The Return of COVID Mandates?

Join Reason on YouTube and Facebook at 1 p.m. Eastern this Thursday for a discussion with Aaron Kheriaty, author of The New Abnormal about the persistent COVID mandates for K-12 schools, college campuses and health care settings.


It's back-to-school season, and for some parts of the country, that means dealing with COVID restrictions again. Americans are no longer experiencing indefinite school closures or ubiquitous masking, but intermittent school closures, temporary mask mandates, and COVID vaccine requirements persist.

Will it ever end? Or are we in "the new abnormal?"

That's what Aaron Kheriaty, a psychiatrist and fellow and director of the Program in Bioethics and American Democracy at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, argued in his 2022 book, The New Abnormal: The Rise of the Biomedical Security State. Kheriaty worked at the University of California, Irvine for almost 15 years, both as a professor and director of UCI Health's Medical Ethics Program, until he was fired for challenging the school's COVID vaccine mandate. He's also a plaintiff in the Missouri v. Biden lawsuit, which alleges that the federal government coerced social media companies into censoring legally protected speech during the pandemic.

Join Reason's Zach Weissmueller and Liz Wolfe for a discussion with Kheriaty on all these topics this Thursday at 1 p.m. Eastern on Reason's YouTube channel

Sources referenced in this conversation:

ABC News: "School districts in Kentucky, Texas cancel classes amid 'surge' of illnesses including COVID"

Bloomberg: "Covid Mask Mandate at Elementary School Draws Ire of Some Republicans"

Reason: "The University of Michigan Will Force Students With COVID To Leave Campus"

Cochrane Library: "Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses."

American College Health Association report on campus vaccine mandates and COVID policies 

Reason: "A Federal Judge Blocks California's Ban on Medical Advice That Promotes COVID-19 'Misinformation'"

Aaron Kheriaty in The Wall Street Journal: "University Vaccine Mandates Violate Medical Ethics"

Aaron Kheriaty's lawsuit against the University of California, Irvine

5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Missouri v. Biden