The Washington Post Editorial Board Wants to Sicken Its Readers

For tax revenue, no less. In another post, if I’m motivated enough, I’ll discuss some of the absurd justifications the Washington Post makes for forcing federal workers back to the office full-time, but in this post I want to discuss health-related issues.

Anyway, just to sum up: the Washington Post editorial board wants federal workers to return to the office full time* to generate tax revenue. What’s remarkable is that there is no mention of COVID, or in particular long COVID (months long, possibly permanent, disability); the word COVID is found once in the editorial, and only in reference to the pandemic, not as a health problem. That doesn’t surprise me, since the Washington Post, along with other major media outlets, simply have not pressed either the Biden administration or public health officials about the likelihood that vaccinated and boosted people will contract long COVID (for any new readers, I’ve been warning about long COVID for over two-and-a-half years; this isn’t some ‘new excuse’).

Based on my reading of the literature–and I was doing genomic epidemiology before we called it that and have been an infectious disease microbiologist for several decades–people who are vaccinated have a one to two percent chance of developing debilitating long COVID, and you can probably double that for people who aren’t up to date on their shots** (note there are other unpleasant long-term consequences of COVID, but I’m focusing on the ones that prevent working and taking care of oneself). Yet the Washington Post editorial board seems oblivious to this. When you add in that most federal employees (who work at desks) work in common open spaces to save the federal government money–they don’t have private offices they can retreat to–this is putting federal workers at risk. Workers have no control over the ventilation in many of the downtown buildings–and many of those buildings aren’t new, so the ventilation isn’t good either.

And, of course, as much as people want to, we should not forgot the immunocompromised–and workers with households with immuncompromised people–either. They too are federal workers, and should not be put at risk.

If the Washington Post spent as much time (or any time) asking the Biden administration and public health officials about the likelihood of long COVID, especially in those who ‘did what they are supposed to do’ (get vaccinated) as they did call for return to full-time at the office, we would have far fewer sick (and dead) people. Instead, the ghouls at the Washington Post are asking federal workers to risk their health to increase tax revenues, which shows a vile disregard for the health of their readers.

*The reality is few federal employees are working full-time remote, and are in the office one or more days per week. Mondays and Fridays, pre-pandemic, were always light (just ask WMATA…), and this is just expansion and continuation of a pre-pandemic trend.

**So get vaccinated. That’s not even debatable.

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