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Europe's CDC: We Do Not Recommend Masks in Schools for Kids Under 12

AP Photo/John Minchillo

We've already noted on several occasions that England has not required masks in classrooms since last spring – and its have children weathered a major Delta wave quite successfully. The country's mandate-happy government lifted masking requirements in schools based on data. Indeed, hospitalization rates among children (exceedingly low) dropped, compared to the Alpha variant wave. Here's the EU's version of the CDC offering guidance on masks in schools, which they do not recommend for younger children:


"Europeans, Australians and others are coming to different conclusions than the CDC about masking children and yet the position of the CDC is treated as infallible in much of the press," observes writer Zaid Jilani. The CDC has not acquitted itself in such a way as to credibly claim anything close to infallibility throughout this pandemic, and other countries are going a very different direction on school mask mandates, based on experience and information. Why should CDC's insistence that kids as young as three mask up be treated as sacrosanct, with those preferring other policy options assailed as "anti-science" or even anti-children's health? Allied nations with advanced public health systems disagree, as do many American doctors. But in his appallingly partisan, Afghanistan-avoiding COVID speech yesterday, President Biden cynically framed this issue as a black-and-white matter of science versus ignorance. Of right and wrong. Of pro-child versus anti-child:

Unfortunately, as you’ve seen throughout this pandemic, some politicians are trying to turn public safety measures, that is children wearing masks in school, into political disputes for their own political gain. Some are even trying to take power away from local educators by banning masks in school...Last week, I called school superintendents in Florida and Arizona to thank them for doing the right thing and requiring mask in their school. One of them said, “We teach science, so we follow the science.” The other said, “They have a guiding principle. Students first.” I just couldn’t agree more with what they both said. And that’s why today I’m directing the Secretary of Education, an educator himself, to take additional steps to protect our children. This includes using all of his oversight authorities and legal action, if appropriate, against governors who are trying to block and intimidate local school officials and educators. And as I said before, if you aren’t going to fight COVID-19, at least get out of the way of everyone else who’s we head into the school year, remember this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC says masks are critical, especially for those who are not yet vaccinated like our children under the age of 12...So let’s put politics aside. Let’s follow the educators and the scientists who know a lot more about how to teach our children and keep them safe than any politician. This administration is always going to take the side of our children.

If Biden ever deigns to take questions at a press conference again, he should be asked whether he believes the UK government, or the EU, is also doing the wrong thing by not mandating masks in schools. Are they, too, refusing to "follow the science"? Are they taking sides against the children? And if Biden blurts out a half-baked answer that amounts to "yes," he should be asked why. What current, available data can he cite that clearly demonstrates that Boris Johnson and the Euros have this all wrong, but America's bureaucracy is correct that pre-schoolers need masks? The reality is that evidence 'proving' that requiring masks in schools is an effective measure against COVID, especially among younger students, is incredibly scant and shoddy. Some American data points in the other direction: 

And to reiterate the point for emphasis, the evidence gathered across the Atlantic Ocean has led the UK and EU to reject the US CDC's stance. I'm not sure if any reporters will push the president on this, because COVID-related superstitions have reached the level of religious totems for many people at this point. One journalist who might ask is CNN's Jake Tapper: 


Notice also how Biden claimed that bad politicians have "banned" masks in schools. They've done nothing of the sort. They've made masks optional, with parents making the decision for their children. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said explicitly that kids are welcome to wear masks, and his administration has decided not to oppose district mask requirements so long as parents have opt-outs available. The lack of a government requirement is not a ban. This is not an insane or reckless policy at all. It's in line with the data-based decisions of our British and European friends. But the 'trust the science' mob in the United States is treating it like it's almost akin to child murder. Again, based on what, guys? Biden's false, dumb "ban" talking point is being spread by numerous credulous propagandists and anti-science, anti-child activists. And of course she's one of them: 

What's happening here is that Biden is presiding over numerous crises of his own making, and he's decided that the polling points to a wedge issue with which he can demonize Republican governors (he seems far angrier with guys like DeSantis and Doug Ducey than the Taliban) while distracting from his own catastrophic failures. Part of me doesn't want to take the bait, but his assertions about masking in schools need to be challenged, even if it means focusing on something other than our ongoing national disgraces in Afghanistan and at the Southern border. I'll leave you with the pro-mandate Academy of American Pediatrics – which inflamed critics with a recent tweet blithely dismissing potentially negative developmental impacts – apparently memory-holing some of their own research that might compromise their partisan tribe's superstition: 


It's hard to "trust the science" when the "science" is overtly political, and actual, relevant science is ignored.


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