Commentary: Unmask America’s children

Let’s send America’s children back to school and leave the fear behind.

Children are significantly less affected by COVID-19. According to the CDC in early April, “hospitalization was most common among pediatric patients aged <1 year and those with underlying conditions.” In fact, an analysis of five studies shows that “Children appear significantly less likely to acquire COVID-19 than adults when exposed” and there are significantly fewer infected children than adults. 

Between Feb. 1 and July 8, a total of 14 children between the ages of five and 14 had died from COVID-19 according to a CDC report. Compare it with the most recent flu season in which 166 children died—or with the nearly 5,600 children at those ages who died from all causes in 2017. 

The British Medical Journal, in a new study published on Aug. 28, starts with these words: 

“Children and young people comprise only 1-2% of cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) worldwide. In contrast to other respiratory viruses, children seem to have a lower risk of infection than adults, and the vast majority of reported infections in children are mild or asymptomatic, with few recorded childhood fatalities attributed to covid-19. Initial reports from China showed that only 0.6% of children with covid-19 were critically ill.”

Referencing this study, the Spectator in England stated, “It has been clear from the start of the COVID-19 crisis . . . that it was a disease with relatively little impact on children.” Of the 69,516 hospitalizations for COVID-19 symptoms between Jan. 17 and July 3, only 651 were children under the age of 19. Six children died, all with compromising comorbidities. 

Children are also not infectious. In a study reported by Pediatrics on Aug. 1, researchers noted that “child-to-child or child-to-adult transmission” had not yet been documented and their study was also unable to document such transmission. They write, “Unlike with other viral respiratory infections, children do not seem to be a major vector of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission.”

“The data are striking,” Dr. William V. Raszka, co-author of the study, told ScienceDaily. “The key takeaway is that children are not driving the pandemic. After six months, we have a wealth of accumulating data showing that children are less likely to become infected and seem less infectious.”

Let’s unmask America’s children. As the CDC initially reported, and the World Health Organization still notes, “At the present time, the widespread use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not yet supported by high quality or direct scientific evidence.” 

Many schools across the globe have opened schools and abandoned social distancing. As British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, once hospitalized with COVID-19, quipped, “We’ve got to start thinking of a world in which we are less apprehensive about this disease.” Let’s send America’s children back to school and leave the fear behind. Let’s bring normalcy back to their little and adolescent lives. As the Pediatrics article underscores, “the child is not to blame.”

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Twila Brase, RN, PHN, is president and co-founder of Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom. As part of CCHF’s Face Freedom campaign, CCHF asks Americans to post their smiling faces on social media each Friday with the hashtag: #FaceFreedom or #FaceFreedomFriday. Find more information at FaceFreedom.org and CCHFreedom.org.