Why Are We Still Forcing Children to Wear Face Masks?

Why Are We Still Forcing Children to Wear Facemasks?

As we enter into our third year of “15 days to slow the spread,” schools across the nation are doubling down on efforts to control the spread of a virus that is mild and mostly asymptomatic in children.

They’ve realized cloth masks do almost nothing to stop respiratory droplets from passing through — something leading scientists have been saying from day 1 of 15 — but instead of allowing kids to breath fresh oxygen and enjoy faces free from the moist, dirty, pathogenic pointless pieces of cloth, some schools intend to make children as young as 4 wear N-95 face masks.

The Berkeley Unified School District in California for example recently announced it would mandate N95 masks for students. Yet, there are currently no approved N95s — which require an even tighter fit — for kids because these masks have not been tested in children. In addition, not a single study suggests a policy that requires N95 or equivalent masks can slow the spread of COVID.

“This isn’t a matter of protecting children, their teachers or their grandparents; it’s delusional and dangerous cultlike behavior,” said Vinay Prasad, a hematologist-oncologist, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California. “When it comes to masking kids in schools, the global scientific community has launched no such studies during the pandemic.”

The UK government in January 2022, released an evidence summary of COVID and face coverings finding zero evidence face masks were effective in the classroom setting. In fact, the authors found masks caused physical side effects and impaired learning and communication.

In a study from Spain, where masks are mandated for anyone over age 6, data show masks had no visible effect on preventing the spread of the virus despite mask mandates —there was a deliberate upward trend.

An analysis from Germany showed that if a child is infected with COVID—with or without preexisting conditions—there is an 8 in 100,000 chance of going to the intensive care unit and 3 in 1 million chance of dying. There were no deaths reported at all in the over-5 age group.

According to Aaron Hertzberg, face masks cause significant harm, including promoting a sense of helplessness, stress and difficulty communicating, deprivation of interaction, personality changes, anxiety, physical discomfort and difficulty breathing.

Fifty-nine percent of UK teachers in April 2021 stated facemasks made understanding students more difficult. A recent “evidence summary” from the UK Department of Education concluded, “Government guidance continues to be that children aged under 11 years old should be exempt from requirements to wear face coverings in all settings including education.”

When it comes to cloth masks, what the few randomized trials conducted during the pandemic showed is that cloth-masking failed to improve COVID outcomes. In an umbrella review conducted by Prasad and Jonathan Darrow of Harvard and Ian Liu of the University of Colorado, findings showed cloth-masking “simply doesn’t work.”

To date, more than 150 studies have shown face masks do not work to control the virus and can actually be harmful, especially to children. 

In a CNN interview on Dec. 28, with Dr. Leana Wen, a public health professor at George Washington University, Wen said facemasks are “not appropriate for this pandemic.”

(Two weeks later, CNN took the position that “any mask is better than no mask” and tried to make the case for stronger masks against the much milder Omicron variant.)

According to Prasad, the U.S. is aggressive in masking young kids despite scientific evidence to support such a practice. Even the World Health Organization advises against masks for kids under 6 and only selectively for kids under 11.

“Masking is now little more than an appealing delusion,” said Prasad, but “most of the masks worn by most kids for most of the pandemic have likely done nothing to change the velocity or trajectory of the virus.”

“When the history books are written, we will not look wise or kind for insisting that kids and toddlers wear masks for hours on end, year after year, without ever testing this policy with controlled trials,” Prasad added. “We will look ignorant, cruel, fearful, and cowardly. We might even look worse than our primitive ancestors who, when faced with great plagues, engaged in all sorts of bizarre, superstitious behavior — but which rarely included making kids suffer most.”