McEnany's getting a bad rap for saying, "The science should not stand in the way of reopening schools"

McEnany's getting a bad rap for saying, "The science should not stand in the way of reopening schools"

Some lefties are taking her out of context. In isolation, the idea of not letting science stand in the way of doing what the president wants to do seems like an admission that Trump cares little for the health of students and parents as he rushes to get everything open before the election.

But that’s not McEnany’s point. In context, as you’ll see in the clip below, it’s clear that she means that the science is on Trump’s side. The reason it shouldn’t “stand in the way” of reopening schools is because it supports the administration’s position that reopening can be done safely.

I’ll be curious to see how many news outlets edit this clip tonight to distort her meaning by making it seem as though she’s encouraging people to ignore science when she’s really doing the opposite.

She’s in the process of citing a JAMA study at the end there as the clip cuts off to bolster her point that reopening is a safe — and healthy — thing to do. In case she wasn’t clear enough, she went on to say explicitly that the science is on their side:

So, no, we’re not yet at the point where the White House is openly encouraging people to stop worrying about their kids’ health and get back to work to get this economy rollin’ for the president. (Although check back in September.) I believe this is the JAMA study McEnany mentioned in the clip, by the way. It’s interesting, but doesn’t address all of the concerns parents and teachers have. The conclusion:

We found the severity of illness in infants and children with COVID-19 to be far less than that documented in adults, with most PICUs across North America reporting no children admitted with this disease during the study period. Of the critically ill children with COVID-19, more than 80% had significant long-term underlying medical conditions. Overall survival and outcomes from critical illness in infants and children with COVID-19 in this series was far better than reported for adult patients. At the present time, our data indicate that children are at far greater risk of critical illness from influenza than from COVID-19.

It’s very unlikely that a child will become sufficiently ill as to require ICU treatment if they’re infected, especially if they don’t have comorbidities. That’s great. What’s less clear is whether infected children will spread the disease to their teachers in class and to their parents when they bring it home from school. The data on that appears mixed, with some European countries managing to hold their case counts down since they reopened schools and Israel having a much harder time since they did so. Presumably the extent of local community spread as schools reopen is a factor. If there’s less virus circulating nearby, there’s less of a chance that children will pick it up — but there are many U.S. states right now where the virus is circulating robustly, shall we say. What do we do there? Kids won’t end up in the ICU, but what about mom and dad?

Eh. I’m sure it’ll be fine in red states:

As she walked up to the podium to speak, one of the moms grabbed a face mask and spit her gum out into it. “It’s garbage,” she shrugged, wadding it up. “It doesn’t work anyway. Not for me and not for my kids.”

A dad who spoke after her said he, too, doesn’t think the masks are effective, and said he’s pulling his kids out of school this fall if the state doesn’t lift its mandate requiring all K-12 students to wear a face covering…

They packed into the small boardroom to talk, pulling tape off the seats meant to maintain social distancing and crowding in against the walls. They wore “Trump 2020” hats and carried little American flags, and every time someone said “freedom” or “constitutional rights” the whole room cheered. Almost no one wore a mask; those who did had them pulled under their chins.

There’s blue-state weirdness to laugh/cry at this afternoon too. New York City is currently planning to have students in class just three days a week in order to reduce the risk of infection. That creates a problem for parents who need to be at work five days a week. Who’s going to watch the children during those other two days? No problem, says Bill de Blasio: The City’s going to do it, opening up day care for 100,000 children.

…If they’re going to pack kids together for day care and risk infection that way, why don’t they just hold class five days a week and risk infection that way instead?

Is it a teachers’ union thing? I.e. maybe they can’t get teachers to agree to five days of class given the risk of infection, so they’re forced to get others to warehouse kids for two days a week? Or is this just de Blasio being de Blasio?

Your exit quotation comes from an epidemiologist quoted in a piece at The Hill with the merry title of “Public’s disconnect from COVID-19 reality worries experts”: “We do know that kids can get sick and they can even die. It’s definitely a much lower number… Even if they aren’t as infectious, if there are millions of them gathering in schools not having great hygiene, it’s a multiplier effect.”

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David Strom 9:21 PM on February 02, 2023