Now the Disgraced COVID 'Experts' Want 'Amnesty'?

In her recent article in The Atlantic, a Brown University professor, Emily Oster, is calling for "pandemic amnesty."  She is telling me to "forgive and forget" everyone who was yelling obscenities at me for not wearing a mask in a public park or calling me a mass murderer for posting a picture with a friend visiting.  I must forget all this, the author insists, because all those people had nothing but my well-being in mind!

The author admits that many (if not most!) measures imposed on us by "the experts" were harmful and destructive.  But "dwelling on those mistakes" is "counter-productive."  After all, people who made these mistakes had only good intentions.

"As we now know," the author concedes, cloth masks are practically useless.  People who got vaccinated spread COVID as easily as those who did not.  Keeping children locked up at homes had disastrous consequences on their development.  And some of the COVID "mitigation" measures — like beach closures in California — were outright dumb.  But let's not "dwell" on them — because those were "complicated choices in the face of deep uncertainty."

"We didn't know!"  the author laments.

After three years of living through the pandemic, the author all but admits that "the experts" were just as clueless about how to approach it as your next-door neighbor.  "The experts" did not know even the most obvious things.

They didn't know that wearing a dirty piece of cloth over your face would not amount to anything other than a sinus infection.  Seemed like even a third-grader could've figured that one out — and many did.

They didn't know that walking on the beach was the safest activity one could do during a pandemic.  Sunshine and fresh air are the best disinfectants known to men, and a beach in early spring is the best place for "social distancing."  You don't need a crystal ball to understand that surfing in the ocean is not "a super-spreader event."

They didn't know that being away from school causes learning delays, especially for kids who don't have a parent in the home.  For many kids, a school is the only environment conducive to education.  To learn online, kids require constant supervision — I got a firsthand experience with that when my high school–age son was tutoring during COVID.  He had to call the parents multiple times a day to return their kids back to the computer screen.  What about the kids who didn't have a parent around, or access to a personal tutor?  It wasn't a difficult conjecture to know that these kids would fall desperately behind.

After almost everything "the experts" told us has been proven false, they demand "amnesty" because of the "uncertainty" they were facing.  Yet, back then, they denied that any uncertainty existed.  Back then, they claimed they knew exactly what to do — until they didn't.  Back then, they claimed that everyone who contradicted them, or doubted them, was "spreading misinformation."  They proclaimed themselves "THE SCIENCE," and they ordered everyone to follow their orders, or else.

You don't need to know the future — only the past — to know that science does not require "blind following."  Science involves debate, experimentation, and inquiry.  "The experts" and their admirers replaced real science with THE SCIENCE, also known as dogma.  And every time it clashed with reality, they turned around on a dime, and they absolved themselves of responsibility, citing "the evolution of THE SCIENCE" without providing any evidence as to how the science had "evolved."

Given the amount of uncertainty, almost every position was taken on every topic.  And on every topic, someone was eventually proved right, and someone else was proved wrong.

Even in the face of uncertainty, the author admits, "some people got it right, for whatever reason."  Yet she is willfully uncurious as to what that reason is.  That reason was that some leaders made decisions based on common sense, not politics.  They consulted with scientists and health professionals of different persuasions, not just the ones who promoted the party line.  They answered questions correctly because they asked questions in the first place.  These were the reasons they got it right — but these reasons, the author argues, are unimportant.  All that matters is that we do not blame "the experts" for their failure.

Some people got it right because they wanted to get it right.  "The experts" did not — but still, they should get "amnesty" because they "meant well."  The author argues that some people made the right choices because they "had a hefty element of luck."  We are supposed to believe that for three years, Ron DeSantis magically guessed all the right cards, while Doctor Fauci just kept guessing wrong.  And that's why we all should cut the good doctor some slack.  Sure, he was heavily compensated for his "expertise" that involved repeating whatever talking points his puppet masters were giving him.  But he didn't mean any harm, so let's give him another million-dollar participation trophy.

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.

Now that "the alarming figures" are coming out, we must admit there were "reasonable people on both sides."  However, back in the day, only one side was viewed as "reasonable."  Anyone who dissented was known as "the science deniers" and "the grandma-killers."  People who claimed they "cared" did not advocate for debate.  They advocated for shutting down anyone who disagreed.

Because of "the experts," millions of kids suffered severe learning loss and developmental delays.  Cancer patients missed life-saving treatments.  Many did not attend the diagnostic tests that could have saved their lives.  Gravely ill people died alone without saying goodbye to their loved ones.  Because of "the experts," elderly people went into the crowds believing that a stupid mask would protect them.  So many lives needlessly lost.  And now, "the followers of the science" demand absolution because they meant "no harm."  Fair enough: Let's not be mean to the celebrities wasting their lives on Twitter.

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.

"The experts" admit they "didn't know then," so getting it wrong "wasn't a moral failing."  Not knowing is, indeed, not a moral failing — but refusing to learn is.  It is because of "the experts" that we didn't learn from this tragic event that impacted a generation.  And we still don't know.  We don't know why the first wave of COVID was so deadly, and why the one still around is not.  We don't even know how deadly each new variant is.  We don't really know how COVID spreads, and how to mitigate the spread.  We don't have a definite answer about the efficacy of masks.  We don't know if COVID vaccines protect you, and for how long.  We don't know why older people seem to be more in danger than the young.  We could have answers to all of these questions by now if we were allowed to ask them.  There is no excuse for why we don't know.

Because of "good intentions," we wasted millions of lives, and millions of livelihoods, and we chose to learn nothing from this horrible event.  And that is why, should the new pandemic come tomorrow, instead of relying of what we have learned, "the experts" will revert to the same game plan they used during COVID, needlessly wasting more lives.  If we let it slide, more people will die.

"The experts" failed us when we needed them most.  Then they demonized us for doubting their "expertise."  And now they admit they weren't "the experts" at all — only "well-wishers."  After ruining our lives, they cry for "amnesty."  If we learned one thing from a three-year pandemic, it's that we should not give it to them.  We should hold "the experts" accountable so that all the future experts take notice.

Tanya Berlaga is a freelance writer, translator, and publisher and is currently a contributor to Right Wire Report, The Liberty Loft, and Free Speech Movement.

Image: Anthony Fauci.  NIAID via Flickr, CC BY 2.0 (cropped).

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