It is important to understand that the argument isn’t against mask wearing—I do not take a stand on that issue—but to critically examine the minor inconvenience argument for masking wearing. The point is that arguing something is a minor inconvenience doesn’t show that one cannot reasonably object to it. There are many things we could do that would be minor inconveniences and save lives taken individually; but if we did everything that would be a minor inconvenience, but saved some lives, we would live a morally overbearing existence.
[Judith] Danovitch’s comical insistence on seeing secondary, character-building benefits from the rigors of mask mandates reeks of desperation. She even argues that masks inhibit nail biting and nose picking. I am not making that up.
In the same spirit, one can think of other advantages. Masks make it easier to verify whether you have bad breath, for instance, and they conceal pimples on much of your face. They thereby alleviate major adolescent anxieties. And for rebellious teenagers, masks make it easier to discreetly chew gum or use smokeless tobacco.
I would say that Danovitch is trying to make a virtue of necessity, except that the necessity remains unproven, which is the heart of the bitter debate about mask mandates in K–12 schools. If you think universal masking in schools is the only way to avoid a large number of COVID-19 deaths that would otherwise occur, you will be inclined to support that policy. But if you doubt that’s true, based on pre-vaccination experience with COVID-19 outbreaks in schools and the weak evidence offered by mandate enthusiasts, the possibility that requiring masks might offer “distinctive opportunities for learning and growth” will not sway you.
Mask mania, notably in schools, has become an epidemic, and needs to be dealt with. Children certainly are not Covid “super-spreaders,” very rarely get the disease, and almost never die from it. In fact, a Johns Hopkins study released in June found that “100% of pediatric COVID-19 deaths were in children with a pre-existing condition.” So, assuming vaccines are effective, I can only surmise that forced masking of children is a way to protect unvaccinated adults, which is a form of child abuse. (Statistics do show an uptick in pediatric cases for the “Delta variant,” but it is spreading most rapidly in areas where greater numbers of adults are not vaccinated.)
Just for a little perspective on Covid’s danger to children – as of August 11th, just 121 5-14 year-olds have died from it, yet 250 in that age cohort have died from pneumonia. Additionally, in 2016 over 4,000 children and adolescents died in motor vehicle accidents.
Importantly, the mask hawks never acknowledge the downside of forcing face coverings on children. A study published in June in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the wearing of masks by children “leads to an increase in carbon dioxide levels in both inhaled and exhaled air while wearing a mask.” In addition, masks can become saturated with viruses and bacteria from diseases, such as tuberculosis, meningitis, pneumonia, etc.
And the possible side effects of masks are not just physical. Neeraj Sood, director of the COVID Initiative at USC, and Jay Bhattacharya, professor of medicine at Stanford, maintain that masking “is a psychological stressor for children and disrupts learning.” The doctors assert that covering the lower half of the face reduces the ability to communicate. In particular, children lose the experience of mimicking expressions, an essential tool of nonverbal communication. “Positive emotions such as laughing and smiling become less recognizable, and negative emotions get amplified. Bonding between teachers and students takes a hit. Overall, it is likely that masking exacerbates the chances that a child will experience anxiety and depression, which are already at pandemic levels themselves.”
Just like how a grocery store sells more candy during Halloween, a hospital supplies more medical care, along with the necessary supplies, such as ICU beds, when demand increases. As one can see in the graph, when experiencing or expecting a surge in occupied ICU beds, hospitals anticipated growing demand and increased the number of supplied ICU beds. Moreover, once demand for the beds subsided, the hospitals decreased the supply of ICU beds accordingly.
This raises questions about the reasoning and incentives behind the St. Louis Department of Public Health’s policy mandates and recommendations. If the hospitals already have ways to manage their supply of ICU beds to match the ever fluctuating demand, then why does a temporary increase in the supply of ICU beds warrant a non-market solution?
Widely vaccinated Britain recorded 26,852 new cases on Tuesday. For New Zealand to experience a similar infection rate, it would need to record around 1,900 cases per day. After 18 months of being told that a single case of Covid is an existential threat to New Zealand, will even a vaccinated public accept 1,900 cases per day without locking down? As evidence emerges that even fully vaccinated people can be infected with Covid and pass it on to others, it seems unlikely.
Here is the reality of Zero Covid laid bare. There is no escape. If eliminating Covid is the goal, there is no end to lockdowns, no end to restrictions and no end to the constant fear that, at any time, your freedoms will be taken away and your life will be put on hold. Your country can be largely free of the virus for six months, but when one person in a city you have never been to tests positive, lockdown returns. New Zealand will leave this lockdown, but the fear of the next one will remain until the government and the people shake themselves out of this Zero Covid fantasy.
Brits were told to look to Australia and New Zealand as the gold standard for dealing with Covid in 2020. In 2021, Australia and New Zealand are falling way behind. Britain has shown that even with over 26,000 cases in a single day, you can still live with the virus. Locked-down Aucklanders will be able to watch packed British football stadiums full of maskless fans on their TVs this weekend, while they are forbidden from visiting their neighbours. New Zealand is living in a Zero Covid fantasy land.
It is the other way around. It is because we take Covid very seriously that the @gbdeclaration argued for focused protection of high-risk elderly instead of the ineffective general lockdowns.
Freedom has been redefined as the temporary suspension of state interference. In Scotland, ministers are already talking about potentially making some of their emergency powers permanent, and the government in Westminster shows no sign of giving up its powers anytime soon. Across the UK, those who believe in freedom and democracy must challenge political leaders who have become accustomed to ruling by decree.