On Dr. Drew and Apologies
I'm grateful for all the support of late. Still, I'm not granting any sort of "pandemic amnesty" without some serious apologizing.
I’ve been on a little break for the Thanksgiving holiday and I have a few things I’ve been working on that aren’t ready for prime time just yet. But I thought I’d share this interview I did with Dr. Drew before Thanksgiving.
ICYMI . . . and in case you’re interested.
What’s striking (and encouraging) of late is the response I get to interviews like this one. The world seems to have come around to what I’ve been saying since March 2020, which was summed up here by The New York Times on November 18th:
The evidence is now in, and it is startling. The school closures that took 50 million children out of classrooms at the start of the pandemic may prove to be the most damaging disruption in the history of American education. It also set student progress in math and reading back by two decades and widened the achievement gap that separates poor and wealthy children.
Dr. Drew has been on this for some time and so the energy with which we discussed the poor policy decisions, the censorship, the reputational smearing and the harms done to children was not at all surprising. But the emails and DMs I get on social media from lots of folks about interviews like this one have shifted considerably in the last few months. The essence of that communication is: Finally!
Finally to opeds like the one in The New York Times outlining the “startling” evidence of learning loss from school closures.
Finally to Maria Van Kerkhove, the acting director of the WHO’s department of epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevention, acknowledging that the immunity debt caused by lockdowns is what is wreaking havoc on children in China.
The evidence presented to the WHO team pointed to what’s sometimes called an immunity gap that was created by the pandemic. A dramatic reduction in circulation of other viruses and bacteria created a cohort of kids with few immunological defenses against bugs like influenza, RSV, and other cold-causing viruses, setting the stage for large outbreaks when those pathogens returned.
And finally to the comments on YouTube for the Generation Covid teaser (film coming in 2024) that I shared recently. Comments like this one:
And this one:
And this one:
I’m grateful for those cheering for the “mainstreaming” of the formerly heretical mention of the devastating harms being done from lockdowns and school closures.
Those of us who spoke up are no longer conspiracy theorists, racists, eugenicists and alt-right Q-anon nutters for thinking closing public schools for 19 months was a bad idea. For stating that lockdowns would cause so much harm.
And while we’re not fully absolved of our sins — our loudest critics have not granted us the grace and forgiveness that those who were actually wrong are seeking — we are on the way to being rehabilitated as the facts reveal themselves.
Of course, we are only partially rehabilitated. Many of us are still living with the aftermath of professional defamation and fractured family relationships and friendships. But we have hope for a total reputational rehab! I do anyway.
Still, I would like to know: Where was everyone when it mattered? If you weren’t there from the outset, that is just fine. It’s understandable. But if you came for people like me, or stayed quiet while people came for us even though you thought it was wrong to do so, an apology would be nice.
Of all the people that came for me when I wrote about abuse in gymnastics — former teammates, USA Gymnastics leaders, journalists — only one has apologized. And boy did that matter to me. Someone I had trained with as a teenager and went to college with after that, who had chased me around the internet and called into radio programs to call me a liar, called me one day a few years later and said: You were right. You saw it and you said it. I wasn’t ready. I’m sorry.
And now we’re friends again.
I know for sure I won’t be granting any sort of “pandemic amnesty” without some hearty and heartfelt apologizing.
A reminder, if you can, head on over to Give Send Go and give whatever you can to support the documentary film I’m making. We’ve raised about $16k so far to help us complete Generation Covid! Amazing! Thank you! Every bit helps!