Some progressives have opted to adhere to strict COVID-19 restrictions without scientific justification for doing so, ''a move that will erode trust in public health and make people less willing to take useful precautions,'' writes Emma Green for The Atlantic.
Green's essay, ''The Liberals Who Can't Quit Lockdown,'' scrutinizes specific communities for policies instituted and behaviors modeled that have ''veered away'' from scientific evidence as the year has progressed.
In Brookline, Massachusetts, leaders decided last week to keep an outdoor mask mandate in place after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed its guidance on that front. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in mid-April he hoped all California schools would open for in-person learning in the fall, but stopped short of a guarantee, stating that "mandates are not as often looked upon as favorably as you might think.''
In Somerville, Massachusetts, introduced in Green's article as ''the kind of community where residents proudly display rainbow yard signs declaring, 'In this house … we believe science is real,''' the issue of schools being slow to reopen was raised as a point of major contention between a group of mothers, including scientists, pediatricians, and doctors treating COVID-19 patients, and leaders like Mayor Joseph Curtatone.
''They saw the city's proposed safety measures as nonsensical and unscientific — a sort of hygiene theater that prioritized the appearance of protection over getting kids back to their classrooms,'' the article said, noting that a ''local leader appeared to describe parents who wanted a faster return to in-person instruction as '[expletive] white parents' in a virtual public meeting.''
Public health experts say schools can reopen safely for in-person learning with modifications.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, last month said that life in the U.S. may start returning to pre-pandemic normal by the end of the summer.
"It's very difficult to predict, but I would think that we would approach some degree of normality as we get towards the end of the summer and into the fall, and a considerable degree of normality as we get into the winter of this coming year," he told Business Insider in a recent interview.
"If we get the overwhelming majority of the population vaccinated, and it turns out how I suspect: that vaccinated people don't transmit,'' that timeline will be correct, he added.
More than 150 million Americans are at least partially vaccinated, according to CDC data released Friday.
''Last year, when the pandemic was raging and scientists and public-health officials were still trying to understand how the virus spread, extreme care was warranted,'' Green writes.
''The spring of 2021 is different from the spring of 2020, though,'' she writes. ''Scientists know a lot more about how COVID-19 spreads — and how it doesn't.''
''Public-health advice is shifting,'' she adds. ''But some progressives have not updated their behavior based on the new information.''
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