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.
Here’s Joel Zinberg on the CDC’s new mask ‘guidance .’ A slice:
These small and somewhat contradictory studies seem like a slim reed on which to base a nationwide change in policy. The CDC has not released any other data showing that breakthrough Delta infections present as high a transmission risk as infections of the unvaccinated. Despite the current Delta surge, vaccinated people likely pose a minimal risk to the uninfected.
The CDC acknowledges that even with Delta, only a small percentage of fully vaccinated people will be infected. For a vaccinated person to become infected, they have to encounter an infected person who is actively shedding the virus. A large percentage of the population is immune and unlikely to be infected or shedding; half the U.S. population is vaccinated, and at least another 20 percent to 25 percent more have natural immunity after recovering from Covid-19.
That brings me to all the condemnation of the anti-lockdown protesters by our political class and by many of their lockdown-supporters in the media. It has been near to hysterical. Just last week New South Wales disgracefully announced it is in future calling in the army, for heaven’s sake, something I have not seen in the Anglosphere since then Canadian PM Pierre Trudeau did it to deal with the murdering terrorists in the Front de libération du Québec. For what is NSW doing this? To deal with unarmed people who have had their jobs taken away from them by politicians and bureaucrats who haven’t even had the decency to take a small pay cut? And who play God by deciding whose livelihood is ‘essential’ and whose is not? Now readers will know that from the start of this pandemic, in these pages well over a year ago, I have consistently been a strong opponent of these lockdowns. Every bit of the ‘science’ based on a century of data and fully endorsed by the World Health Organisation was unequivocally against lockdowns right up until December of 2019. Obsession with Covid as the only matrix that matters has seen (and will continue to see) Australia’s excess deaths go up noticeably – and these extra deaths can’t be from our very few Covid deaths but most plausibly have been caused by the lockdowns themselves. Our political class has bungled its response to this hugely. They are spending tens of millions of dollars a month on advertising about it, propagating with your and my money only their ‘accepted view’. They don’t tell you more doctors have signed the Great Barrington Declaration against lockdowns than have signed its rival for them. My Speccie colleague James Macpherson beautifully set out on 26 July on Flat White all the reasons one might want to protest against the last 15 months of despotic government in Australia, and despotic it has been.
All this hypocrisy, the stinking hypocrisy that now affects nearly all of the decision-makers in this country, is what is ruining respect for government and for the political class. It is police pushing around a pregnant woman for next to nothing. The fact your fellow Australians wish peacefully to protest is what makes – sorry, made – this country great. It is not made great by heavy-handed lockdownistas whose grasp of the current data (not modelling, data) on the pros and cons of lockdowns seems feeble to me and whose first instinct is to reach for the heavy-handed, despotic stick. This is not the Australia I came to in 2005. And these changes are being overseen by a supposedly Liberal government. It’s enough to make a grown man weep.
Gavin Mortimer reports from France that Emmanuel Macron’s Covid-passport scheme is fueling intergenerational warfare . Here’s Mortimer’s conclusion:
The Covid passport has been a success in that it has achieved Macron’s objective of boosting vaccine uptake among the most reluctant. But at what cost to society? The young will not forget the way they have been bullied and threatened by their president, and nor are they likely to forget the selfishness of the 68ers [French baby-boomers] who are as spoiled now as they were half a century ago.