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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Remasking kids in cold season

Forcing children to wear masks in school is pointless and cruel, argues Zachary Faria in the Washington Examiner. "Public school students in Philadelphia will be forcibly masked for 10 days when they return from their winter break in January," he writes. Passaic, New Jersey teachers posted shots of their holiday party -- no masks in sight -- but children will be required to wear masks once again.

Boston schools are considering a temporary masking mandate in hopes of preventing transmission of colds, flu and Covid, the so-called "tripledemic."

Dr. Shira Doron, a Tufts epidemiologist, called masking children a "mistake." People are "living their lives normally outside of school buildings," she told CBS News. She suggests that sick people stay home and students and teachers wash their hands frequently.

Ignore the tripledemic hype, writes Joel Zinberg, a medical professor and director of Paragon Health Institute’s Public Health and American Well-being Initiative, in City Journal. The flu and RSV season hit earlier than usual, but cases are now declining, he writes. "Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths had been down for months, only rising recently to relatively low levels."

The bottom line is that every winter brings an uptick in respiratory illnesses. This year, Covid is part of that mix. But the current surge does not warrant the return of pandemic-era controls. Such measures are not only unnecessary but would also likely prove ineffective.

A pre-Covid review of research found mask wearing made "little or no difference" to the spread of respiratory viral illnesses, writes Zinberg. As for Covid, "scant evidence supports school masking," he writes. "Sweden, which kept schools open without mask mandates, found little evidence of in-school disease transmission, either between students or between children and adults."

Furthermore, Swedish teachers weren't more likely than those in other occupations to be hospitalized with Covid. The Covid death rate for Swedish children was zero.

There and here, "the risk for healthy children — the overwhelming majority of kids — is practically nonexistent," concludes Zinberg.

School masking does have risks. "Children with and without hearing impairment have been found to have impaired word identification in settings with mask wearing," he writes. "And face masks also appear to interfere with social communications by impairing the recognition of emotions."

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Dec 29, 2022

Last week here in Los Angeles, I saw a young couple with their kid at the grocery store. The adults looked like they were still in their 20's, in perfect health, and were dressed like they came from the gym. They weren't wearing masks, but their 4-year-old kid was. Angelenos are broken people.

Ann in L.A.


Dec 29, 2022

Funny thing, common cold viruses and influenza are not transmitted very well by airborne or aerosol vectors. They are transmitted via surface vectors. Better to have the kids keep their hands in their pockets than to have them wear masks which will incentivize more hands on nose and mouth contact.


Dec 28, 2022

Hard to believe this is all still debatable. For us, we followed the existing rules when our children acquired pink eye, etc at elementary school and kept them home. Enough other parents did the same as quite frankly those not on gov't medical plans have high deductible and all these appointments hit a middle class family hard.......once the numbers of medical absentees are high enough, the school had to report to the DoH. That resulted in negotiations with the janitor's union to clean the building more frequently as part of the existing public health measures. Also resulted in enforcement of procedures for allowing students to wash hands before eating, as well as admitting/not admitting contagious students to the classroom (pink…

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