Why we must demand that leaders who got COVID wrong admit it and apologize
As COVID restrictions end around the country, and Democratic politicians pretend that something about the science has changed instead of their poll numbers being in the dirt, Americans must first demand: apologies.
Here, I’ll even go first. I spent much of 2020 and 2021 writing again and again arguing for the opening of schools throughout the country. But in March 2020, I was one of the leading voices urging schools to close.
It made no sense to me that my husband had stopped going into the office because of the mysterious new virus but my children continued to go to school. People were dying in large numbers in Italy and I was afraid.
I never imagined that “two weeks to slow the spread” would turn into two years, and counting, of pausing the lives of children to accommodate hypochondriac adults.
I was wrong. I’m sorry.
Now you go.
You, leadership in school districts that closed for the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year because American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten told you to — and you were too afraid to counter. Whether school boards, mayors or governors, those in charge who kept schools closed have to be held accountable.
It wasn’t that the teachers unions were strong, it was that you were weak. It was a dereliction of your duty. Apologize.
But, of course, you couldn’t have done it without cover from our politicized health agencies. You, Rochelle Walensky at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allowed Weingarten to craft absurd, unscientific policies that kept kids out of school.
You let her block the schoolhouse door because you were on the same political team. You broke the trust Americans had in their health agencies and we will all suffer the repercussions of that for a long time.
Apologize to the children whose lives you’ve stunted and who may never recover from the educational loss. Apologize to the kids who received speech therapy through masks because you refused to acknowledge that masking had been pointless in stopping COVID-19 spread.
You may have permanently damaged these children because you refused to admit that you had been wrong for so long. Apologize.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, you fell in love with your own image and could not stay off the TV even as it caused us all harm.
In November 2021, you said that people who were criticizing you were “really criticizing science, because I represent science. That’s dangerous.” What’s dangerous is if you really believe that.
You frequently got things wrong on TV or reversed your previous comments with no explanations. The science hadn’t changed, you made political calculations to support the diktats of the Biden administration.
You actually argued for the passage of the stimulus bill as if you were some kind of lobbyist and not the director of one of our national health agencies.
Worst of all, you shut down dissenting opinions from other scientists because you knew yours could not withstand scrutiny. You have been a disaster for this country in leading us through the pandemic.
Apologize. Then exit stage left and let us never hear from you again.
You fearful, quiet politicians who let extended lockdowns destroy businesses, fray the fabric of our cities and cost us all so much: We saw you maskless, at concerts and parties, while our 2-year-olds stay masked to this day.
We know that you didn’t actually think masking was important like you implored us it was. You loved your power and nothing else mattered. Apologize.
And you, compliant media, the disaster of the last two years is at your feet. You created heroes out of people like Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose nursing home directive cost thousands of lives, while demonizing Gov. Ron DeSantis, who used all of his political capital to correctly force schools open, a decision everyone now pretends was easy but certainly was not.
You ran stories about high case numbers in Florida “as schools open” to project that schools were somehow unsafe. You were incurious and did not ever challenge the corrupt health care agencies. You let us down.
Don’t apologize, we don’t believe you anyway.
The pandemic could be waning, maybe, and the impulse might be to forgive, without any apologies, and forget. We can’t do that. A new variant can easily emerge and the people who have been wrong for two years will go right back to forcing their failed prescriptions on us all.
Last year, right around the same time, we saw a loosening of COVID regulations only to have them come roaring back with the Delta variant in summer. We can’t keep doing this.
When Mayor Eric Adams announced the lifting of restrictions on Gotham last week, the language was “suspension of the Key to NYC program,” which required vaccine proof for indoor spaces. And the city Health Department released a “Recommended Action” plan that reverts to masking in schools during times of “medium spread” and everywhere during “high spread.”
That’s why we need the admission of failure of all of these policies, and who was responsible, before we can move on. Americans must insist on it for our collective future.
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