Sports commentator and OutKick founder Clay Travis has weighed in on mask mandates for children, which he stands firmly against.
During a Tuesday night school board meeting for of Williamson County Schools in Franklin, Tennessee, Travis explained why it is that "masks in schools make zero sense."
When it comes to "Our kids, under 25 years olds" Travis offered, there's "1 in a million chance that they're going to die of COVID. They are more likely to be struck by lightning, they are more likely to be struck by lightning, they are more likely to die from the seasonal flu." Travis went on to ask if school board members have mandated masks for the seasonal flu. "Well shame on you, because every kid in Williamson County Schools has been under more danger from the seasonal flu every year than they are from COVID."
Travis was also firm in declaring "I will tell every parent here, don't let your kids wear masks." As he emphasizes for them to "refuse," other attendees burst into cheers and applause, and give him a standing ovation.
In an article last month for Intelligencer, part of New York magazine, David Wallace-Wells pointed wrote "The Kids Are Alright-Why now is the time to rethink COVID safety protocols for children -- and everyone else."
His article also made the same point Travis did:
It may sound strange, given a year of panic over school closures and reopenings, a year of masking toddlers and closing playgrounds and huddling in pandemic pods, that, according to the CDC, among children the mortality risk from COVID-19 is actually lower than from the flu. The risk of severe disease or hospitalization is about the same.
This is true for the much-worried-over Delta variant. It is also true for all the other variants, and for the original strain. Most remarkably, it has been known to be true since the very earliest days of the pandemic — indeed it was among the very first things we did know about the disease. The preliminary mortality data from China was very clear: To children, COVID-19 represented only a vanishingly tiny threat of death, hospitalization, or severe disease.
But first: the kids. Over the course of the pandemic, 49,000 Americans under the age of 18 have died of all causes, according to the CDC. Only 331 of those deaths have been from COVID — less than half as many as have died of pneumonia. In 2019, more than 2,000 American kids and teenagers died in car crashes; each year, according to some estimates, about a thousand die from drowning.
Some of these comparisons aren’t so neat, since the data on other diseases and accidents are sometimes unreliable, and because the extraordinary precautions against COVID-19 probably prevented significant additional spread (and also suppressed the spread of other diseases). But, last year, fewer kids died of COVID-19 than of heart disease, “malignant neoplasms,” suicide, and homicide — not to mention birth defects, which killed hundreds of times more. All told, 600,000 Americans have lost their lives to COVID over the course of the pandemic; just 0.05 percent of those were under the age of 18, a population that represents more than 20 percent of the country’s population as a whole.
Also last month, Denise Roland reported for The Wall Street Journal that "In Children, Risk of Covid-19 Death or Serious Illness Remains Extremely Low, New Studies Find."
As Roland wrote:
Children are at extremely slim risk of dying from Covid-19, according to some of the most comprehensive studies to date, which indicate the threat might be even lower than previously thought.
Some 99.995% of the 469,982 children in England who were infected during the year examined by researchers survived, one study found.
In fact, there were fewer deaths among children due to the virus than initially suspected. Among the 61 child deaths linked to a positive Covid-19 test in England, 25 were actually caused by the illness, the study found.
The three studies, by researchers in the U.K. reviewing its national health system’s medical records or pulling together data from other countries, were published on preprint servers Thursday. The studies haven’t yet been reviewed by independent experts and are preliminary.
The studies provide some of the most detailed analysis yet of severe illness and death from Covid-19 in children, a closely watched subject as schools prepare for a new academic year and parents weigh whether to have their children vaccinated if shots are cleared for younger ages. One of the studies focused only on deaths, while the other two examined the risks of severe illness and death.
Researchers previously had found the risk of severe illness and death from Covid-19 among children under 18 years was relatively low. The new studies confirm the findings, adding to the weight of evidence as policy makers and school officials make decisions about mask-wearing and physical distancing.
Ultimately, the school board voted in favor of a temporary mask mandate for elementary school students which will take effect on Thursday and expire on September 21, unless they vote on September 20 to extend it, according to Anika Exum and Brinley Hineman with Nashville Tennessean.
So @WCSedu put a mask mandate in place only for elementary school students, those 5-11 years old, the school ages least at risk from covid in the entire country. All mask mandates are unscientific madness, but young kids being forced to wear masks makes the least possible sense.— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 11, 2021
My two youngest kids attend @WCSedu public schools and I attended Nashville public schools grades K-12. I’m sorry my opinion about the schools my kids attend forcing all kids to wear masks — when there is zero scientific evidence masks work — offends you so deeply. https://t.co/Bgn3tCaSvm— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 11, 2021
At elementary schools in the district, 27 percent of students had chosen to wear masks. Superintendent Jason Golden said he recommended the board vote in favor of the mandate since these children are not yet approved for the vaccines.