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The chapter focuses on how health professionals declared a monopoly on producing knowledge about a remarkably tricky microbe. Even as scientists, physicians, and public health professionals struggled to understand the virus and its effects, they clung to a long-standing linear, hierarchically ordered model of communicability that grants health professionals a monopoly on producing and disseminating health knowledge during pandemics. Cast as passive recipients of emerging medical and public health knowledge and guidance, laypeople’s potential contributions to addressing the pandemic’s unanswered questions were dismissed in advance, tossed into the same denigrated category of “misinformation” and “conspiracy theories.” Nevertheless, many laypeople—including people experiencing symptoms of long COVID—used their own experience of the pandemic, the archives of health commonsense they had acquired over decades, and the tsunamis of material appearing in mainstream and social media to fill in the remaining gaps.

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