The Atlantic Is Asking for "Pandemic Amnesty" and Forgiveness

A new Shift in Public Discourse

Wow. The Atlantic has a front-page article (archive link) by Prof. Emily Oster, asking for “Pandemic Amnesty”.

How interesting. The Atlantic is one of the most forward-looking and yet curated publications and they do not publish rubbish and random musings. And now they have a prominent author asking for “amnesty” and forgiveness.

Nobody is asking for amnesty for good deeds, right?

The article rambles and weaves to avoid mentioning anything specific as to who and what the amnesty would be FOR. What are the specific misdeeds that The Atlantic wants to be forgiven? Emily’s article is NOT clear.

It talks, strangely, about people voluntarily wearing masks in foreign preserves:

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.

Then it puzzlingly mentions “not knowing relative efficacies of Johnson and Johnson vs mRNA shots”, as if someone needs an amnesty for not knowing such relative efficacies.

Another example: When the vaccines came out, we lacked definitive data on the relative efficacies of the Johnson & Johnson shot versus the mRNA options from Pfizer and Moderna. The mRNA vaccines have won out. But at the time, many people in public health were either neutral or expressed a J&J preference. This misstep wasn’t nefarious. It was the result of uncertainty.

The article gets weirder, seriously talking about suggestions to “inject bleach” as if anyone actually contemplated that:

Obviously some people intended to mislead and made wildly irresponsible claims. Remember when the public-health community had to spend a lot of time and resources urging Americans not to inject themselves with bleach? That was bad. Misinformation was, and remains, a huge problem. But most errors were made by people who were working in earnest for the good of society.

Prof. Oster is a very intelligent person and, no doubt understands that suggestions to inject bleach were fake and a part of “inoculations against misinformation”, a psyop campaign intended to make Covid skeptics look stupid.

The author surely did not publish this Atlantic article out of honest-to-goodness concern for the nebulous advocates of “bleach injections”. She wants some other acts — and some other players — to be forgiven instead. Prof. Oster is coy about who those people are. I am sure that she is asking for amnesty for our “Covid response leaders”.

She published her article, before the midterms, because she is concerned about disappointed people starting to ask questions. Questions, such as

  • Why is my vaccine not working for me?
  • Why was I/my friend/my coworker injured by the vaccine and ignored by the medical community?
  • Why am I sicker than before?
  • Why am I having multiple Covid infections after being vaccinated?
  • I was told that my vaccines “stop transmission”, whereas the authorities knew they don’t
  • Why did unaccountable private interests take over the entirety of public response?
  • Why did the above private interests make billions of dollars, while my business went bankrupt?
  • Why was I lied to by the TV and media, while the truth was suppressed by Internet giants profiting from the pandemic?

Emily surely does not address such questions, but she is no doubt aware that they are being asked publicly and even brought up during the elections.

She is probably worried because she understands that these questions if asked and investigated, may lead to serious consequences. Hence, her call for amnesty.

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