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Parents Still Masking Their Young Children Should Be Ashamed

Why has the public been so widely misled about masking young children?

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Our latest I&I/TIPP Poll finds that three years since COVID-19 appeared in the U.S., almost 40% of adults think it’s a good idea to mask up children under 5. As President Joe Biden might say, we have two words for such parents: Shame. On. You. And double shame on you for those liberal Democrats who like to preen about how they “listen to the science.”

Shame on you for ignoring the data about who is at risk from COVID. For failing to put this risk in perspective. And shame on you for ignoring the long-term psychological damage you’re inflicting on the next generation.

Is that harsh to say? Let’s take a look at the data.

The CDC puts the current number of COVID-related deaths nationwide at 1.1 million people. Can you guess how many of them were children under age 5? 643.

That’s despite the fact that even with school shutdowns, forced isolation, and mask mandates, 3.3 million children under 5 have contracted COVID.

That translates into a death rate of 0.02%.

Those numbers might not matter, since the loss of any child is a tragedy. But the fact is that life is full of risks, and almost anything you can think of poses a greater risk to children than COVID.

Over the same three years, for example, more than 6,000 children in this age group died from preventable injuries — poisoning, falls, choking, drowning, fires, or suffocation. Parental negligence, it turns out, is 10 times deadlier than COVID.

Drowning alone claimed 2,700 children, making water almost five times deadlier than COVID.

Other health problems that most parents would never think about are deadlier than COVID. Nearly three times as many children died of cancer over the past three years. More than twice as many died of cardiovascular disease. Pneumonia and the flu claim twice as many young lives each year.

More children die each year from homicides than perished from COVID.

Masks, in other words, target a risk that is minuscule compared with other risks that parents would view as exceedingly rare.

And the effectiveness of these masks is dubious since they only work when worn properly. And if anyone has seen little kids with masks on, you’ve probably noted that they aren’t doing it right.

More importantly, parents are trading off a virtually non-existent risk for one that has serious long-term health and development implications – something widely acknowledged.

Here’s what NPR reported earlier this year:

Numerous scientific papers have established that it can be harder to hear and understand speech and identify facial expressions and emotions when people are wearing masks.

These are critical developmental tasks, particularly for children in the first three years of life.

The United States is an outlier in recommending masks from the age of 2 years old. The World Health Organizationdoes not recommend masks for children under age 5, while the European equivalent of the CDC doesn’t recommend them for children under age 12.

That was NPR, for Pete’s sake! It goes on to quote Manfred Spitzer, a psychiatrist and a cognitive neuroscientist in Germany, who said:

When speech no longer happens, when communication is interfered with, I think if that happens for a week, that’s OK. But if that happens for half a year, that’s eternity when it comes to brain development, at a very young age.

There’s one other thing the I&I/TIPP poll uncovered. Namely, Democrats are the worst offenders when it comes to this form of child abuse.

While the poll found that 40% of adults think masking 5-year-olds is OK, that’s only because 56% of Democrats say that. Among Republicans, just 24% (incorrectly) think it’s a good idea, and 31% of independents think the same.

The poll also provides convincing evidence that knowledge and wisdom are not the same thing.

For example, more college-educated people (44%) approve of masking children compared with 39% of those with a high school education. The poll found 48% of those making more than $75,000 are mask-approvers, compared with 39% of those making less than $30,000.

Also interesting is that men are more likely to favor masking young children than are married women (42% to 32%). Just 31% of senior citizens — people at greatest risk of dying from COVID and the strongest incentive to keep it from spreading — think masking young children is a good idea, compared with 43% of those in their child-rearing years (25-44).

Why has the public been so widely misled about masking young children? Well, think about it. Government institutions, public schools, and media outlets are controlled by liberal Democrats, most of whom think that strapping uncomfortable, ineffective, and long-term-damaging masks on children is a good idea.

So, shame on them, too.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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