By Jefferey Jaxen

Masking children, along with the social isolation of widespread lockdowns and school closures, has caused immeasurable harms which are still unfolding. Yet, public health experts and school boards continue to ignore such collateral damage by again pushing to activate failed, myopic restrictions. 

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha stated in a recent interview that “people wearing masks indoors is really important and it really will make a difference.”  

He was speaking about the Los Angeles County announcement mandating indoor masking on July 29 due to community transmission, a dimension which the COVID shot admittedly doesn’t prevent.

Just south of Los Angeles, San Diego Unified School District has announced it will be masking up kids again effective July 18. 

When asked during an interview with local news about kids who aren’t comfortable wearing a mask, SDUSD Board President Sharon Whitehurst-Payne said, [They should] “just not return.”

Whitehurst-Payne’s option for non-mask wearers was Zoom instruction from home. A previously disastrous policy during the last two years of the COVID response that has created more harm than good across multiple social, emotional and physical metrics for kids subjected to the policy.

Keeping students out of school has been a grave injustice. Meanwhile, a growing body of literature suggests that school-based mask mandates have limited to no impact. Yet school boards appear to be ignoring science and data to disadvantage the youngest, vulnerable members of society – for what purpose? 

A new study has taken advantage of a unique natural experiment of two adjacent K-12 school districts in Fargo, North Dakota. One which had a mask mandate and one which did not in the fall of the 2021-2022 academic year. 

The researchers found study found that mask mandates “were not associated with significantly lower COVID-19 student case rates.” A finding consistent with adult data on community cloth masking, multiple observational studies of school mask mandates [1,2,3] and a systematic review of medical or surgical cloth masking for influenza.

The State of California has no plans for a sweeping mask mandate at schools, which leaves the decision up to each school district to decide its rules for face coverings. 

School and county mask mandates are dependent on community transmission and infection numbers, which the COVID vaccine can not stop. The Omicron variants continue to cause less severe cases and less hospitalization. In fact, during a recent press conference on July 14, Dr. Brad Spellberg, Chief Medical Officer at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center, stated the following: 

“Only 10% of our COVID positive admissions are admitted due to COVID. Virtually none of them go to the ICU, and when they do go to the ICU it is not for pneumonia. They are not intubated… we have not seen one of those since February.” 

In Australia, the Victorian government has announced what is being called a “stealth” mask mandate across the state’s schools systems. A letter signed by the heads of Victoria’s state, independent and Catholic education sectors was received by parents about the health advice according to Australian news

Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy was quoted as saying he was “sick” of the government’s “smoke and mirror games” on health. With the letter to parents using the words ‘the department strongly recommends’ and ‘we are asking,’ Guy stated:

“It’s a mandate on kids by stealth, we all know that,” he said on Tuesday morning.

Germany is set to re-impose its mask mandate in September despite the summer COVID wave already “losing momentum,” indicating such rules are being made permanent.

The measures will be sent to parliament in September, where they are likely to be voted into law.

Jefferey Jaxen

Jefferey Jaxen is a health journalist and featured in his weekly segment, ’The Jaxen Report’, on The HighWire. As an investigative journalist, researcher, and compelling writer, Jefferey serves as Lead editor of The HighWire News and Opinion Team.

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