They call them experts for a reason


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Posted July 20, 2020 | By Brad Rogers, Executive Editor

What is with all the dissing of good, smart, respected people these days?

The White House has launched a full-fledged assault against the character of Dr. Anthony Fauci. All Fauci has done in his career is get us, that is, the country, through the AIDS scare of the 1980s. Today, it is treatable, whereas contracting HIV was once a death sentence. He also marshaled the country through H1N1 flu and Ebola. Now he’s trying to get us through COVID-19.

Yet, his own people, his own boss, for crying out loud, are trashing this national treasure.

Closer to home, some of our friends and neighbors don’t want to wear a mask to protect us from their germs – and protect them from our germs – as the number of coronavirus cases keeps gong up, up, up. A lot of the anti-maskers don’t just oppose it, they are in full-throated histrionics yelping things like “it’s my constitutional right not to wear a mask.” Whatever. It’s not.

Meanwhile, 700 doctors, nurses and other medical professionals from our community have signed a petition asking the County Commission, the Ocala City Council and the School Board to enact formal legislation requiring masks in indoor settings and outdoors when social distancing is impossible. The howls are sure to be loud and widespread.

Now Gov. Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard “I Love Charter Schools More than Public Schools” Corcoran are insisting that public schools open in August – ready or not. Never mind they don’t have adequate cleaning capabilities or a centralized plan or any additional funding to do so.

Never mind that in every instance where large groups have gathered, whether it be funerals or weddings or bars, an outbreak of the virus has followed. But now teachers have said they don’t think the state is ready to open schools in a safe way.

Let the demonizing begin. Yeah, schools are free day care for parents. We get it. And sure, the economy can’t fully reopen if parents can’t go back to their jobs. And, of course, we know DeSantis is President Trump’s Mini Me on the response to the virus. But …

The teachers are going to be the ones in classrooms with 20-30 kids. They’re the experts on handling hordes of children. And while defenders of the idea of opening schools in the midst of a spike of virus cases defend the notion by saying kids don’t get COVID-19 like adults, have we ever put thousands of kids together in close quarters before? Are we SURE there won’t be a major outbreak caused by asymptomatic youngsters carrying the virus from class to class and then home? Do we? No.

Here’s an idea for those trying to govern us while we deal with this oppressive, overbearing virus that seems to be dictating our lives in ways we never imagined. Maybe we should listen to the man who has been fighting infectious diseases on our behalf for 40 years. Maybe we should heed the medical advice of hundreds of medical professionals in our community who, in any other time, we trust with our health implicitly. Maybe we should actually consider the thoughts of our teachers who, arguably, spend more time with our children than we do.

There’s a reason we call all these people experts. Because they are. So, can we quit slapping them down and criticizing them when their ideas run against our comfort zone. Maybe, just maybe, the experts know better than we do what they’re talking about. Just maybe.