Mask rules for toddlers are theater, not science
Even as new coronavirus cases continue to decline and vaccinations continue to rise, the great masking debate continues, in some cases, taking absurd new twists.
As Reason’s Robby Soave writes, mask restrictions in a few states are getting more intrusive for very young children:
In Michigan and New York, for example, state officials recently expanded mask requirements for kids at camps and day cares. Now, for the first time, kids between the ages of 2 and 4 will be expected to mask up as well.
“To help ensure maximum protections for staff and children at child care and camp programs, we are issuing this guidance so the facilities can implement basic but critical measures that will allow them to operate safely,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in a statement.
“We know that wearing a mask significantly reduces the spread of infection and should be part of the comprehensive strategy to reduce COVID-19-including for children age 2 and up,” said Michigan’s Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Masking toddlers may make some feel safer, but it’s also ridiculous:
The CDC has published some risk assessments by age. For comparison’s sake, I’ll phrase the findings the way I would the results of a vaccine trial: Being a child aged 5 to 17 is 99.9 percent protective against the risk of death and 98 percent protective against hospitalization. For children 0 to 4, these numbers are 99.9 percent (death) and 96 percent (hospitalization).
The central goal of vaccination is preventing serious illness and death. From this standpoint, being a child is a really great vaccine. Your unvaccinated first grader appears to have about as much protection from serious illness as a vaccinated grandmother.
Follow the science, and let the kids play without masks. And to cure the worries about infection of staff at camps and day cares? Get vaccinated.