The Atlantic Wants Us to Declare a 'Pandemic Amnesty,' But Look What They've Published for Last 2 Years


A major left-wing magazine has called for us to forgive others for the way they treated us during the early days of the COVID pandemic.

On Monday, Emily Oster, writing for The Atlantic, said that we need to “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.”

“[W]e need to learn from our mistakes and then let them go,” she continued.

Oster admits that many of the things that the so-called “experts” pushed in the name of combating COVID were misguided and ineffective. These included social distancing, mask mandates, lengthy school closures and the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Yet she claims that we should not be too harsh on the people who pushed these harmful measures because they were acting on limited information and working “in earnest for the good of society.”

Essentially, Oster’s argument comes down to, “You were right about COVID, and we were wrong. We’re sorry. We only did what we thought was right. Please forgive us.”

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I have a simple one-word response to this request: Seriously?

Frankly, this request is pretty rich coming from The Atlanticgiven that for the past two years, they have relentlessly pushed the very things they now admit to being ineffective and demonized the very people they now admit were right.

Should those who pushed COVID hysteria be held accountable?

In 2021, the magazine called for those who refused the vaccine to be fired from their jobs and even went so far as to suggest that they be barred from domestic air travel.

In 2022, the magazine even claimed that the unvaccinated were guilty of “human sacrifice.”

Besides demonization, there is also the real-world harm that these measures inflicted on people.

In Houston, during the winter of 2021, many homeless people froze on the streets after they were turned away from homeless shelters due to capacity restrictions placed on the shelters in order to fight COVID.

The fight against malnutrition in the Third World was also adversely affected, as travel restrictions meant emergency food supplies could not reach their destination.

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In addition, misguided mask mandates led to a rise in developmental problems among babies, who could not properly learn to speak or interact with others due to masks. Older children suffered as well, as school closures prevented them from learning to properly socialize and interact with one another.

Then, of course, there were the canceled holiday plans after state governors and officials told us to stay at home during Thanksgiving and Christmas and not see or interact with our families during the season.

These are just a few of the very real and harmful effects that resulted from the measures that the so-called “experts” put in place in order to fight a virus. They caused lasting harm and now someone wants it to just be dismissed with a simple “sorry.”

Infuriatingly, Oster admits the harmful effects of these measures in her article. Yes, students’ academic performances declined significantly as a result of school closures, and yes, many people neglected their health care as hospitals were entirely devoted to fighting the pandemic, but Oster says that continuing to fight about it prevents us from moving on and solving these problems.

Many on Twitter voiced their displeasure with her take on this “pandemic amnesty,” taking the opportunity to point out various instances where people suffered from COVID policies.

Clearly, many cannot support this path. These policies that Oster and others pushed for two years did irreparable damage to lives and to society. The people responsible for this must be held accountable.

We can only move forward by ensuring that this outrage never happens again, and we do that not by declaring a “pandemic amnesty” but by ensuring that those who inflicted this misery upon us face the consequences for their actions.

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Peter Partoll is a commentary writer for the Western Journal and a Research Assistant for the Catholic Herald. He earned his bachelor's degree at Hillsdale College and recently finished up his masters degree at Royal Holloway University of London. You can follow him on Twitter at @p_partoll.