Our children have sacrificed enough: It's time to end pointless mask mandates

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Why aren’t more of us challenging the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) masking recommendations for children? Despite changes in indoor masking requirements that have liberated most adults, the CDC continues to cling to unscientific COVID-19 guidelines that harm our children by keeping them masked for no good reason. In many school districts, parents have been stripped of the authority to opt-out on behalf of their children because their school officials adhere to the CDC guidelines religiously. It is time for us to take a closer look at the CDC and its decision to keep our children in masks. 

Despite minuscule evidence of benefits and increasing evidence of harms—physical, mental and emotional—the CDC refuses to veer from its recommendation that children ages 2 and up should be masked indoors regardless of vaccination status. That’s also how we get the ridiculous airline guidance: “All passengers 2 years and older must wear a face mask for the duration of the flight, including during boarding and deplaning with no medical exceptions allowed.” Don’t blame the airlines (at least for the rules). Blame the CDC.

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In addition to the heartbreaking anecdotal evidence revealing that our kids are not OK, we have government reports and medical surveys documenting our children’s flagging mental and emotional conditions. And now there’s emerging evidence that masking practices stunted our children’s development. For example, with masked adults and peers, how can children learn to discern the nonverbal modes of communication that come from reading the faces of those they encounter? The children harmed the most are from families with limited resources. All this is occurring despite the fact that children are at low risk of being affected by or dying from COVID-19; some evidence even suggests that children present a lower risk for spreading the disease, too. 

The decision to cover our children’s faces in the name of public health was never based on “the science,” and especially not the consensus of the scientific community. An article in The Atlantic exposed the fact that the CDC’s approach remains at odds with World Health Organization (WHO) guidance for children under five. While the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden and other European nations followed the WHO, our Washington bureaucrats rejected the consensus that children under 5 are “at low risk of illness,” that masks were not “in the overall interests of the child,” and that “many children are unable to wear masks properly.”

Despite the billions of dollars spent on coronavirus prevention, the CDC and other public health officials haven’t bothered much with the randomized trials that would allow them to measure the impact of masks on reducing COVID-19 transmission.

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Unfortunately, we’ve allowed Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Francis Collins and other bureaucrats to set the precedent. They have moved on to their next gambit. This year they began insisting that America needs to upgrade from cloth and surgical masks to N-95s, which China will be happy to supply. Will our masses rise up like Canada’s truck drivers after government messaging to get the COVID-19 vaccine turned into mandates? Or will it be too late for us? Have we been silent too long? 

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Thankfully, some of our youngest and bravest are standing up for themselves. School children are showing great courage by shedding their masks and organizing protests against the stifling rules. In Loudon County, Virginia, 29 students defied the school rules—resulting in a suspension for refusing to wear a mask in school. In Elgin, Illinois, a middle school student was locked in a room for what he thought was an exercise of his state law rights to not wear a mask. He can be seen and heard in a viral video telling a school official on the other side of the door, “It is the law by Gov. Pritzker to let me out of this room. You can’t lock me in a room. You can’t lock me in here. Please let me out.”

In addition to the heartbreaking anecdotal evidence revealing that our kids are not OK, we have government reports and medical surveys documenting our children’s flagging mental and emotional conditions. 

Despite what happened to this child, he fared better than another middle schooler in Pennsylvania where a teacher was caught on another viral videotaping a mask to a child’s face. In an election year, the pushback of brave students and parents is likely to make meaningful political waves. 

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Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin recently signed a law making masks optional for public school children. That’s a step in the right direction and it is how it should be for all American parents and children.  I have seen a lot in my 60-plus years, but I’ve never seen a government demand for our children to sacrifice so much for so little. Let’s make a decision to be part of the movement that ends the mandatory mask mandates for our children. By taking action, we might be able to reduce the depression, suicide ideation and impaired speech and brain development currently plaguing our children.

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