Speaking at Friday’s Academia’s COVID Failures symposium at the University of Chicago, Atlas detailed the especially burdensome effects of COVID-19 policies on America’s children and the economically disadvantaged. “What kind of society uses children as shields for human adults?” he questioned.
In particular, Atlas noted the pernicious effect that vaccination mandates, lockdowns, and masking have had on schools and universities, deeming the implementation of those policies an “unethical abrogation of duty” by university administrators and other school leaders. He cited findings from UNICEF, which highlighted the regressive nature of learning losses placed disproportionately on low-income students.
Other harms that COVID policymakers inflicted include increasing unreported child abuse cases, degenerating mental health, more instances of self-harm, and drug overdoses. Atlas weighed those considerations against the fact that the young had the lowest risk levels in terms of COVID mortality. Additionally, he observed that lockdowns contributed to a 28-pound average weight gain for college students, feeding into a broader obesity crisis.
Dr. Atlas’s alternative would have been a focused protection system that factored in the risk levels of each demographic group. Given that data available in 2020 showed that young people were at miniscule risk from fatal COVID effects, he asserted that blanket lockdown policies came at the undue expense of children as well as the poor.
Lastly, Atlas denounced the “disastrous void in courage” that pervaded our culture, especially at universities. Warning against setting a poor precedent for students, he lamented that “the sad truth is that cancel culture on campus is highly effective” and that it “teaches the worst behavior to our children—the next generation of leaders.”
He offered words on advancing out of the pandemic: “We must reinstate the moral background . . . the ethical compass . . . that is disappearing from this country.”
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