The politicization of the coronavirus outbreak and the responses to it may be partly a result of mixed messages coming from all levels of government, said Sara Wallace Goodman, who teaches political science at UC Irvine and has researched partisanship and health issues. As the science on the coronavirus has evolved, public officials have changed their recommendations and sometimes admitted they’ve been wrong, which may seem scary or confirm some people’s lack of trust in experts, she said.

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