I think that the problem that the OP is getting at is the one called 'Scientism'. If you look at the original great populizers of science - those who brought it to widespread public attention during the dawning of mass media - they were highly esteemed, revolutionary scientists like Einstein or Feynman. During this period, it was Feynman who said that 'science is the belief in the ignorance of experts'. He was referring to the fact that science was the antithesis of what you might call a magisterial understanding of truth - the idea that a group of people tell you what was true and untrue, and that they ought to be believed on account of their expertise. To Feynman, and other great scientists of his generation, science was a wrecking ball that tore down ossified bureaucracies and hardened assumptions about the way that the world worked. As time went on, however, a gap formed between this class of 'science communicators' and the actual creme de la creme of the scientific world. It dropped down a notch with Sagan and DeGrasse Tyson - adept scientists and intelligent men, but they never left a mark similar to that left by Feynman or Einstein.
This level of prestige took an enormous step down with Bill Nye and the slew of internet populizers that followed in his wake in later decades - many of these people don't even hold advanced degrees, yet are treated by society as authorities on physical reality. This slow and steady degradation was also accompanied by the growth of scientific bureaucracies - by the present day, these are inhabited by a mix of careerist political climbers and hopelessly corrupt scientists-for-hire, with an ever-dwindling population of principled holdouts. Fauci is emblematic of this - he is best known for completely bungling the AIDS crisis and has only failed upwards since then. If you look at the actual revolutionary scientists you can see how low of an opinion someone like him is held in - Kary Mullis is the most famous example of this, but if you know anyone in the scientific world you know that the gold standard isn't people at the top of the NIH or the FDA, it's people at Harvard, Oxford, MIT, or the Salk Institute.
So the million dollar question is who, precisely, distils down whatever serum is dripped into the public's ears and branded as 'science'? Increasingly, it's scientific popularizers, scientific journalists, and scientific bureaucrats. We all know that there are scientists who will sell their soul to the devil - the ones who are on the payroll of gas companies and present research which comes to the convenient conclusion that there's a 0% likelihood of fracking mishaps, or that burning oil is actually good for the planet, are the prime example. The idea that we should just accept whatever is fed to us in the name of science present a serious problem - because how would the general public be able to differentiate between a slew of populizers, science journalists, and ecological bureaucrats who were compromised by business interests like oil and gas companies, and one that wasn't, if we were all uncritical consumers of scientific 'truth'? The same applies to health outcomes. Over 65% of FDA funding for drug regulation comes from the very companies which the FDA is supposed to be regulating. The former FDA commissioner now sits on the board of Pfizer. Two highly regarded vaccine experts resigned from the FDA over their approval of Pfizer's booster schedule. At what point does what the FDA says about vaccines cease to treated like divine revelation?
The gold standard for science is the ability to make accurate predictions - that's what we use to test hypotheses, it's the core of the discipline. All throughout this pandemic, I have predicted one thing, the experts have predicted another, and I have been right. I said that there would be booster programs back in spring of 2021 and I had people calling me crazy - I was right. I said that a new Covid variant would come roaring back when it looked like things had died out in the summer of 2021 - I was right. I said that mask and lockdown policy would have little impact on covid numbers between US states and that temporally specific discrepancies were due to localized seasonal spikes - I was right. I predicted that Covid would never be eradicated - it has animal reservoirs and mutates way too fast - I was right. My predictions more accurate - am I more intelligent than all of these PhDs? No, I don't think so. But I don't have the same biases and don't exist in the same ecosystems of social pressures that they do, and so am unaffected by the things that introduce bias and distort their own predictions in a way which weakens their accuracy. Everyone should be at the bare minimum critical of the conflicts of interest that our self-anointed masters of reality are operating under, and shouldn't for a second take anything that they say as gospel truth. That's the polar opposite of what the greatest scientists in the world have understood science to be, and it's an incredibly ugly corruption of a beautiful tool.