Parents who still mask their kids
It's not fair to children
Everywhere I go, life has returned to normal. Most people acknowledge that school closure was an error, and that restrictions placed on the lives of children served no purpose. They all got covid anyway, and it is not clear the vaccine works in children in any meaningful way. Moreover, restricting kids did not significantly slow the spread for anyone else, and the best evidence suggests no change in spread, or a marginal change in spread. It was a mistake to not recognize the age of gradient of the virus, and approximately every restriction placed on healthy young people was an error.
Yet, even in 2023, there are a few parents who still mask their children.
You see them at the playground. You see them at school. You see them in the grocery store. Sometimes the kids are wearing a ridiculous counterfeit children's n95 mask. Sometimes an even more ridiculous plastic flow mask. Often, a flimsy surgical mask.
You see way more of these kids in San Francisco and Portland than Houston and Miami. It's no secret, and our research has shown, that masking has much more to do with politics than any actual biologic factor. This is particularly true in 2023.
These aren't children undergoing chemotherapy, on permanent immunosuppression, or otherwise vulnerable. (PS it's hard to know which conditions make someone more vulnerable in 2023 by the way, as the virus is much more like a cold, and hospitalization statistics are flawed). Mostly, they are children of parents who are still very afraid, and afraid of the boogeyman of long covid.
I feel bad for these kids. How many more years will their parents make them wear masks?
I've seen 18-month-old kids wearing masks on airplanes for 7 hours. Is that fair to a child?
At a minimum, I think the same public health authorities who scared people into wearing cloth masks needs to actively advise parents to take the mask off their children.
Parents, of course have the right to parent poorly. But at some point this is going to be a bigger issue. I don't think it's fair for parents to prevent their child from showing their face for how many years? Five more? 10 more? Till they go to college?
No one who supported children's masking thought we would be doing this in 2023. Obviously people who supported children's masking were always wrong, but even they knew that indefinite masking was crazy.
Whenever I see a family making their young child wear a mask, I just feel pity for that kid. Its time for public health to reach out to these misguided families to help bring them back to normalcy.