NY Times Not Ready for Normalcy: ‘Frustration, Fear' in Steps Toward COVID Freedom

March 14th, 2022 1:55 PM

The New York Times is clearly not ready for the pandemic to end, judging by Sunday’s story, “Two Years Into the Pandemic, Relief, Frustration and Fear as Mandates Ease” by Jack Healy and Ashley Wong. The online headline: “The Covid-19 Pandemic Has Lasted 2 Years. The Next Steps Are Divisive.”

Two years into the pandemic, the paper is still ladling out more anxiety-enabling neuroticism for its readers.

It was two years ago that the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic, and after nearly one million deaths across the United States, the virus is far from gone. Rates of new infections, while improving, are still higher now than the beginning of last summer.

But after signs of progress and exhaustion, even cities and states with the strictest coronavirus precautions have been rolling them back. For millions of Americans who kept their masks on and socially distanced long after much of the country abandoned safety measures, it is a moment that has stirred relief, but also disappointment, frustration and queasy ambivalence.


In places like Florida and Texas, people have been living for months with few if any restrictions. But residents of Covid-cautious cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco said they were now trying to figure out the new rules of the road after two years of anxious vigilance.

The reporters ran the Omicron numbers and admitted “The mandates are lifting at a hopeful moment for the national coronavirus outlook,” but followed up:

After so many false victories and deadly surges in the past two years, many people said they feared dropping their guard now only to invite a pernicious new variant to dash their hopes yet again.

In interviews, Americans concerned with the easing of restrictions said they were bewildered by what felt like an abrupt change, especially given the enduring threat Covid-19 poses to older people and those with disabilities and weakened immune systems.

“It feels like we’ve truly been left to die,” said Elizabeth Kestrel Rogers, a writer in Mountain View, Calif., with cystic fibrosis. “It seems too much too soon, like people are giving up because they can’t be bothered anymore.”

Ms. Rogers said she and many friends would keep wearing masks. She was frustrated that the state had offered little advice for how people with disabilities or weakened immune systems should confront a world where even the most cautious places seem intent on marching back to normal.

“Marching back to normal” after only two years of excessive precautions?

Elected leaders have faced relentless pressure to undo virus restrictions from conservatives and protests like the trucker convoy circling the Beltway in Washington, D.C. Others say the restrictions are no longer worth the price of isolation, depression, rising crime and damage to children’s educations.


The easing has also troubled public health officials like Thomas LaVeist, the dean of public health at Tulane University who also serves as co-chair of Louisiana’s Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force.

The paper stuck to its unscientific mission of vaccinating all young children against the virus despite concerns over side effects, even though they are statistically by far the safest group:

Parents of children younger than 5, who are not eligible to be vaccinated, said they had been left exposed as the restrictions lapsed.

Urban liberal neurotics increasingly seem to be the paper’s base readership. Another example is the online feature, “How Climate Change Inflicts a Toll on Mental Health.”