If Some Public Health Officials Have Their Way, the Answer is Yes

One of the main themes of my forthcoming book about schools during the pandemic is to question why certain officials, often those with infectious diseases expertise, were anointed The Deciders for how all of American civilization should conduct itself. Maximum mitigation of a virus is not the same thing as human flourishing.

What I hadn’t counted on, but is an increasing worry of mine, is the influence some of these people may have on policy or cultural norms after the pandemic is over. …

On February 13, Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert who is heavily quoted in the media, and who served on Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board, warned that a forthcoming surge in Covid-19 cases would be a roadblock for the president’s plan to reopen schools.

“I think this discussion’s going to be all for naught soon,” Osterholm said, referring to schools. “When B117 takes over in six weeks or so, I think our whole country is going to be approaching its darkest days with this virus.”

It is now March 29, more than six weeks later. …

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

It’s a truism of the business world — and a concern — that many CEOs often care more about maximizing quarterly profits or, more directly, raising their company’s share price, at the expense of setting their business on a long term successful course.

I find myself often thinking of Randi Weingarten’s scorched earth advocacy for teachers in this same regard. …

Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash

One of the most important costs of our pandemic policies — and the resultant media amplification of them –– that emphasize risk and the need to stay home are the myriad medical needs unrelated to Covid that have been unattended to. In short, people have been afraid to go to the doctor because they’re frightened of contracting Covid. More worryingly, many have been afraid to take their kids to the hospital.

An article in JAMA Pediatrics published last month showed that pediatric hospital admissions in 2020 fell by as much as an extraordinary 45%, compared to the median rates over…

David Zweig

Author of INVISIBLES. Forthcoming: AN ABUNDANCE OF CAUTION (2022), and MERELY PLAYERS (2023?). I write for @NYMag @TheAtlantic @NYTimes @Wired

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