Dr. Marty Makary, a surgical oncologist and chief of the Johns Hopkins Islet Transplant Center, publically criticized elite American universities for their extreme COVID policies, calling them “anti-scientific and cruel”.
Makary uses Georgetown University as his first example of ridiculous, anti-scientific COVID policies. Despite the CDC shortening the quarantine period from 10 days to five, Georgetown continues to force students who test positive for COVID to spend 10 days in confinement in a designated building. One student Makary spoke to said she was fed up with how her school is handling COVID and described how people will yell at you if you so much as take off your mask in the library for a sip of water. The student also told Makary that she was thinking about transferring to an SEC school so she could have an in-person experience.
In his post, Makary points out that “students are the lowest risk population on planet Earth. over the last six months, the risk of a person in the broader age group (15-24) dying of Covid or dying with Covid, was 0.001%.” Of those who did die from/with COVID, were “unvaccinated people with a medical comorbidity.” Therefore, it is totally unreasonable for these universities to keep such harsh protocols in place.
At Princeton, fully vaccinated students aren’t allowed to travel outside of the country unless on a sports team. In addition to this, the university is testing all students twice a week, despite the scarce testing supplies in vulnerable communities.
In Boston, Emerson College also requires students to be tested twice a week, while also forcing students to stay in their private rooms unless they’re getting food, getting tested, going to a medical appointment, or going to their place of employment if they have a job. These students are not allowed to have any kind of social experience in college even though they are most likely not at risk for severe COVID effects.
The last two universities that Makary discusses are Cornell and Amherst. At Cornell, indoor masks are mandatory, and outdoor masks are recommended. Amherst takes this rule one step further, requiring students to double mask if they don’t use a KN95.
Makary questions where the scientific support for any of these extreme protocols is. He points out that, at these institutions, science is supposed to be held in the highest esteem, yet they are ignoring all scientific reasoning which goes against their COVID rules.
These students face a greater health crisis from the deprivation of human connection and the “basic enjoyment of life”, Makary points out. He writes that these policies are damaging children’s education and harming not only college-aged people. A study from Brown University suggests that “children born during the pandemic have significantly reduced verbal, motor, and overall cognitive performance compared to children born pre-pandemic.”
Now, Makary writes, students are facing more severe danger with their schools forcing them to get vaccinated and booster. The boosters have raised serious concerns with myocarditis complications in college-aged individuals. Omicron, whose symptoms are synonymous with a mild cold, is causing an uptick in the pressure on students to get booster shots.
“They are risking health complications in young people for the sake of beating back mild and asymptomatic infections,” stresses Makary. His post then urges universities to reevaluate their approach to this virus and consider all the harm that’s being done to the students for no reason.