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Pandemic Amnesty

Part of a series on COVID-19 Pandemic. [View Related Entries]

Updated Nov 02, 2022 at 04:49PM EDT by Zach.

Added Nov 02, 2022 at 01:26PM EDT by Aidan Walker.

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Pandemic Amnesty is a catchphrase and slang term taken from an essay published in The Atlantic by Emily Oster in late October 2022, which argued that American society needs to forgive extreme actions taken by people, the government and public health experts at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the following days into early November, the article and concept behind the term "pandemic amnesty" spurned a viral debate online, with many anti-vaccination and conservative voices, among others, criticizing and memeing Oster's phrase. Several mainstream media outlets also covered the article and began to report on the backlash that ensued shortly after.


On October 31st, 2022, The Atlantic[1] published the article by Emily Oster under the title "Let’s Declare a Pandemic Amnesty" and the subheading "We need to forgive one another for what we did and said when we were in the dark about COVID" (seen below). Oster, an economist at Brown University, argued in her piece that "most errors were made by people who were working in earnest for the good of society" and that in order to address the damage done to institutions by the pandemic and lockdown measures, it was necessary to recognize that.

IDEAS LET'S DECLARE A PANDEMIC AMNESTY We need to forgive one another for what we did and said when we were in the dark about COVID. By Emily Oster

The article was tweeted by the official Twitter[9] account of the Atlantic on October 31st, which was somewhat ratioed within the next three days after receiving roughly 180 quote retweets, 25 retweets and just 41 likes (seen below).

A The Atlantic @TheAtlantic - Follow "Treating pandemic choices as a scorecard on which some people racked up more points than others is preventing us from moving forward," writes @ProfEmilyOster. "We have to put these fights aside and declare a pandemic amnesty. theatlantic.com Let's Declare a Pandemic Amnesty We need to forgive one another for what we did and said when we were in the dark about COVID. 8:06 PM Oct 31, 2022


Shortly after the essay's publication on October 31st, 2022, people online began posting their reactions to the "pandemic amnesty" phrase, many seemingly taking issue with the underlying concept. For example, anti-vax TikToker[2] rossduboss_2.0 posted a TikTok (seen below) reacting to The Atlantic headline that same day and received over 330,000 views and 60,000 likes in the course of two days.[2] Subsequent posters then duetted with his video, spreading his rant further.


On November 1st, 2022, the topic was then covered on the Fox News show Fox and Friends, which framed the issue as a culture war story, noting the criticism it received among some on Twitter and paired it in coverage with conspiracy theories surrounding the attack on Paul Pelosi (shown below).[3]

On Twitter, some pushed back against the anti-vax framing of the story, such as user @chronicallybeee,[4] who posted a tweet on November 2nd (seen below) reminding others of the human and institutional toll of the pandemic. In their tweet, @chronicallybeee argued that the real problem with the U.S. pandemic response was its lack of organization and comprehensiveness, earning almost 800 likes in roughly 12 hours.[4]

collagen machine broke @chronicallybeee i actually won't be giving anyone "pandemic amnesty", but not in the way y'all are talking about it hundreds of people are dying per day, millions are dead, millions more are permanently disabled, and you're calling for people to forgive people for... taking precautions? 1:04 AM Nov 2, 2022 Twitter Web App 118 Retweets 1 Quote Tweet 789 Likes

A significant amount of the conversation about the "pandemic amnesty" term appeared to center around anti-vax circles. For example, the related hashtag "#nuremberg2" trended among such users on Twitter, which referenced the Nuremberg trials conducted by the Allies after World War II that culminated in the execution of prominent Nazis. Several memes and tweets, like one posted by Twitter[6] user @PureBloodNurse on November 2nd that received nearly 200 likes in less than an hour (shown below), also advocated for violence and used the Atlantic article headline as an exploitable template.

LET'S DECLARE A PANDEMIC AMNESTY We need to forgive one another for what we did and said when we were in the dark about COVID. By Emily Oster Best I can do is a military tribunal. followed by executions

Following the initial discussions of pandemic amnesty, much of it consisting of pushback by conservative and anti-vax circles, the idea crossed into the mainstream media with publications like The Wall Street Journal, Deseret News, Fox News and others all publishing articles on November 2nd.[5]

High-profile individuals, such as U.S. Congresspeople Troy Nehls of Texas and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, also shared the story and implied they would investigate and seek to punish the people who managed the early COVID-19 response if their party wins the majority in the midterm elections.[7][8]

Various Examples

Bridget Phetasy @BridgetPhetasy So that pandemic amnesty piece seems to have backfired spectacularly. 12:35 AM Nov 2, 2022. Twitter Web App 1,409 Retweets 72 Quote Tweets 18.9K Likes Congressman Troy Nehls @RepTroyNehls. Oct 31 They made you cancel funerals and say goodbye to loved ones over Skype No pandemic amnesty. Accountability is coming. A The Atlantic IDEAS Subscribe LET'S DECLARE A PANDEMIC AMNESTY We need to forgive one another for what we did and said when we were in the dark about COVID. By Emily Oster NUREMBERG CODE ARTICLE 6 SECTION 3 NO GOVERNMENT CAN MANDATE OR FORCE MEDICAL TREATMENT WITHOUT INDIVIDUAL CONSENT

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Top Comments


look , I like the spirit of forgiveness and redemption and one can forgive people for stupid takes , insults ,fights and such small temporal things then just move on , but this stinks of not wanting acknowledge the sheer amount people who got screwed over not because of the virus , but because of other people.

People who got shuned and ridiculed for taking the virus seriously with precautions, called sheep and ridiculed for taking the possibility of taking a lethal illness seriously, called by one side of the media cowards and being told into new ever changing methods to protect themselves from the virus every other week.

People who got screwed over and lost jobs over being hesitant about it, fired and/or banned for the silliest of things , called a threat by one side of the media for the act of not taking it that seriously.

and the worse part , is that the extremes and self righteous leads of both sides act as if they where the victims owed an apology , while ignoring people who actually got fucked in the process, for reason mostly unrelated to covid.

In the end , I belive the worse part of this pandemic was not so much the virus itself (wich was pretty fucking bad ) but the sheer amount of shit people did to each other based on wheter they belived or not in vax.


Let see
-spends 2 full years in full offense against the hesitant
-celebrates people losing their jobs.
-celebrates bank accounts being frozen
-makes fun of people who died without the vaccine
-Calls the hesitant retarded, "covidiots".
-Support news media and social media buring the silencing of dissent.
-Stays silent while government agencies, big tech and bring g pharma all collude together.
-Called lab leaks "fringe conspiracy theories" up until it's undeniable, then plays pretend that they knew all along.
-unironically calls for the refusal of medical care for the non vaccinated.

"Guys please, it's time to forgive."

No, I don't think anyone will or should. This will follow the boot lickers for as long as needed.


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