Let’s Declare a Pandemic Amnesty
So reads the headline to a piece in The Atlantic which concedes that freedom activists who opposed lockdowns and mask requirements got it right:
Los Angeles County closed its beaches in summer 2020. Ex post facto, this makes no more sense than my family’s masked hiking trips.
But, rather than issuing a full mea culpa, author Emily Oster, an economics professor at Brown University, goes on to claim that those who opposed government overreach found themselves vindicated by the facts by sheer luck, and defends supporters of that overreach as having done nothing morally wrong.
In the face of so much uncertainty, getting something right had a hefty element of luck. And, similarly, getting something wrong wasn’t a moral failing. Treating pandemic choices as a scorecard on which some people racked up more points than others is preventing us from moving forward.
Professor Oster implies an absence of scientific data which left everyone guessing what was right. In fact though, already by May 2020 America's Frontline Doctors (AFLDS) founder Dr. Simone Gold obtained the signatures of over a thousand physicians to endorse her open letter to the president of the United States laying out the danger posed by the nationwide lockdown:
We write to you today to express our alarm over the exponentially growing negative health consequences of the national shutdown. In medical terms, the shutdown was a mass casualty incident. . . .
Millions of Americans are already at triage level red. These include 150,000 Americans per month who would have had a new cancer detected through routine screening that hasn’t happened, millions who have missed routine dental care to fix problems strongly linked to heart disease/death, and preventable cases of stroke, heart attack, and child abuse. Suicide hotline phone calls have increased 600%.
The millions of casualties of a continued shutdown will be hiding in plain sight, but they will be called alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. In youths it will be called financial instability, unemployment, despair, drug addiction, unplanned pregnancies, poverty, and abuse.
At least as early as March 10, 2020, the masknice blog posted a meme ridiculing the use of masks to prevent transmission of a virus far smaller than the holes of the mask. The meme, which compares masks against viruses to chain link fences against mosquitos, was reproduced many times on social media:
That masks do not prevent virus transmission was well known before 2019, as documented by AFLDS:
For decades, dozens of scientific papers have suggested that masks are ineffective at preventing disease transmission. Both the WHO and Dr. Fauci corroborated that claim as recently as March 2020.
CDC Study Finds Overwhelming Majority Of People Getting Coronavirus Wore Masks
National Review quickly responded to The Atantic’s “suggestion” with an unambiguous headline:
A ‘Pandemic Amnesty’? Hell, No.”
Directly addressing Oster’s claim that morality was irrelevant to the COVID measures, senior writer Michael Dougherty wrote:
But the questions in the pandemic were not just factual disputes about a disease that was evolving quickly. They were also disputes about whether the Bill of Rights mattered anymore. Think of Bill de Blasio, telling Christians, Jews, and other religious believers that they had to abide by the city’s rule against gatherings of ten or more people, even as he himself was violating these rules in public support of the George Floyd protests.
Amnesty for this? Hell, no.
Social media responses
Political commentator Paul Joseph Watson, accused The Atlantic of gaslighting on his popular YouTube channel:
We’ve reached the “oops sorry” phase of the post-pandemic. Those who inflicted the inhumane outrage of lockdown, vaccine mandates and all that went with it upon society are now trying to scurry away with their tails between their legs trying to quietly move on and hope nobody notices. . . .
Professor Emily Oster writes that blaming anyone is quote “preventing us from moving forward.” This is someone who demanded Thanksgiving lockdown, full school lockdowns and vaccine mandates for both students and workers, vaccine mandates for domestic travel, vaccines for pregnant women. She absolves herself of blame by claiming her and others were quote “in the dark” . . . yeah. Emily Oster was pushing employer vaccine mandates as late as July 2021. The gaslighting on display is off the charts …
On Twitter, Eva Vlaardingerbroek rejected amnesty while linking to a video of police using night sticks and dogs to attack medical freedom protestors.
Another netizen posted a picture of the billionaire owner of The Atlantic, Laurene Powell Jobs, sunbathing with Ghislaine Maxwell.
Libs of TikTok posted a picture of failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams maskless with elementary school children fully masked and the caption, “Pandemic amnesty for @staceyabrams? Absolutely not.”
Congresswoman Lauren Boebert tied the request to upcoming elections, tweeting
Now that we’ll be subpoenaing them in a few months, they want to forgive & forget. Not on my watch.