A February headline in the Washington Post read, “Mask Mandates didn’t make much difference anyway.” A month later, the New York Times gave us this: “Do Covid restrictions work? Yes, but they didn’t make much of a difference.”
The tone is a bit flippant, isn’t it? It’s as if these headlines are referring to something inconsequential everyone once believed, but later proved untrue. Remember how they used to make us stay out of the pool for an hour after we ate? Turns out that was hooey. LOL!
Maybe it’s wishful flippancy, given the flood of news about the knock-on costs of COVID policies—massive learning losses, an adolescent mental health crisis, a surge in homicides, skyrocketing overdose and alcohol-related deaths, and inflation, to name a few. I imagine many would love to put it all behind us, tucking “COVID Response” on the shelf between “Carrots Don’t Improve Your Vision” and “Cracking Your Knuckles Doesn’t Make Them Bigger.”
The past two years have been far too disruptive and divisive to move on without a backward glance. From what I can see in my own world, even those who earnestly supported and complied with COVID measures have begun to wonder how much of it made sense, or if any of it did.