Tuesday, October 26, 2021

CDC Director Reaffirms Forcing Vaccinated Children to Remain Masked, Dodges Question on Vaccine Mandates

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) made numerous Sunday show appearances this week, where she dodged questions on vaccine mandates and when children can stop having to wear masks in school.

While on NBC's "Meet the Press," Dr. Walensky was asked by host Andrea Mitchell about masking at school once children have been vaccinated:


What is your advice to parents and to schools regarding lifting mask mandates in schools once children are vaccinated?


You know, our case numbers are coming down, and that is so encouraging. We still have 75,000 new cases a day of Covid, and we are still having death rates of about 1,200 to 1,500 deaths per day. As we roll out these vaccines for our children, and we are hopeful that we will be able to, it's also critically important that our kids are able to stay in school. We saw just a couple of weeks ago new science that demonstrated that schools that masked had three and a half times less likelihood of having outbreaks than schools that didn't. And so in my mind, the most important thing right now as we work to get our cases down, as we work to get our children vaccinated, is that we continue the masking to keep our kids in school.

Walensky and Mitchell had just been discussing how there will be an FDA advisory on Tuesday when it comes to vaccinating children ages 5-11 years old.

Such a non-answer is particularly troubling and disappointing because she had been given an opportunity to clarify her remarks from last Wednesday, but refused to take it. As Katie reported, Dr. Walenksy during a press briefing gave a disturbing directive that children will still need to wear masks at school.

"After we have authorization from FDA and recommendations from CDC, we will be working to scale up pediatric vaccination. That said, it will take some time. And as I just noted, as we head into these winter months, we know we cannot be complacent," the director said. "We are going to continue to recommend masks in all schools for all people in those schools, and we will look forward to scaling up pediatric vaccination during this period of time."

The following day, Katie also covered remarks from Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, who said the data that children need to be masked is "very weak," saying that it is so weak "is a fact."

Gov. Ron DeSantis' (R-FL) executive order against schools issuing mask mandates is tied up in the courts, though a judge is set to decide soon. Schools are considering easing their mask mandates as cases drop, which they have been doing significantly in Florida.

The governor had issued his executive order in late July after consulting with experts in the field.

Mitchell also asked Walensky "did you move too soon on that? Was that a mistake?" with regards to telling people last May that they are safe if they're not wearing a mask and have been vaccinated. The direct provided another non-answer:

You know, that was at a time of the Alpha variant when vaccinated people if they were a breakthrough infection could not transmit the Alpha variant to someone else. This is really an opportunity to understand that we have to be humble with the science and to move with the science. As we have learned with this Delta variant, it's a different variant, it's a more transmissible variant, and it behaves differently in the context of breakthrough infection. So at the time, that's what the science told us we could do. We are in a very different moment with a very different variant.

It's not just Dr. Lapado who is concerned with masking children. As Emily DeCiccio reported for CNBC, Dr. Joseph Allen, who is an associate professor at Harvard University, during a Friday appearance on "The News with Shepard Smith" urged an easing of mask mandates for children.

As DeCiccio wrote:

“We have to be careful that, if we don’t set firm deadlines, it’s easy to see how we can sleepwalk into indefinite masking,” said Allen during a Friday evening interview on CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith.” “With the approval of vaccines, expected very shortly, for 5 to 11-year-olds, it makes sense that we should no longer have mask mandates in schools.”

Allen also highlighted that while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set metrics for masking for adults, the agency has “inexplicably” failed to set metrics on when kids can take away masks.

The CDC did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Dr. Allen does believe the best way to protect children from the virus is by vaccinating them, as well as adults, and is in favor of vaccine mandates for teachers. "We should be mandating vaccines for all adults in schools," he said.

While on "Fox News Sunday," Dr. Walensky was asked by host Chris Wallace if she was "still full speed ahead on mandates for essential workers to get vaccinated." She refused to directly answer, though:

We have seen that these mandates are getting more and more people vaccinated. Here's what we know. The most disruptive thing that you can do to a workforce is to have a covert outbreak and not workforce. That was definitely not only send people home but send people to the hospital and some may pass. What we know from the police workforce is there have been more deaths from the coronavirus over the last year and a half than all other causes of death for that workforce combined. So we believe it is very important to get these people vaccinated. There is a plan, should these people not want to be vaccinated, towards education and counseling to get people the information they need so that they are feeling comfortable in getting vaccinated.

President Joe Biden last month signed an executive order mandating federal workers be vaccinated.


Here's Why You Should Resist Mask Mandates

Many Americans have been taught to believe that masks work—at least a little—and that wearing them comes at a minimal cost. Nearly the opposite is true.

The best scientific evidence invites a far less rosy assessment of masks’ effectiveness than is broadcast by public health officials. In its worldwide impact, the COVID-19 pandemic has been the worst in a century. As a threat to Americans’ health, however, it is closer to the 1968 Hong Kong flu or the 1957 Asian flu—neither of which noticeably altered Americans’ everyday lives—than to the 1918 Spanish flu.

In a head-to-head comparison, COVID-19 makes the Spanish flu look like the Black Death of medieval Europe. According to the best available figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and elsewhere, the typical American under the age of 40 in 1918 was more than 100 times as likely to die of the Spanish flu than the typical American under the age of 40 in 2020 was to die of COVID-19.

Whereas COVID-19 sadly shortened the lives of many older people already in poor health, the Spanish flu took people in the prime of life and left orphans in its wake.

The Spread of Public Health Officials

Americans’ reaction to COVID-19, however, has been radically different from their behavior in 1968, 1957, or even 1918. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, the Hoover Institution’s Niall Ferguson recalls that President Dwight Eisenhower asked Congress for $2.5 million in additional funding for the Public Health Service during the Asian flu. Overall, Congress has authorized about 2 million times that much for COVID-19.

In 1957, there were no widespread school closures, travel bans, or mask mandates. Ferguson quotes one person’s recollection of those days: “For those who grew up in the 1930s and 1940s, there was nothing unusual about finding yourself threatened by contagious disease. Mumps, measles, chickenpox, and German measles swept through entire schools and towns; I had all four…. We took the Asian flu in stride.”

One major difference between then and now is the increased role of public health officials. Long before their ascension, Socrates made clear in Plato’s Republic that he did not want doctors to rule. Philosophers or even poets would be better governors of society because they at least attempt to understand political and social life in its entirety and minister to the human soul.

Doctors, by contrast, tend to disregard the soul: it is the nature of their art to focus on the body in lieu of higher concerns. Moreover, Greek philosophers and poets alike celebrated courage in the face of death—Plato’s Socrates and Homer’s Achilles were undeterred from their noble missions by fear of the grave. But rule by public health officials, under which we increasingly live today, encourages excessive risk-aversion and almost transforms cowardice into a virtue.

Wear the Mask, Neanderthal

Surgical masks were designed to protect patients’ wounds from becoming infected by medical personnel, not to prevent the spread of viruses. When COVID-19 hit our shores, the CDC initially recommended that most Americans not wear masks.

On April 3, 2020, the CDC abruptly reversed this position. Surgeon General Jerome Adams explained that “new evidence” had revealed that “a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms” and “can transmit the virus to others before they show symptoms” (emphasis added).

As a rationale for wearing masks, this did not entirely make sense. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “potentially pre-symptomatic transmission…is a major driver of transmission for influenza.”

Yet the CDC does not (yet) recommend that seemingly healthy people wear masks during flu season. It seems likely that the CDC panicked in April and wanted to be seen as doing something. Plus, public health officials are naturally enthusiastic about public health interventions.

The day after the CDC endorsed nationwide mask-wearing, President Trump announced, “I won’t be doing it personally.” From that instant, the mask quickly became a symbol of civic virtue—a sort of Black Lives Matter flag that could be hung from one’s face. For many it conveyed a trio of virtues: I’m unselfish; I’m pro-science; I’m anti-Trump.

What it also conveyed, incidentally, was a rejection of longstanding Western norms, unhealthy risk-aversion, credulous willingness to embrace unsupported health claims and a pallid view of human interaction.

Masking the Science

The most reliable science on whether masks are effective in stopping the transmission of viruses comes from randomized control trials (RCTs), almost all of which were conducted before COVID-19 began.

Randomized control trials have found little to no evidence that masks work to prevent viral transmission—either from the wearer to others or vice versa. In fact, some significant evidence from RCTs indicates that masks increase transmission.

A 2020 study by Professor Henning Bundgaard and his team in Denmark is the only RCT that has tested the effectiveness of mask-wearing against COVID-19. It found that 1.8 percent of those participants in the group wearing masks, and 2.1percent of those in the unmasked control group, became infected with COVID-19 within a month. This difference was not statistically significant. The study must have had difficulty getting published since it appeared months after it was conducted.

In attempting to justify its mask guidance on its website, the CDC has relied almost entirely on observational studies while studiously disregarding RCTs.

Anyone who thinks the CDC is an impartial, politically neutral agency, dedicated solely to the pursuit of scientific truth, should perhaps consider the recent e-mail evidence that the teachers union and Joe Biden’s White House effectively rewrote sections of the agency’s return-to-school guidance.

Like so many unelected leaders, CDC officials consider themselves more accountable to “stakeholders” than to the American people. Legislatures have largely been AWOL during the coronavirus period, while public health officials and executive branch leaders have reveled in their newfound powers.


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)


1 comment:

Bob Smith said...

She's also dodging the entire question of vaccinating children in the first place. Their risk from covid is essentially nil, while their risk from vaccine side effects, some of which are frequently fatal in the long term like heart inflammation, is not.