New Jersey’s mask mandate for students ends today (Monday March 7th).
When Governor Phil Murphy announced the step last month he said this: “We are not – and I’ve said this many times – going to manage COVID to zero. We have to learn how to live with COVID as we move from a pandemic to an endemic phase of this virus.”
The state no longer requires all schools to muzzle kids. School districts are still free to enforce mask mandates if they choose to. Two districts, Camden and Trenton, have chosen to keep theirs intact.
Philadelphia will end their mask mandates on Wednesday this week, March 9th. ABC Chanel 6 interviewed several parents about their reactions to ending the mandate. While some parents still support covering kid’s faces others say this change should have happened a long time ago.
Either way, studies and trials in the United States and many European countries show that masking kids is not scientifically supported. Schools in U.K., Ireland, all of Scandinavia, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, and others exempted students from wearing masks. These studies showed no higher numbers in these countries and no significant benefits from masking.
They also showed harms.
“A year ago, I said, ‘Masks are not the end of the world; why not just wear a mask?’” Elissa Schechter-Perkins, the director of Emergency Medicine Infectious Disease Management at Boston Medical Center, told me. “But the world has changed, there are real downsides to masking children for this long, with no known end date, and without any clear upside.” She continued, “I’m not aware of any studies that show conclusively that kids wearing masks in schools has any effect on their own morbidity or mortality or on the hospitalization or death rate in the community around them.”
These downsides include stunted emotional development and difficulty recognizing others’ emotions. COVID-19 policies have already wrought enough suffering, abuse, and death. People should be free to take their own risks instead of have the government choose for them.
It’s good that these policies are being repealed, but it’s also vital that we stop them from ever coming back in the case of a new variant or political interest. Let’s get out the vote for this year’s midterm elections and set our sights on the presidency in 2024.