Health and Medicine

The radicalization of a COVID moderate

By Noah Millman The Week

I have, throughout the pandemic, been something of a COVID moderate.

I supported strong restrictions at the start of the pandemic, on both practical and moral grounds. But as early as May of 2020, I saw America wasn’t going to take the steps necessary to truly contain and crush the virus. That meant the real question was how to live with it with as much normalcy and as little loss of life as possible — which in turn meant applying a rigorous cost-benefit calculation to restrictions until vaccines arrived. Since then, my overwhelming focus has been, simultaneously, how to maximize their uptake and how to get the still-anxious accept that the emergency phase of the pandemic has truly ended, and, with it, the rationale for most if not all the restrictions I’d embraced at the start.

Throughout, I’ve tried to remain cognizant of both the seriousness of the pandemic and the very real costs of restrictions (particularly to children and parents). I’ve tried make arguments from evidence in a calm and reasoned manner. But I’m starting to lose patience with calm, reasoned argument. It feels like we’re caught in a doom loop of COVID hysteria, and people aren’t listening.

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