Do Children Need Masks and Vaccines?

Do parents of small children need to make them wear masks? Do they need to get them vaccinated? These are important questions many parents face today.

To be sure, the government has been guilty of mixed messaging. Healthcare officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Rochelle Walensky have been all over the map with their advice and it certainly looks like their messaging has been influenced more by politics than science.

As of now, masks are still required for small children over the age of two on airlines, public transportation systems, airports, some schools, and even summer camps. In today’s Wall Street Journal, Ashley McGuire, mother and writer, complains about her nine-year-old daughter who was forced to wear a mask in 98-degree heat while playing tennis at a summer camp run by the prestigious Sidwell Friends School of Washington, D.C., formerly attended by President Obama’s children. Her daughter nearly passed out. This is insanity!

The latest CDC guidelines call for schools to be open in the fall, but still insist children who are not vaccinated wear masks. Since vaccines are not authorized for children under the age of 12 years, that means all younger children still must wear masks. Is this really necessary?

The risks for children getting Covid-19 are very low. New information tells us they are even lower than previously concluded. Denise Roland, writing in The Wall Street Journal, reports on the latest data. Some 99.995% of the 469,982 children in England who were infected during the year and were examined by researchers survived, one study found. Among the 61 child deaths linked to a positive Covid-19 test in England, 25 were actually caused by the illness, the study found. We don’t know if they had other co-morbidities.

This study is an important addition to the data used to make healthcare policy. “Having a larger and larger database . . . adds a lot to our ability to make important decisions,” said Rick Malley, an infectious disease specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

There is some risk with any vaccine. The current Covid-19 vaccines have shown remarkable efficacy and safety, but there are exceptions. There have been some reports of inflammatory conditions of the heart in some adolescents. This has caused some concern with parents of children of all ages. Advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have urged vaccination, saying the benefits outweigh the risks.

The Biden administration is currently advocating door-to-door promotion of the vaccines to get reluctant Americans to accept vaccination. It remains to be seen if they will do the same thing for children if vaccines are approved for them.

The real question at this point in the pandemic is “What role should the government be playing in the decision-making of adults and parents of children?” By now every adult who wants to get vaccinated has had ample opportunity to do so. Any continued hesitancy is a matter of personal choice, and in some cases, doctor’s advice. While I am a strong advocate for vaccination of those who are most vulnerable – especially the elderly and those with co-morbidities such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and obesity – I also believe everyone has the right to make their own decision.

Just as the CDC mentioned above, the decision to get vaccinated is a risk-benefits decision. For those whose risk is high, the benefits are great and they should get vaccinated. For those whose risk is low, like the young – especially very young, the benefits may be too little to justify the risks of the vaccines. The same is true for wearing masks. Small children wearing masks certainly does not make sense in any reasonable risk-benefits analysis. The harmful effects of reduced oxygen and increased carbon dioxide levels surely outweigh any benefits of wearing masks to prevent Covid-19 infection. It’s time to let people make their own decisions. It’s time to let science, not politics, influence those decisions.

Vaccines and the Delta Variant

 

Hospitalizations due to Covid-19 are rising and healthcare officials blame the Delta variant of the coronavirus for this recent surge. Should you be worried if you’re vaccinated?

Betsy McKay, writing in The Wall Street Journal, tells us the Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, is spreading at an increasing rate around the country, penetrating areas where people are susceptible because they haven’t been vaccinated. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director, says most of the people who are getting sick and needing hospitalization are not vaccinated.

Just under 2,000 new patients were admitted to hospitals each day over the week ending Monday, July 5th. This is a 6.8% increase over admissions during the previous week and an 88% decrease over a seven-day average of 16,492 patients admitted daily in early January, according to the CDC.

Two pictures of the pandemic are emerging across the country, said Dr. Walensky: One where vaccination rates are high, and new cases, hospitalizations and deaths are declining; and another where most people aren’t vaccinated, new cases are rising once again and hospitals are starting to fill up. Concern is rising for those who are unvaccinated.

The Delta variant is considered highly contagious and therefore more easily spread. This variant has become the dominant strain of Covid-19 in the U.S. today, making up at least 51.7% of new infections, according to the CDC.

The data show that the Covid-19 vaccines are effective against the Delta variant in most cases. A recent study published in the journal Nature, suggests that it takes both doses of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines to create sufficient protection. One shot barely protects against the Delta variant the study concludes. Natural immunity was less protective against Delta than against the Alpha variant, which was previously the dominant U.S. strain. The study did not evaluate the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The take-home message should be clear. If you’re fully vaccinated, the Delta variant represents little or no risk to you. If you’ve had only one shot, you probably should get the second shot. If you have natural immunity but have never been vaccinated, you should consider getting at least one shot to bolster your immunity. Studies suggest the second shot for those with natural immunity is unnecessary.

But if you’re never been vaccinated and never contracted the viral infection, you’re most vulnerable to this new Delta variant. Perhaps it is time for you to get vaccinated. Discuss this with your doctor and then make an informed choice.

Free Speech in America

 

I have something in common with President Trump. No, it’s not that we both love golf – we’ve both been censored. This week the former president filed a lawsuit against Big Tech for their unlawful censorship of him and other Americans. Perhaps I should join his class-action lawsuit.

Last year during the height of the Covid pandemic, I wrote a new book called Changing Healthcare. It is a compilation of over 150 of my blog posts over the last six years. One of the chapters covered the Covid pandemic and that’s when the trouble started. When I submitted my manuscript to my publisher, KDP – Kindle Direct Publishers – owned by Amazon, they refused to publish the book until that chapter was eliminated. They explained that they were not publishing any “unofficial sources of coronavirus information.” In other words, they refused to consider sharing Covid information that had not been blessed by the government.

This is a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment which protects free speech. Naturally, I don’t have the same resources to sue Big Tech as Donald Trump, so I’m pleased to see he is taking on this fight on behalf of himself and others, like me, whose free speech rights have been violated. Free speech is what separates our country from repressive regimes like China, Russia, and Iran. Free speech is what freedom is all about.

Trump writes in The Wall Street Journal, No longer are Big Tech giants simply removing specific threats of violence. They are manipulating and controlling the political debate itself. Consider content that was censored in the past year. Big Tech companies banned users from their platforms for publishing evidence that showed the coronavirus emerged from a Chinese lab, which even the corporate media now admits may be true. In the middle of a pandemic, Big Tech censored physicians from discussing potential treatments such as hydroxychloroquine, which studies have now shown does work to relieve symptoms of Covid-19. In the weeks before a presidential election, the platforms banned the New York Post – America’s oldest newspaper – for publishing a story critical of Joe Biden’s family, a story the Biden campaign did not even dispute.” 

There are other examples, too. Jennifer Horton, a Michigan schoolteacher, was banned from Facebook for sharing an article questioning whether mandatory masks for young children are healthy. (Scientific studies say they are not.) Later, when her brother went missing, she was unable to use Facebook to get the word out. Colorado physician Kelly Victory was deplatformed by YouTube after she made a video for her church explaining how to hold services safely. Kiyan Michael of Florida and her husband, Bobby, lost their 21-year-old son in a fatal collision caused by a twice-deported illegal alien. Facebook censored them after they posted on border security and immigration enforcement.

Yet the same platforms approve Chinese propaganda and allow the Iranian dictator to spew threats and hateful lies with impunity.

In response, Trump has filed class-action lawsuits to force Big Tech to stop censoring the American people. The suits seek damages to deter such behavior in the future and injunctions restoring his accounts.

Unfortunately, the Biden administration does not oppose this censorship. Trump says, “Further, Big Tech and government agencies are actively coordinating to remove content from the platforms according to the guidance of agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Big Tech and traditional media entities formed the Trusted News Initiative, which essentially takes instructions from the CDC about what information they need to “combat.” The tech companies are doing the government’s bidding, colluding to censor unapproved ideas.”

Since we have already lost faith in the credibility of the CDC (CDC Credibility Gone), we cannot trust the information they are disseminating with the aid of Big Tech. Protecting our free speech is the only thing separating us from the authoritarian regimes of our enemies. Our only real hope is in the Supreme Court, the last defense against tyranny.