After a columnist writing for The Atlantic on Monday asked for “pandemic amnesty,” receipts from mandate enthusiasts and videos of strict lockdown policies circulated on social media as users balked at the suggestion.
Brown University economist Emily Oster penned an article admitting that school closures and other government mandates were ultimately unnecessary, then suggested that further discussions on the damage wrought to society by such policies are “heated, unpleasant and, ultimately, unproductive,” as well as fuel for “the culture wars.” Social media users immediately rejected her argument after the article began circulating online. On Tuesday, many popular accounts reposted videos of lockdown enforcement in action over the past two years.
Libs of TikTok shared footage of an indoor funeral where family members were positioned in socially distanced chairs. When two family members pulled their seats together to comfort a grieving loved one, a visibly upset individual interrupted the service to demand that the families pull their chairs apart once more.
The people who did this want “pandemic amnesty” now. Hard no pic.twitter.com/5AGg2XrMlb
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) November 1, 2022
Another video from Libs of TikTok showed a toddler being forcibly masked at a daycare. “They want us to forget about their school closures,” the account said. “They what us to forget what they did to children. Do not forget this. Do not forgive this.”
The Democrats ruined millions of lives with their Covid policies. Now @TheAtlantic wants us to forget and move on.
They want us to forget about their school closures. They what us to forget what they did to children. Do not forget this. Do not forgive this.
Vote wisely pic.twitter.com/hEwfI4xf5C
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) October 31, 2022
Dutch commentator Eva Vlaardingerbroek posted a video of law enforcement officers beating protesters with batons while a police dog aggressively bit a demonstrator’s arm. “You can put that pandemic amnesty where the sun don’t shine,” she remarked.
You can put that pandemic amnesty where the sun don’t shine. pic.twitter.com/NGIaMvLb5L
— Eva Vlaardingerbroek (@EvaVlaar) November 1, 2022
Christina Pushaw, the rapid response director for the re-election campaign of Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, shared a picture of a Michigan store that had inexplicably barred customers from purchasing seeds. “Those who did this never apologized and in fact doubled down,” Pushaw said. “We cannot reward them by allowing them to remain in power.”
Those who did this never apologized and in fact doubled down. We cannot reward them by allowing them to remain in power. No “pandemic amnesty” — ACCOUNTABILITY https://t.co/ckfG4BOHjT
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) October 31, 2022
Daily Wire host Michael Knowles shared an article from Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik published in January, who contended that “mocking” the deaths of those who refused vaccination is “ghoulish” but “may be necessary.” The writer argued that “those who have deliberately flouted sober medical advice by refusing a vaccine known to reduce the risk of serious disease from the virus, including the risk to others, and end up in the hospital or the grave can be viewed as receiving their just deserts.”
libs now: “Let’s declare a pandemic amnesty”
libs then: https://t.co/vhWjFCyYZV
— Michael Knowles, Pandemic Amnesty Opposer (@michaeljknowles) October 31, 2022
Conservatives also rebuked individuals who supported the lockdown regime for praising Oster’s sentiments. David French, a fellow columnist at The Atlantic and a senior editor at The Dispatch, lauded the article as an “excellent piece” and said there should indeed be “grace” for those who pushed mandates. Daily Wire reporter Megan Basham shared several screenshots of French, a self-proclaimed Christian and conservative, claiming that “anti-masking” exposed “the darkness in parts of the right” and among those who “claim to be pro-life.”
David, you said it was a “moral crime” and evidence of the “darkness” on the right for people to question vaccines and masks. You mocked those who opposed mandates. You accused them of spreading disease and costing lives.
I’m not surprised you’re a fan of this article. pic.twitter.com/wutS9pmWUr
— Megan Basham (@megbasham) October 31, 2022
Social media users also rejected American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten’s plea for “pandemic amnesty,” noting that the teachers union boss was among the most prominent voices for school lockdowns.
Now Randi is saying, “please don’t blame me for shutting down schools for a year & hurting tens of millions of kids. Just forget about it.”
Hell NO. https://t.co/oZtIdlMXNQ
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 1, 2022
Among other costs from lockdown policies, nearly one-third of businesses in places such as New York and New Jersey closed their doors by the end of 2020, according to data collected by Harvard University. The federal government spent nearly $6 trillion on stimulus packages as the economy crashed, leading to rapid increases in deficit spending and the national debt.
School lockdowns created the worst educational outcomes in decades. The most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress showed average reading scores for nine-year-olds plummeting by five points and average mathematics scores dropping seven points. The learning losses may cost the economy between $128 billion and $188 billion per year, according to an estimate from consulting firm McKinsey & Company.