Repeat After Me: “I don’t know!”
—Because Nobody Knows It All About COVID-19

Trusting People Who Trust People

Are you the person collecting every specimen for COVID-19 tests? Are you the one evaluating all the results? Are you the one compiling all those results?


Me neither.

So who are we?

We’re the ones trusting other people who trust other people who trust other people.

We’re trusting that they’re doing it relatively right. That they’re reporting it relatively right. That those they report it to, are reporting it to us relatively right.

Is somebody along the way getting it wrong? Of course. They are all humans, just like we are.

But are most people along the way doing their best to get it right?

I’m trusting, yes.

Repeat Often: “I don’t know”

So listen to multiple sources, not just one. Evaluate broadly, not narrowly. Take a comprehensive view and not either extreme.

Don’t believe everything you hear, read, or say because at least part of it will be wrong, if not today, at least by tomorrow.

Hold your opinions loosely. Give news stories time to breathe. Eventually the truth always finds its way to the light.

And most importantly, repeat often:

I don’t know.

You may choose to elaborate afterward with what you’ve heard and read from media (regardless of what you call it, any source of mass communication is “media”) and/or from your cousin’s best friend’s aunt by marriage that works at a hospital in some town whose name you can’t quite remember.

After you finish sharing your expert knowledge, follow up again with, “But I don’t know.

And if you’re extra humble, tack on, “I could be wrong.”

Practice Humility

None of us down here can say for sure what’s going on with COVID-19. It’s new to everybody. Expect mistakes. When initial explanations are proven wrong, trade them in for more accurate information. Gladly. Humbly. Gently.

Don’t make this a pride issue.

We all want to have relationships to return to when this disaster fades away. And pride is a relationship killer if there ever was one.

A little humility can go a long way in keeping our relationships intact.

So don’t assume you are the one holding all the facts. On any topic. None of us is that person. None of us is God.

I admire the scientists who admit that they’re still learning, that they’ve had to change their mind along the way, that they wish they knew more but they’re not there yet. That’s honest.

And for the overly confident who claim they know all the correct facts, figures, and solutions already?

I just have to say about them, “I don’t know.”

I don't know_Lisanotes

Share your thoughts in the comments.

22 thoughts on “Repeat After Me: “I don’t know!”
—Because Nobody Knows It All About COVID-19

  1. Martha Jane Orlando

    I don’t know, either, nor do I pretend to, Lisa. There are so many people working on understanding/treating this virus, and there are bound to be mistakes and misconceptions along the way. After all, as you said, we are all human and fallen, so we shouldn’t point accusatory fingers when we don’t have all the facts.

  2. Laurie

    Perfect post for everyone who is suppering COVID-stress. It feels good to admit that there is just so much about this disease that we just don’t know. I think Dr. Fauci has a good attitude. I read an article that he wrote last week in which he basically said the same thing – there’s a lot we are still learning about this virus. We haven’t had the time to study it fully yet because it hasn’t been around that long. We all need to practice a little humility (or a lot!)

  3. Theresa Boedeker

    Yes, the older I get the less I know. And the easier it gets to say “I don’t know.” This would be a good stance to take in most conversations. We so want to argue for our opinion and way, when usually we don’t really know the whole story. all the facts, or 102 other things surrounding the topic. Sometimes it’s best not to jump in right away with our two cents.

  4. Pam Ecrement

    Well said, Lisa! I think this virus has been the most unpredictable health crisis with science, media, and politicians changing directions nearly every other day. It has tempted most everyone to wonder who to trust and the clear answers is simple…God! In the end a few years from now we will hear the whole story about it (at least the part for our own country, state, or city), but for now, “I don’t know” is the very best answer.

  5. Yvonne Chase

    Here’s what I do know, I had a COVID-19 test and it came back negative. I was afraid of having that swab stuck up my nose, however, I did it. The test is quick. Took a few seconds.

    Here’s what else I know, I will continue to wear a mask and social distance to protect myself and others. I don’t watch the news on a 24/7 loop, however, I do stay informed with updates about the different phases of reopening. That’s the beginning and the end of my involvement.

  6. ~ linda

    I also do not know! But am willing to research and search more than one and research some more! That is wy I loved teaching and being a librarian! Great post, Lisa. Thanks.

  7. April J Harris

    This is such good advice, Lisa! I definitely need to use “I don’t know” as often as I can. I remember reading one of Susan Jeffer’s books and she explored the concept of “you may be right, but the other person may be right too”. As someone who held pretty strong opinions it was really humbling, but it’s changed my life. I’m so glad you shared this encouraging advice with the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Take care.

  8. Anne Sweet

    Of course we don’t know, that’s why we need to be careful and take care of each other too. Fighting won’t make anything go away, but there will always be those that ‘know’ it all. x

  9. David

    Excellent post and very true. Unbelieveable number of people “taking sides” on this crisis. Many here seem to be reliving the last general election or even the 2016 EU referendum.

    Taking refuge in one’s tribe means not having to face the uncertainty, the unknown. Faith (even the scientist’s faith in science) perhaps allows us to have a different relationship with the unknown.

  10. Lois Flowers

    This is wonderful, Lisa. I think I lean more towards skepticism rather than trust, but I’m all for saying “I don’t know” and “I could be wrong” about pretty much everything these days. And this: “Hold your opinions loosely. Give news stories time to breathe. Eventually the truth always finds its way to the light.” Such good advice. Hugs, friend.

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