In most areas of the country, COVID-19 mandates and requirements have gone the way of the woolly mammoth. The government-imposed restrictions that almost instantaneously became such a large presence in all our lives in 2020 have disappeared just as quickly.
But that’s not the case for young children in New York City.
On April 1, 2022, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Dr. Ashwin Vasan, Health Commission for the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, held a briefing on COVID-19.
Mayor Adams spoke first, asserting, “I’ve also said all along, we will continue to follow the science.”
However, even though New York City currently mandates young children ages two to four wear masks in school and daycare settings, there is no such mandate in place for older New York City dwellers who are at a greater risk from COVID-19 than young children are.
Earlier on April 1, Richmond County Supreme Court Judge Ralph Porzio had struck down the city’s mask mandate for two- to four-year-olds.
Judge Porzio called the “toddler mask mandate” “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.”
The mandate is “void and unenforceable,” the judge wrote.
Because of that ruling, for a few hours on April 1, New York City children were not required to wear masks in public schools.
But it didn’t last long.
Later on April 1, an appellate judge ruled in favor of the city and stayed Judge Porizo’s order against the mandate.
At the briefing, Commissioner Vasan said, “I, myself, am wearing a mask. I’m doing that because it’s what I’m recommending New Yorkers do in public indoor settings, especially if you’re not certain about the vaccination status of those around you.”
For adults, masks are recommended in public settings.
But for those age two to four, Commissioner Vasan said, “We’re recommending to wait a little bit longer before making masks optional for this age group.”
Responding to the appellate judge’s ruling on April 1, Mayor Adams tweeted, “Every decision we make is with our children’s health and safety in mind.
“Children between 2 and 4 should continue to wear their masks in school and daycare come Monday,” he said.
Every decision we make is with our children’s health and safety in mind.
Children between 2 and 4 should continue to wear their masks in school and daycare come Monday.
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) April 1, 2022
Back in February and March 2020, very little was known about COVID-19. But one of the first data points we did learn is that COVID-19 essentially singles out the elderly and those with comorbidities for severe illness and death. In general, the youngest (praise God) and healthiest are spared.
As more data came in, the facts continued to prove that hypothesis true.
According to data provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of March 30, 2022, there have been 363 deaths with COVID-19 among children ages zero to four.
All told, the CDC reports that 979,158 people have died with COVID-19 as of March 30.
This means children ages zero to four represent 0.04% of all deaths involving COVID-19, or less than one-half of one-tenth of 1 percent.
Additionally, there have been 2,225,762 cases of COVID-19 among children ages zero to four.
That means that if a young child does test positive for COVID-19, there is a 0.02% likelihood that they will die.
There’s not really a way to overstate how unreasonable it is for New York City to mandate young children wear masks in schools and at daycares, but not mandate the same for adults or seniors. The former have a near zero percent change of dying with COVID-19. That’s not the case for the latter.
It seems most of our scientific and political elites have not taken into account the harms that mandatory masking have on young children’s emotional and social development.
A plurality of parents believe that mandatory mask-wearing has “harmed their children’s overall scholastic experience,” a new poll recently found.
Forty-six percent of parents also say that “mask-wearing hurt their child’s social learning and interactions,” and 36% say mandatory masking negatively “affected their child’s mental and emotional health.”
It’s time, past time, to let young children take off their masks.
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