Gov. Kathy Hochul has gone ahead and ordered masking not just for all schoolchildren but for tots age 2 and up in day care. This is, without question, not just senseless but positively harmful.
There’s plenty to debate in many anti-COVID measures, but children under 6, without question, should not mask.
Yes, the Centers for Disease Control bureaucrats — with the White House pushing for advice that will please the teachers unions — recommend masking for all schoolkids (and faculty), even down to preschool. But the World Health Organization says under-6s shouldn’t mask.
Crucially, most of Europe doesn’t require it — and it hasn’t been a problem. Spain, France and Italy don’t require 5-and-unders to mask; Britain has done away with masks in schools entirely. And none has seen any spike in juvenile cases as a result.
Young children, as the world has known for months now, just aren’t prone to contract or transmit the coronavirus. Even the few who contract it are rarely symptomatic.
And masking is terrible for many of them: They’re still at a stage of growth where seeing faces and expressions is vital to developing cognitive and social skills. Children with certain disabilities, in particular, need to see teachers’ faces and lips to learn.
And the CDC’s own research indicates masks do nothing for kids: Its key study in December failed to show a statistically significant benefit to masking kids in school. And a former dean of Harvard Medical School, Jeffrey Flier, noted recently, “We lack credible evidence for benefits of masking kids aged 2 to 5, despite what the American Academy of Pediatrics says.”
In fact, mask mandates do little good for anyone: As former Biden COVID adviser Michael Osterholm noted last month, cloth face masks are “not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out.” An August study from the University of Waterloo found that the ubiquitous blue medical mask is only about 10 percent effective in containing the virus — if it’s worn correctly and replaced regularly. Dirty masks are disease-spreaders.
N95 masks do better, but they’re near-impossible to wear for long.
You can argue that the 10 percent reduction justifies mandates for adults, teens and perhaps tweens. But there’s absolutely no rationale for forcing masks on tots. That mandate is clearly anti-science.
Hochul and others who go down this road are either pandering (to special interests and to COVID hysterics) or pushing the edict merely to look like they’re “doing something.” It’s politics-driven child abuse.