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CDC and Teachers’ Unions Push Back Against Unmasking Schoolchildren

by Veronika Kyrylenko

Reprinted with permission from

While numerous states run by Democratic governors have started lifting mask mandates for schools, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky claimed that “now is not the moment” to drop mask mandates in schools and other public places. America’s second-largest teachers’ union boss echoed the statement.

In an interview with WYPR‘s Tom Hall on Tuesday’s edition of the show Midday, Walensky said that her agency “still recommends that all schools encourage students to wear well-fitting masks consistently and while indoors. And that’s consistent with our guidance that still also recommends that people mask in public indoor settings in areas of high or substantial transmission.” Walensky, however, reaffirmed that such decisions lie within discretion of the local governments, not the CDC.

Walensky went on to say that she is “cautiously optimistic” about the course of the pandemic yet noted that the number of cases is still too high for people to lower their guard. Also, the hospitalization rate is higher than it was at Delta’s peak, said the CDC chief, who not so long ago admitted that people hospitalized “with COVID” often find themselves in the hospitals for unrelated reasons. Walensky also failed to mention that her own agency has recently found that the Omicron strain is far milder than Delta. It is, actually, a whopping 91-percent less deadly than Delta, the CDC researchers observed.

Walensky further implied that keeping a mask mandate in place is a necessary prerequisite to keeping schools open, even though multiple studies (here and here) suggest that mask usage makes little to no difference in COVID transmission. In fact, the masks have been associated with greater COVID transmission and deaths rates.

Getting children vaccinated against COVID, Walensky added, would also play an important role in keeping community transmission rates low and would facilitate a “return to normal,” even though her own agency has confirmed that vaccinated people can still get infected and spread the infection to others (see here and here). Moreover, the agency reiterated its universal masking recommendation back in July because it found that the vaccinated spread the disease to others at similar rates as the unvaccinated. In spite of that, Walensky yet again falsely claimed during the interview that the vaccines will “protect [children] from infection, severe disease and hospitalization.”

“I know people are interested in taking masks off. I too am interested. That would be one marker that we have much of the pandemic behind us,” Walensky told Reuters the same day.

“We have and continue to recommend masking in areas of high and substantial transmission — that is essentially everywhere in the country in public indoor settings,” she stressed.

Walensky’s comments come as several states across the country have announced plans to end statewide school mask mandates by the end of February or March.

As The New American reported today, Democrat governors in four deep blue states of Oregon, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut all announced earlier this week that they were rolling back their indoor masking requirements, including for schools. Read Full Article >

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