear their breathing problems, and so on. You see a wrong color or humidity of the skin. Trump not only looks healthy, he looks picture-perfect! The logic that "he must be in a severe condition because he took those powerful drugs" just doesn't work at all. He clearly took the drugs because he (or his doctors whom he trusts) wanted to fight the virus as assertively as he could. So he ordered all sorts of drugs that the doctors knew and that wouldn't harm him much but that would harm the virus. While details are being decided (and executed) by the physicians, he is rather clearly in charge of the "strategy" to deal with the virus and it is a very combative strategy, indeed. His father Fred taught him that a person who is ill is a loser and Donald Trump works hard not to be a loser. Incidentally, I do think that patients should ultimately be in charge of the "truly strategic" decisions about their bodies and health (and especially surgeries) and physicians should largely do just the things that the patients vaguely approved (they can protect themselves by signature if they're pushed to do something that they don't believe to be useful). Physicians shouldn't be too different from car repairmen in this sense. They are not owners of the patients' bodies; and the dentists are not owners of the patients' teeth, either.
There is a vague association between "being in a severe condition" and taking Remdesivir, the corticosteroids, and other things. Remdesivir is $3,100 for a regular U.S. person so you just don't serve it to everyone who gets a positive Covid-19 test. It just looks stupid. But you can give it to Trump. The fact that it was given to Trump is no reliable evidence in favor of his serious condition. If there is a logical association, it is the other way around: some people often take Remdesivir because they are in a serious enough condition (because the decision was made by some doctors). But you can't reverse it to argue that they must be in a serious condition if they take Remdesivir! It is a vague association and people may use it to "guess" what his condition is. But exactly the people who use these "proxy criteria" (which rely on other people's decisions on top of that), and the logic that doesn't actually work, may be immediately seen not to be real experts who know what they are talking about. The New York Times must know it which is why the employees of this rag are not real journalists. They are lying manipulative hustlers and scum and everyone who trusts this kind of scammers is an imbecile.