Issues & Insights

COVID Cruelty

It’s been said that a crisis doesn’t create character, it reveals it. Far too often, the pandemic has shown that many Americans in positions of authority are of poor character. At least we know who the sadists are, since they so helpfully identified themselves.

The line between being overly cautious and just plain cruel has been crossed repeatedly. This is where we are today in what had previously been thought of as civilization:

  • Hospitals across the country are removing unvaccinated organ transplant patients from waiting lists. Medical ethicists are fine with this, because the patients need to be protected from illnesses while their bodies accept the new organs, and they are prioritized based on their chances of survival. These “ethicists,” however, come off as vindictive, “othering” the unvaccinated in line with the narrative. Moving these patients lower on the list based on a risk they assume seems acceptable, dropping them altogether is not. It’s intentionally punitive and ghoulish. The decisions reinforce, as well, the naked fact that the vaccine mandates are authoritarian power plays.
  • A Virginia hospital that refused to provide Ivermectin prescribed by a doctor to a dying COVID patient was found in contempt of court before it finally relented and allowed the drug to be administered. It was too late, though. The woman died five days after the judge’s ruling.
  • At Georgetown University,​​ “fully vaccinated students are randomly tested for COVID each week,” the Daily Mail reported last month, “and even those who are asymptomatic are ordered to stay in a room in a designated building where they spend 10 days in confinement.”
  • The more than 100 students who had been moved into a separate residence for COVID isolation at the University of Pennsylvania reported mental health declines, wretched food options, loss of their sense of time, and the prospects of having nothing to look forward to.
  • Emerson College students are tested twice a week and have to obey “stay-in-room orders.” They’ve been told they can “leave their residence halls or place of residence” only “for testing, meals, medical appointments, necessary employment or to get mail.” In other words, they are under a form of house arrest.
  • In California, where the pandemic restrictions have been particularly repressive, one high school reportedly barricaded unmasked students – who took off their face coverings to bring attention to their governor’s mask hypocrisy – in an unheated gym. For the record, officials said there were no barricades, just folding tables that had somehow ended up blocking the exits.
  • Also in California, a school district told parents that if they sent their kids to school without masks, the students would be labeled a “clear and present danger to the life, safety, or health of a pupil or school personnel,” and considered “abandoned.”
  • Another California school forced maskless students to leave school grounds and sit on a curb, while a charter school in Los Angeles denied entrance to a small group of unvaccinated teens who tried to show up for class with proof of negative tests. They were eventually herded into a cordoned-off area outside of the building, denied “chairs and bathroom breaks” and paid a visit by police. 
  • According to PJ Media, “Loudoun County, Va., students who attempt to enter school maskless could face arrest.” The report is based on a leaked email in which a Loudoun County Public Schools security official “coached principals on obtaining a warrant to arrest” any student who dared to attend school with an uncovered face.
  • The ​​Oregon Health Authority has ordered a permanent mask mandate in all K-12 schools which may be lifted apparently at whim. (Yes, we know the argument: It’s not the kids, who rarely become seriously ill from COVID, that are being protected, it’s the teachers who are more vulnerable who need to be safeguarded. But rather than work out solutions, which are not unattainable, educators have widely adopted the position that students are simply “vectors of diseases.” The ugly truth is that teachers and professors no longer want to instruct and train kids as they once did. They just want to immerse their students in the left-wing rot that they wallow in themselves every day.)
  • The Minnesota ​​ Board of Medical Practice has demanded a physician there provide “copies of medical records for the most recent three to five patients to whom you’ve prescribed Ivermectin to treat COVID-19.” Just the News reports that Dr. Scott Jensen believes the board “has been weaponized for political purposes by people who don’t agree with my positions politically. … I think people are clamoring to try to make my life miserable professionally.”
  • A University of California Irvine medical school professor was fired for declining the COVID vaccine. He has natural immunity after having contracted and surviving the disease.

These few stories are at the shallow end of the pool of depravity. There are many more to be told. We could even add lockdowns and mask mandates outside of school settings to the list, due to the damage they’ve caused with no benefits in return.

COVID-19 has brought out the worst in so many. Power-craving authorities, quite a few of them not elected, many more “political mediocrities” who couldn’t let a crisis go to waste, have been vicious and unrelenting, pushing well past the limits they should have in a free society. In other cases, the private sector has acted not in the best interests of patients but as an agent of a narrative developed by high-ranking federal bureaucrats.

At some point, soon, we hope, those who have inflicted far more damage than the novel coronavirus ever could have to be held to account. The reckless and malicious should be stripped of any power over others, lose their jobs, endure shame, make public apologies, and in some cases – those who intentionally sent many to their deaths (nursing home scandals come to mind as an example of this particular sort of moral turpitude) – spend a little time in our fine institutions of correction.

Some of the transgressions have been worse the others, so the punishment must fit – yet in all cases it has to be stiff enough to ensure that what we’ve endured over the last two years will never happen again. If not, history will repeat, and it’s likely to be more painful the next time.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • “In California, where the pandemic restrictions have been particularly repressive, one high school reportedly barricaded unmasked students – who took off their face coverings to bring attention to their governor’s mask hypocrisy – in an unheated gym. ” Sounds like “kids in cages…”

  • Please add another cruelty to your list. I have needed an endoscopy since last August. The hospital association that my insurance covers won’t let me into any of their facilities without a mask. I can’t be treated for political reasons. Keep in mind that I would need to take off the mask to get the endoscopy, but no matter, I have to play dress-up for no reason at all.

    I hope I don’t die while medicine is playing parlor games.

    I blame you doctors who know better and are not pushing back. Docs like Dr LaTullipe of Dallas OR will go down in history as heroes. The rest of you who know better and do nothing are in this camp:

    You are ruining your once great profession by not shouting down the witch-doctors, tyrant administrators and wanna-be dictators like Fauci. And we haven’t even started talking about the gene-altering “vaccine” that one day, one way or another your medical community will have to answer for. Shame on you people who are letting this happen.

  • It is stunning, disappointing, and frightening at the way some who have taken an oath to do no harm, and to uphold the Constitution yet treat the stricken with such malice.
    Can’t wait for Nuremberg Trials 2.0!

  • Okay, let’s get this straight, 95% or more of the kids are absolutely fine with wearing masks in school. The other 5% have been corrupted by their parents. I know of no kids that independently don’t want to wear their masks. It is just for the overzealous parents. As for testing college students, it 3x a week in California colleges. That has not been a problem. Forcing mostly at risk teachers (they are invariably mostly over 50 or in not perfect health) to teach in a risky environment is not reasonable and not necessary. We could easily lose 25% of our teachers, then where would we be??? Much worse off than having to wear masks in class.

  • Another cruelty: Brandywine Art Museum in Philadelphia rescinds student internship offers based on vaccination status, no exceptions or accommodations.

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