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WSJ: The Case Against Masks for Children

re: City Journal: Do Masks Work? A Review of the Evidence

Real science is never settled, and anyone who has certainty on such things is not qualified to discuss it.

Our most vulnerable and most valuable are pawns. Institutionalized child abuse.

The Case Against Masks for Children

By Marty Makary and H. Cody Meissner, August 8, 2021

It’s abusive to force kids who struggle with them to sacrifice for the sake of unvaccinated adults.

Do masks reduce Covid transmission in children? Believe it or not, we could find only a single retrospective study on the question, and its results were inconclusive. Yet two weeks ago the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sternly decreed that 56 million U.S. children and adolescents, vaccinated or not, should cover their faces regardless of the prevalence of infection in their community. Authorities in many places took the cue to impose mandates in schools and elsewhere, on the theory that masks can’t do any harm.

That isn’t true. Some children are fine wearing a mask, but others struggle. Those who have myopia can have difficulty seeing because the mask fogs their glasses. (This has long been a problem for medical students in the operating room.) Masks can cause severe acne and other skin problems. The discomfort of a mask distracts some children from learning. By increasing airway resistance during exhalation, masks can lead to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. And masks can be vectors for pathogens if they become moist or are used for too long. 

In March, Ireland’s Department of Health announced that it won’t require masks in schools because they “may exacerbate anxiety or breathing difficulties for some students.” Some children compensate for such difficulties by breathing through their mouths. Chronic and prolonged mouth breathing can alter facial development. It is well-documented that children who mouth-breathe because adenoids block their nasal airways can develop a mouth deformity and elongated face. 

...The possible psychological harm of widespread masking is an even greater worry. Facial expressions are integral to human connection, particularly for young children, who are only learning how to signal fear, confusion and happiness. Covering a child’s face mutes these nonverbal forms of communication and can result in robotic and emotionless interactions, anxiety and depression. Seeing people speak is a building block of phonetic development. It is especially important for children with disabilities such as hearing impairment. 

...

In the absence of data, mask mandates have ignited a culture war. Yet if masks do reduce asymptomatic transmission in children, they likely rank no higher than fourth among mitigation strategies that schools can adopt, after ventilation, distancing and dividing students into small groups known as pods. Mandatory vaccination of all teachers and other adults who lack natural immunity—which teachers unions have vigorously opposed—would also help.

Any child who wants to wear a mask should be free to do so. But forcing them to make personal, health and developmental sacrifices for the sake of adults who refuse to get immunized is abusive. Before we order the masking of 56 million Americans who are too young to vote and don’t have a lobby, let’s see data showing the benefits and weigh them against the long-term harm.

WIND: follow the data? None. Follow the science? None. That’s now how the CDC operates, and the damage to its credibility won’t be undone in my lifetime.


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