In 2019, undervaccination caused a measles outbreak in New York. While no one died thankfully, some children got very sick. According to a report on the outbreak,
Serious complications included pneumonia (in 37 patients [5.7%]) and hospitalization (in 49 patients [7.6%]); among the patients who were hospitalized, 20 (40.8%) were admitted to an intensive care unit.
While it got a lot of attention at the time, the outbreak ended. Though we continue to encourage the MMR vaccine, virtually no one mentions this outbreak anymore. Our collective silence demonstrates that with regards to measles, we actually believe things are back to normal.
Urgency of Normal, 2022
With this in mind, let’s meet the organization Urgency of Normal, whose leadership team includes pro-virus doctors who believe that “For children, getting sick and recovering is part of a natural and healthy life.” Their stated mission sounds very reasonable.
We are a group of scientists and pediatric, infectious disease, emergency, mental health, and ICU doctors concerned that COVID-19 mitigation measures for children are doing more harm than good. Health must be viewed holistically— yet school policymakers have narrowly defined “safety” as the mere absence of COVID, putting children into a loop of mitigation measures that are uncoupled from actual risk. After two years of living with one disruption after another, the toll on children’s mental and physical health is increasingly evident and alarming. To protect them, an urgent return to fully normal life and schooling is needed.
These doctors are upset that children’s lives have been disrupted, as are we all. To this end, they’ve ceaselessly said the words “schools should be open“, while simultaneously dunking on every measure to actually help schools open. When the virus ripped through schools last winter, forcing them to close and the National Guard to “teach” students, their predictable reaction was to pretend this wasn’t happening. For Urgency of Normal doctors, unwanted news is unmentionable news, and whether schools are actually open or not matters much less than cementing their reputations as people who say “schools should be open”.
Any mention of how the virus has harmed children is, of course, strictly forbidden. Despite their prolific pandemic pontifications, Urgency of Normal doctors never simply state the number of children who’ve died or been hospitalized this pandemic, and they shame those who even acknowledge that on rare occasions, children are gravely affected by the virus. For example, concierge internist Dr. Lucy McBride said another doctor was engaging in “fear-based messaging” after this doctor merely shared a news story about a baby who died of COVID. Dr. McBride, who coined the term “fear of normal” in March 2021 to describe people who didn’t feel the pandemic was over, said that sharing this information was a sign of communication “gone awry”. Like I said, unwanted news is unmentionable news.
The advice and encouragement
However, since the Urgency of Normal group first formed, one thing has become very clear- they don’t believe their core message. I’m sure they are sincere in their belief that it’s dandy when unvaccinated children get COVID. However, these doctors clearly don’t think the pandemic is over. This is why they talk about COVID constantly. Their YouTube videos, Substack articles, TV appearances, and social media feeds are almost exclusively devoted to COVID, COVID, and more COVID. This doesn’t reinforce a sense of normalcy, does it?
So here’s my advice and encouragement for these doctors.
Now that the CDC has adopted your position and “restrictions” for nearly all children vanished long ago, you should model the behavior you expect from others. Since you think things are normal, you should mention COVID as often as you do the 2019 measles outbreak. Reasonable people won’t believe things are normal until you stop talking about COVID. I’m confident you can do this. I believe in you.