Masking our children's problems
When one of the most ardent proponents of the most extreme measures said to be necessary to "stop the spread" walks back what she said, you know that it is becoming impossible to shove the consequences of those extreme measures under the rug.
Dr. Leana Wen was among the most strident CNN "voices" demanding that kids be forced to wear "masks" at school — as well as adults everywhere else. "We are not out of the woods," she said. "We haven't reached the end of the pandemic ... it's counterproductive and truly infuriating these governors [referring to Governor Ron DeSantis] who are treating this as if the pandemic is over. It's not true."
She now says her own child's development has been "stunted" by masking. This is not surprising, given that young children process the world visually, learning to read and respond to the faces of those around them. When a toddler cannot see his mother smiling, it is difficult for the child to learn what his mother — or any other adult — is thinking.
Now Wen is realizing the damage her mask fanaticism has caused, but only because it's become personal. It was very personal for the millions of Americans subject to the extreme measures urged by "experts" such as Wen — and even more infamously, Dr. Fauci — whose "expertise" has been shown by the facts to have been on par with the "expertise" of phrenology, the study of bumps on people's heads as indicators of their intelligence.
"I accept the risk that my kids will probably contract covid-19 this school year, just as they could contract the flu, respiratory syncytial virus and other contagious diseases," she told the Washington Post a week ago. "As for most Americans, covid in our family will almost certainly be mild."
Isn't that magnanimous of her?
Meanwhile, how many other children have had their development stunted as a result of the obdurate militancy of people such as Drs. Wen and Fauci?
As it turns out, there's a metric for that.
USA Today just reported the appalling news that reading and math scores for elementary-age schoolchildren have "declined across the board" since pandemic-induced "masking" mandates were imposed. It is the largest average score decline in more than 30 years (since 1990) according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Black children suffered the most precipitous developmental decline. According to USA Today, "Black students lost a lot of ground in math, far more than their white peers," citing what the data say is a "13 percent score decrease among black students compared to the five-point decrease among white students" and that this amounts to a "widening of the white-black score gap from 25 points in 2020 to 33 points in 2022."
But all kids were negatively affected.
"The big takeaway," says NCES commissioner Peggy Carr, "is that there are no increases in achievement in either of the subjects for any student group in this assessment. There were only declines or stagnant scores[.]"
"These are some of the largest declines we have observed in a single assessment cycle in 50 years of the NAEP program," said acting NCES associate commissioner Daniel McGrath.
Ironically, the NCES website carries photos of "masked" children above the story about their two-year-stunting...via all this "masking."
At least Wen has come to understand what went wrong — and has stopped doing it. To her children, at least.
But how is this being corrected? The damage done is massive. Wen is on record advocating that it wasn't enough. She urged that life be made as difficult as necessary for people who didn't abide by the sickness theater she insisted was necessary to "stop the spread."
As a doctor, she ought to have known better.
The "masks" people were ordered to wear were anything at all that covered the face. A bandana over the face "stops the spread" of nothing — except common sense. The same goes for the made-in-China disposable "masks" that came in boxes that said right there on the side of them that the "masks" within do not prevent the spread of airborne viruses. Yet so long as people wore a "mask," they were "showing respect" for the "science" — and people like Doctors Wen and Fauci.
And now the children suffer. Who will be held accountable?
A.J. Rice is president & CEO of Publius PR, editor-in-chief of The Publius National Post, and author of the #1 Amazon bestseller, The Woking Dead: How Society's Vogue Virus Destroys Our Culture.