— ProfEmilyOster (@ProfEmilyOster) October 31, 2022
The article linked in the Tweet:
LET’S DECLARE A PANDEMIC AMNESTY
We need to forgive one another for what we did and said when we were in the dark about COVID.
In April 2020, with nothing else to do, my family took an enormous number of hikes. We all wore cloth masks that I had made myself. We had a family hand signal, which the person in the front would use if someone was approaching on the trail and we needed to put on our masks. Once, when another child got too close to my then-4-year-old son on a bridge, he yelled at her “SOCIAL DISTANCING!”
These precautions were totally misguided. In April 2020, no one got the coronavirus from passing someone else hiking. Outdoor transmission was vanishingly rare. Our cloth masks made out of old bandanas wouldn’t have done anything, anyway. But the thing is: We didn’t know.
Some of these choices turned out better than others. To take an example close to my own work, there is an emerging (if not universal) consensus that schools in the U.S. were closed for too long: The health risks of in-school spread were relatively low, whereas the costs to students’ well-being and educational progress were high. The latest figures on learning loss are alarming. But in spring and summer 2020, we had only glimmers of information. Reasonable people—people who cared about children and teachers—advocated on both sides of the reopening debate.
The people who got it right, for whatever reason, may want to gloat. Those who got it wrong, for whatever reason, may feel defensive and retrench into a position that doesn’t accord with the facts. All of this gloating and defensiveness continues to gobble up a lot of social energy and to drive the culture wars, especially on the internet. These discussions are heated, unpleasant and, ultimately, unproductive. 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.
We have to put these fights aside and declare a pandemic amnesty. We can leave out the willful purveyors of actual misinformation while forgiving the hard calls that people had no choice but to make with imperfect knowledge. 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 we need to learn from our mistakes and then let them go. We need to forgive the attacks, too.
I remember how those of us who were not Covidians, who did not blindly obey every Fauci pronouncement, were dehumanized.
I remember how pundits and opinionated assholes celebrated the deaths of the unvaccinated.
How they called those of us who resisted masking murderers and should be denied any form of health care and left to die in the streets.
I remember how they cursed us for wanted to put our kids back in school.
We on this blog have systematically cataloged all the destruction they caused.
Setting kids back years.
The cancers and other diseases that went untreated in hospitals that shut down for the COVID wave that never came.
The deaths from overdose and despair from people locked away.
The businesses that shut down and the business owners that went bankrupt.
In the end we were vindicated.
They narrative has collapsed.
What they did caused more harm to children than it did good.
They vaccines were useless to stop the spread and vaccine policies did more harm than good.
They destroyed the economy and caused the worst inflation in generations.
Had we done nothing in reaction to COVID we’d be better off.
Those who were going to get it and die did, regardless of lock downs and mask mandates.
Perhaps more lives would have been saved had drugs like Ivermectin not become political footballs.
And now that we know they everything they did caused pain and suffering beyond our ability to quantity it and didn’t save one life, they want amnesty and forgiveness.
I want retribution.
I want them to suffer for how they made us suffer.
I want ditches filled with the bodies of Covidisns.
And if you read the replies to that Tweet, I am not alone.
Amnesty is the worst think they could ask for.
It will only make us madder.
When justice fails, people will take it into their own hands.
We can either have truth and reconciliation or we can have frontier justice.
But what we can’t have is the people who caused this mess to be forgiven and to maintain the status quo.