As a clinical epidemiologist and someone who is a bit of an expert in the public health arena, it has become clear that politicians are espousing sweeping pronouncements on everything from vaccines, to PPE, generally without even a basic understanding on the science. They have an opinion, not based on education, experience, training, but on their own often critically limited knowledge of the subject. Unfortunately, this approach often is used as political pandering.

One would not expect to see the average untrained and uneducated person walk into an automotive repair shop and explain to the mechanic how to fix an engine, or walk into an operating room and start telling the surgeon what he’s doing wrong, or walk onto a construction site and expect to correct the architect. Yet the same people feel adequately prepared to explain why public health and health care do not work. In research, this is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect, which holds that individuals with little real knowledge about subjects are often the most confident that they know a great deal about that topic.

We are, unmistakably and obviously in the throes of a global pandemic, one attributed to a novel virus of the coronavirus family designated SARS-CoV-2, which causes the COVID-19 infectious disease. Because it is unlikely that there will be an effective and widely available vaccine for the global population anytime soon, we need to embrace public health practices. I think it is merely a good survival instinct to look to political leaders who are not only well trained in public health and health care but are willing to step to the plate and lead.

For this reason, I will be voting for Kalie Hess. She may not be in my party, but she is in all of our best interests.

W. Sumner Davis

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