"Focus on beating the pandemic, not on being politically correct"

This most recent change seems more than a little hypocritical: Levine, who sits on both the health and the hospital committees, had gone to great lengths in preceding months to advocate for preventing the spread of coronavirus at all costs. And then he energetically participated in the protests, raging against the police-enforced curfews as “insanity” and “a pretext for aggressive and violent confrontation of protesters.” And in the event that the demonstrations cause a spike in coronavirus cases?…

“It’s absurd,” says Robert Holden, a 68-year-old councilman from New York’s 30th District who sits on the Committee on Health with Levine. “He’s the chair of the health committee. Focus on beating the pandemic, not on being politically correct or doing great soundbites. Let’s focus.”…

But the problem is that officials like Levine risk damaging the nation’s trust in the authority and objectivity of scientific expertise when they pick and choose. Large swathes of the country—particularly those on the political right—have long been skeptical of the idea that scientists should be deferred to in crafting public policy. In the age of coronavirus, this skepticism has only become more pronounced: the inconsistency of public health advocates like Mark Levine has given credence to the suspicion that their ostensible “objectivity” is often ideologically biased. For now, Americans still express relatively high trust in medical scientists’ authority in regards to the coronavirus pandemic; but this, too, is endangered. As a growing number of experts sacrifice their neutrality for political accolades, they risk losing the confidence of the country they purport to serve.