CDC Wants Your Vaccinated 5-Year-Old Masked Indefinitely
Director Rochelle Walensky characterizes the potential unmasking of even vaccinated children as being “complacent.”
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was asked Wednesday morning at a White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing to explain the impact of expanding vaccination to 5- to 11-year-olds masking in schools. “You can speak to sort of the benefits along those lines,” Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller prompted her.
Here’s how Walensky responded:
After we have authorization from [the Food and Drug Administration] and recommendations from CDC, we will be working to scale up pediatric vaccination. That said, it will take some time, and as I just noted, as we head into these winter months, we know we cannot be complacent. We also know from previous data that schools with masks in place were three-and-a-half times less likely to have school outbreaks requiring school closure. So, right now, we will continue to recommend masks in all schools for all people in those schools, and we will look forward to scaling out pediatric vaccination during this period of time.
So the “benefit” of vaccinating kids is that kids will be vaccinated; otherwise, nothing changes.
Walensky and the CDC have serially misrepresented the data on which they base their global outlier of a recommendation that kids aged two and older wear masks in indoor group settings. But what makes the director’s comments today particularly distressing for some parents is that it offers zero offramps; no numerical set of targets to hit; not even a distant glimmer of light when it comes to the increasingly grim and questionably scientific practice of concealing children’s faces at a developmentally critical age.
“Please find a parameter to unmask children,” responded infectious disease specialist Monica Gandhi of U.C. San Francisco. Or, as Johns Hopkins epidemiologist Jennifer Nuzzo wrote yesterday, “Masks in schools were meant to be a temporary measure. It is good policy and practice to establish offramps for interventions that aren’t meant to be permanent….We should be able to answer what conditions would enable an end.”
My 6-year-old, who has spent nearly one-quarter of her life wearing masks in indoor group settings, attends a school where all the adults are vaccinated, kids and adults alike get tested once a week, and (per state requirement, as directly influenced by the CDC) everyone over age 2 wears masks, even outdoors. We live in a moderately high vaccination zip code (68 percent of all residents with at least one shot, 64 percent fully vaxxed), in a city with a lower case rate than all but six states, whose positive rate among regularly tested, unvaccinated public school students since mid-September is a minuscule 0.23 percent. I would like to know what any of those numbers need to look like for my daughter to see her teachers’ mouths again.
Instead, as Harvard associate public health professor, Joseph G. Allen wrote in Tuesday’s Washington Post, “it’s easy to see how schools could sleepwalk into indefinite masking for kids for at least this entire school year.”
The coronavirus remains largely an older-person disease, attacking particularly those with pre-existing comorbidities. As of Oct. 20, just 542 of the 723,280 people who the CDC have counted as deaths involving COVID-19 have been under the age of 18, despite that group representing 23 percent of the U.S. population. The two age cohorts in New York City with the lowest cumulative COVID-19 case rates are the ones totally or mostly ineligible for the vaccine: children aged 0 to 4 (6,049 per 100,000 people) and children aged 5 to 12 (9,220 per 100,000).
As Allen points out, “In highly vaccinated New England, the hospitalization rate right now for kids under 17 is about 7 per 10 million. That is not a typo. At the worst of the delta surge in Florida, the hospitalization rate for this age group was about 1 per 100,000. It has since dropped sharply in that region and is now approaching 1 per million again.” And irresponsible journalistic scaremongering notwithstanding, these numbers accelerated downward as school doors opened this fall.
Walensky’s refusal to offer parents any future hope runs the risk of doing more than just boosting alcohol sales. As Monica Gandhi points out, it reduces a potential incentive for parents to vaccinate their young ‘uns. “I think tying availability of the vaccine in children to taking away restrictions in adults and children provides a very positive motivation for everyone,” she wrote today.
It also reinforces the growing notion that pandemic restrictions are meted out in proportion to the targets’ political power rather than vulnerability to the disease. “When the 63-year-old governor of N.Y. goes out to crowded bars without a mask, but mandates 2-year-olds (lower risk of severe illness than vax’d governor) wear masks all day long at daycare,” noted Democratic New York state legislator Rachel Barnhardt yesterday, referring to some widely circulated photos of Kathy Hochul yukking it up with some Buffalo Bills fans, “it’s time for some offramps.”
There are entire swaths of the country where the CDC’s opinion of school masking matters not. And there are plenty of parents in CDC-obedient cities like New York and Los Angeles who view the microscopic positive-test rates of students as proof that heavy-handed restrictions work. Since the relevant public officials won’t answer the question, I’ll put it to the mask-happy blue-state parents: At what number—of cases, hospitalizations, vaccines, you name it—will you support allowing developmentally sensitive kids to take the damned masks off?
Cross-posted from Reason
Notes from the Editor:
We at 0censor are not part of the medical community, so we do not offer any advice on medical matters. But we know that our youth under 21 are more likely to pass and have adverse reactions to influenza than from COVID, so why are we demanding our young stay masked?
If there are worries about the teachers, educational staff, let them remain masked, but it is time to take this off our children. We used to put our lives on the line to protect our children; now the government is asking us to have our children do this for us, I will have none of it.
And for you that think I am making light of this, I lost my wife precisely a month ago to COVID. It was hard, still is, but if she knew that I changed my mind to demand this on children, she would come back to haunt me. We are told to look to science and facts unless we are dealing with leftist pet ideology, then we are told to ignore them.
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