What is Pandemic amnesty? Emily Oster controversy explained as The Atlantic article sparks controversy online

Image via Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images
People are calling out an article in The Atlantic for calling for "pandemic amnesty" (Image via Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images)

An article calling for a "pandemic amnesty," urging people to "move forward" and "forgive one another" for the words said and actions committed during Covid-19 has sparked controversy online.

On October 31, 2022, The Atlantic published a column written by the economist Emily Oster of Brown University titled, "Let's declare a pandemic amnesty."

In the article, she argued that people need to move past and mend social divisions caused by pandemic-related health measures taken to ensure safety over the past two years. This included things like mandatory masks, lockdowns, and shutting down of schools, among other things.

As for the Covid-19 response, Oster suggested that the errors made during the coronavirus were made by people "who were working in earnest for the good of society.” She said that with the uncertainty around the topic, nearly every position was "taken on every topic," and that on every topic, while someone was proven right, someone was proved wrong.

She noted that in some of the instances, people who were right were right for the wrong reasons. However, she said that people had a "prescient understanding" of the available information. According to Oster, people need to put these fights aside and declare "a pandemic amnesty."

Twitterati was not happy with the concept of "pandemic amnesty"

After Emily Oster's piece, "Let's declare a pandemic amnesty," went viral, Twitterati refused to side with her, and bashed the government for their "forced" past actions. Several users shared videos and pictures from the time of the crisis justifying their point. One user even stated that they would "never forgive" the culprits for degrading the economy and unemployment.

The op-ed piece specifically ticked off some Conservatives who refused to let Dr. Anthony Fauci "off the hook." The New York Times reported that Dr. Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, became a bogeyman for several right-wing supporters. This happened as Republicans targeted Dr. Fauci in an attempt to court Donald Trump voters.

Reports suggest Republicans suffering more than the Democrats during the pandemic

A study, titled, "Partisan differences are common in the lessons Americans take away from COVID-19," was released on September 6 by the Pew Research Center.

The study revealed that more Republicans died from the Covid-19 than the Democrats. The reason suggested was their ability to trust the advice from the public health authorities.

“Skepticism toward vaccines is the top response among Republicans, and mentions of distrust of the pharmaceutical industry and government officials are also relatively frequent."

In another study, "The Association Between COVID-19 Mortality And The County-Level Partisan Divide In The United States," the results seen were quite similar. This study showed that the countries with majority Republicans saw more deaths from Covid than those with majority Democrats.

Jacob Wallace, an assistant professor of health policy at the Yale School of Public Health, spoke to NBC News. He suggested that the gap between the two could be due to vaccine hesitancy. He added that the countries that have a larger population get vaccinated see a much smaller gap between Republicans and Democrats.”

He further said that Florida and Ohio, which saw excess deaths during Covid, did not really have a big divide until vaccines became available for all.

Quick Links

Edited by Madhur Dave
1 comment