Angry mom begs Georgia school board: "Take these masks off my child"

I don’t know where this is from specifically but it’s circulating on Twitter today to applause from parents of young kids. They and their children are exasperated after a year of forcing kindergarteners to mask up to prevent infections that don’t seem to be happening much anyway and aren’t dangerous to kids when they do.

And as for the risk of children getting infected and passing the virus to mom and dad, why continue to worry about that when all American adults are now eligible to be vaccinated? Watch, then read on.

I linked this in an earlier post but it’s worth re-upping it here since it’s on point. Thirty members of Congress including Mike Lee and Rand Paul sent a letter to CDC chief Rochelle Walensky today asking the agency to rescind mask requirements for young children. It’s oppressive and increasingly unnecessary, they argue:

Within the United States, children younger than age five account for approximately six percent of the population but only two percent of total coronavirus cases. Further, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, “Several studies have found that children transmit the virus, but perhaps not as often as adults, especially in younger age groups.” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci made a similar assessment in November 2020, stating, “If you look at the data, the spread among children and from children is not really very big at all, not like one would have suspected.”

One review of scientific literature on COVID-19 infections showed “evidence for significantly lower susceptibility to infection for children aged under 10 years compared to adults given the same exposure.” Another review that focused on contact-tracing studies and population-screening studies found “preliminary evidence that children and young people have lower susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2, with a 56% lower odds of being an infected contact.” A different analysis of 32 studies indicated that “children and adolescents younger than 20 years had 44% lower odds of secondary infection with SARS-CoV-2 compared with adults 20 years and older; this finding was most marked in those younger than 10 to 14 years.”

The UK and France exempt children under 11 from mask-wearing. We’re forcing toddlers to do it. Walensky seems reasonably open to relaxing scientific guidance that’s outlived its usefulness but she runs a bureaucracy and it moves at a bureaucracy’s pace. This is the same agency that only recently got around to affirming that transmission of the virus isn’t happening by touching contaminated surfaces, something we’ve known for upwards of a year, and is still undecided on whether masks are needed outside.

School boards tend to defer to the CDC, if only for CYA purposes. If I were this mom, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

In lieu of an exit question, go have a look at the latest data from Brown University’s ongoing study of COVID infection rates in schools. For the first time ever, the rate among adult school staff was lower than it was among students over a two-week period, in this case the period from March 29 to April 11. Among students there were 14 confirmed cases per 100,000 people; among staff, there were just 12 per 100,000. (Among the wider community there were 23 per 100,000, the latest reminder that it’s safer to be inside a school than outside of one.) I can only assume that we’re seeing the fruits of vaccination in those numbers. School staff are eligible to be inoculated but students under 16 aren’t. Result: Infections are now rarer in the grown-ups at school than they are in kids.