What have we learned?
The frase "the science" should be banned. It presents science as static and unchanging.
People will often cite how economic forecastors are "irrationally" certain about their forecasts. Gerd Gigerenzer points out that overstating forecast accuracy is actually rational. If you want to be successful in the forecasting game you have to pretend you can actually do it. This is a plague in science and medical communication. They think it hurts their credibility to honestly describe the uncertainty. Thus it's masks don't work to masks always work and never, the empirical evidence for masks working is weak, but on balance suggests it could be beneficial in many circumstances.
When they change policy they'll say "the science changed, so we changed our approach." They imply that the approach was correct before, but a new approach is needed now, but what they are actually saying, without realizing it, is that they were wrong before and now we have scientific proof of it.
4.1. Decrying "no evidence" was wrong. The masks turned out not very useful and the government mandates to wear them by small children at schools and sometimes even outside were wrong and useless.
4.2. Agreed. First, we need to follow common sense and then the science. If we do it in reverse, it will be nonsense.
4.3. It wasn't critical. We already suggested risk population to isolate. The fact that they didn't need to wash groceries with detergent before eating them was not the most important part.
4.4. Surprisingly so. On the other hand, such calculations were impossible to make as too many unknown variables.
#1 Agreed, human challenge trials would have been good.
#2 Predication markets are useless.
#3 Disagree. If there is no evidence for, let's say, ivermectin, we should say it. Otherwise, we will start using a lot of snake oil treatments.
#4 For a small country it indeed makes sense to piggy-back on larger institutions. But Ireland is already accepting EMA authority.
#5 Not possible if those doctors don't even speak English.
#6 Maybe, but that's not really related to pandemics.
#7 Come on, these sources are not experts, merely different narratives which cannot really compete with real knowledge sources in medicine. If you really think so, you are suggesting for charlatans to take over.
#8 Expert teams definitely would be better than single experts.
#9 Sometimes you have to ban things that are harmful. Should we continued to allow doctors to prescribe hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin when we learned that they are not effective?
#10 Sometimes free market is fine but not always. When at the start of vaccination campaign Pfizer vaccine was in short supply, one could buy it in Ukraine for $3000. But it is doubtful that such pricing helped in any way.
#11/#12 I think we kind of did this. A lot of money was poured in vaccine development. The EU did worse but the UK and the US did not spare expense.
#13 Maybe not. We used to clap for healthcare workers but disregarded them in real life. Don't celebrate them but support them with money, better systems etc.
The biggest problem in covid pandemic was that the narrative went out of control and people became scared and that lead to many useless and even harmful measures. The story is basically that there was a new virus that inevitably was going to cause 10-15% extra mortality for the next 1-2 years without good measures to stop this. The most rational course of action was to implement only those measures that we know are most effective: reducing big crowds, invest in vaccine development etc. We knew from previous studies that border closures are not effective, masks are not effective, lockdowns are not effective, so those measures were ruled out. Sweden followed this path and controlled their narrative very well.
Other countries soon lost their narratives and people panicked. To stay in power the government had to destroy their economies to show that “something is being done”. Their results were not much better but the damage was much worse. Even Australia which had a special position of being an island and thus border closure having some chance of working, is having quite a lot of extra mortality from covid right now.
The control of narrative is the most important thing for every pandemic. When the WHO is trying to rename monkeypox, it may seem silly, but they are onto something. It is an indirect way of controlling the narrative that people should not panic because the panic will be much worse than actual pandemic.