I imagine A assesses that his assumptions are different from B’s.
Clearly, everyone’s actions depend on their own beliefs, assumptions, mindset, etc. If someone recommends something, it can be hard to guess, if they don’t say, whether their starting points are the same as mine, increasingly so, as the world of opinion shatters into more and more shards. So we all tend to look for clues, and make assumptions about the other person’s assumptions. For this reason, I find it helpful, if people say what they are going to do, also to tell their assumptions and beliefs. If their assumptions are different from mine, then there is no reason for me to do the same thing. If their assumptions are the same, I would consider their actions more keenly.
My preference is therefore for people to wind back a little and build or check shared assumptions, as a basis for offering advice or recommendations. Unless they’re in a echo chamber where they know everyone shares the same basic opinions!
Two assumptions (and I’m not judging whether or not they are valid) seem to be in play here: (1) about the causes of the stats rising – I suspect there are several possible reasons – and (2) about the objectivity of the government’s advice, along with the compliance of the mainstream media, involving their editorial process. If people share B’s views, my guess is that they will do something similar. I take A’s response to imply that he reckons that B’s views are sufficiently different to give different conclusions.
On looking again I can see a third issue on which people may differ: how much one should change one’s behaviour based on perceived risk. It may be that the risks are perceived as different, or that one should respond more or less cautiously to the same level of risk. In this case I guess the former.
This could be seen as off topic, as it doesn’t directly address the topic line, but goes rather meta and philosophical. I would like it if it were easier and more normal to do this.
Personally, I don’t want to mock anyone for their beliefs, but I am interested in the reasons why people adopt different stances on the same topic. I imagine B’s curiosity at least overlaps with this.
The hard part is where people’s actions, as a result of their beliefs, impinge on others. Two sides to this as well: on the one hand, control by anyone with power (including governments) has the power to infringe people’s freedom; on the other hand, individual actions can harm others. An age-old tussle, playing out more strongly these days. I love to see deep dialogue across this kind of divide.