(LifeSiteNews) — A recent article calling for “pandemic amnesty” in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis is being criticized and rejected on social media by conservatives demanding accountability from political leaders who enforced harmful regulations during the pandemic.
On October 31, The Atlantic published an article by Brown University economist Emily Oster. The piece, titled “Let’s Declare a Pandemic Amnesty,” insists that “we need to forgive one another for what we did and said when we were in the dark about COVID.”
Oster’s piece opens with a recollection of family hikes and the use of homemade masks. “These precautions were totally misguided,” she wrote. “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.”
The author outlines various examples of mandates and practices that turned out to be either ineffective or harmful, including long-term school closures, vaccine reliability, and the impact of COVID rules on childhood education and health.
“The people who got it right, for whatever reason, may want to gloat,” Oster continues. “Those who got it wrong, for whatever reason, may feel defensive and retrench into a position that doesn’t accord with the facts.”
“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.”
She declares that opposing views regarding the COVID-19 response should be set aside and replaced with “a pandemic amnesty.” Additionally, Oster suggests that “we can leave out the willful purveyors of actual misinformation while forgiving the hard calls that had no choice but to make with imperfect knowledge.”
She also urges people to “forgive the attacks,” citing how she was called a “teacher killer” for advocating to reopen schools. “Let’s acknowledge that we made complicated choices in the face of deep uncertainty, and then try to work together to build back and move forward.”
Immediately after its release, the article began receiving consistent criticism from conservatives, most prominently through Twitter.
“They made you cancel funerals and say goodbye to loved ones over Skype,” Rep. Troy Nehls, a Republican congressman in Texas, posted a few hours after publication. “No pandemic amnesty. Accountability is coming.”
They made you cancel funerals and say goodbye to loved ones over Skype.
No pandemic amnesty.
Accountability is coming. pic.twitter.com/S3cfGL2pqm
— Congressman Troy Nehls (@RepTroyNehls) October 31, 2022
Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz criticized Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, for her support of the article’s proposed forgiveness of decisions that resulted in harm for children during the pandemic. According to Fox News, Weingarten “championed pandemic-related school closures and lobbied the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] to adopt teachers union-preferred language for reopening guidance.”
Libs of TikTok responded by posting multiple scenes that capture some of the unjust mandates. One video shared on Twitter shows a socially distanced funeral parlor and a man rushing to tell those who move their chairs next to each other to move away.
“The people who did this want ‘pandemic amnesty’ now,” the caption reads. “Hard no.”
The people who did this want “pandemic amnesty” now. Hard no pic.twitter.com/5AGg2XrMlb
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) November 1, 2022
Another photo shows pro-abortion Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams sitting in a classroom with no mask while the dozens of children and parents behind her are all wearing face coverings.
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) November 1, 2022
Similarly, conservative writer and speaker Will Witt utterly rejected the proposal to forgive harmful actions without accountability.
“I forgive no one,” he posted. “It’s time to criminally prosecute all the people who turned The West into a COVID dictatorship.”
I forgive no one. It’s time to criminally prosecute all the people who turned The West into a COVID dictatorship. pic.twitter.com/uBfFs2psZk
— Will Witt (@thewillwitt) October 31, 2022
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many monumental decisions to supposedly mitigate the risk of spreading and catching the disease have proved to have long-term negative effects.
This fall, a report from the National Assessment of Education Progress showed that the “average scores for age 9 students in 2022 declined 5 points in reading and 7 points in mathematics compared to 2020.” The report states that this is “the largest average score decline in reading since 1990, and the first ever score decline in mathematics.”
In August 2021, a study from Rhode Island found that children born during the pandemic suffered significant cognitive developmental delays in both verbal and non-verbal cognitive assessments compared with children born before 2020.
A year later, the CDC admitted to making false statements about its monitoring of COVID-19 vaccines for adverse effects. More recently, a Swiss study showed that mRNA vaccines consistently cause heart damage. There has also been a substantial increase in sudden deaths, particularly of young people, that have been linked to myocarditis brought on by a COVID-19 vaccine.