Here’s a guide to some of the men—and, yes, they do all seem to be men—who refuse to let a lack of relevant knowledge or training stop them from weighing in on how to deal with the pandemic.Peter Navarro
Who he is: Trade adviser to the president.
Academic credentials: PhD in economicsContribution to humanity’s understanding of the coronavirus: Brought a stack of foreign research on chloroquine to a meeting of the coronavirus task force and angrily upbraided Tony Fauci for not embracing the antimalarial drug. “That’s science, not anecdote,” he yelled, according to Axios. (The French study that put chloroquine on the map as a coronavirus treatment was riddled with flaws, including a lack of a control group and a tiny sample size. It also somewhat unhelpfully excluded from the analysis patients who died.) Navarro does hold the distinction of being perhaps the only administration official to take the threat of a pandemic seriously as early as January.
Coronavirus expertise: “My qualifications in terms of looking at the science is that I’m a social scientist,” he told CNN. “I have a PhD. And I understand how to read statistical studies, whether it’s in medicine, the law, economics, or whatever.”Rudy GiulianiWho he is: Former federal prosecutor, mayor of New York, presidential candidate, Trump’s personal attorney; current informal Trump adviser.
Academic credentials: Law degreeContribution to humanity’s understanding of the coronavirus: Along with Navarro, has pushed the wider use of chloroquine.Coronavirus expertise: “One of the things that a good litigator becomes is, you kind of become an instant expert on stuff, and then you forget about it,” he told The New York Times. “I don’t claim to be a doctor. I just repeat what they said.”Richard EpsteinWho he is: Law professor at New York University and one of the country’s leading libertarian legal academics.
Academic credentials: Law degreeContribution to humanity’s understanding of the coronavirus: Published an article for the Hoover Institution’s website on March 16 arguing that the reaction to the disease was going too far. According to Epstein, as deadlier strains of the virus claim more victims, the cases that spread will be weaker, less deadly strains. (Here it’s worth mentioning that there is absolutely no evidence that there are stronger and weaker strains of the coronavirus. “The fallacy in his argument is the overall lack of scientific rigor in his analysis,” Daniel Kuritzkes, the chief of the infectious diseases division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told The New Yorker.)
Got a coronavirus-related news tip? Send it to us at [email protected] .In his March 16 article, which reportedly influenced the White House’s short-lived pivot toward reopening the economy by Easter, Epstein predicted 500 US deaths, a number that was surpassed one week later. He later admitted that was a mistake and updated his estimate to 5,000. (As of this writing there have been about 11,000 reported coronavirus-related deaths in the US.) Eventually, he updated his update to 50,000.