People don’t have serious attention spans anymore. So one crisis is usually sufficient to keep them in a state of knee knocking terror. As Ukraine takes center stage, masking exits, stage far left. Dr. Nicole Saphier explains the medical aspect of the change of course by the administration.
The CDC masking guidance is shifting from number of cases to considering hospitalizations – a change that should have been made over a year ago.
Instantly, their recommendation went from 95% of the country should wear masks to 70% should not.
— Nicole Saphier, MD (@NBSaphierMD) February 26, 2022
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Saphier: For the first time in two years, children are walking back into classrooms mask-free. For too long, policymakers and public perception have associated success with the absence of COVID.
But COVID is still present, so what is driving this sudden change of policy Children have suffered a great deal from the pandemic lockdowns and have not been made a priority to regain normalcy as information evolved.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic many restrictions, such as mask-wearing in schools, were quickly enforced through desperation to slow the transmission despite negligible data proving benefit. But there were a lot of unknowns during this time so an all-hands-on deck effort could be justified.
However, by summer 2021 enough data emerged demonstrating cloth masks predominately had no perceptible benefit, and the low risk of severe COVID in children became apparent. Yet, no updates were made by the CDC regarding mask-wearing in schools. In fact, despite vaccines being readily available for everyone five years and older, it doubled down on its school masking recommendations as the less severe Omicron variant became dominant.
Schools are not documented places of high-risk exposure for kids yet too many have been kept home through remote learning because of closures, having close contact exposure, and various other reasons. When in-person, they still have been distanced from others with faces remained covered, and they were discouraged from physically interacting with one another. This has remained despite data from as early as November 2020 from the CDC, UK, and other countries showing low risk of in-school transmission. While the U.S. is the only country to recommend children two years and older wear masks, other countries with less stringent mask recommendations began removing school mask requirements more than eight months ago without a sharp uptick in hospitalizations as a result.
The CDC’s latest estimate through January 2022 show nearly 60 percent of kids have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2. Given the high level of transmissibility with Omicron, this number is much higher as we enter March 2022. Through vaccine and natural immunity, upward of 90 percent of kids likely have some level of immunity at this point. While vaccine and natural immunity have proven less capable of preventing future infections, their ability to lessen severe illness remain intact – similar to the flu shot…
Policies are finally changing because the CDC and the Biden administration are being called out for becoming an anti-science machine pushing forth outdated policy with little, if any, clinically significant benefit. The only thing Americans should hear from President Biden right now is “I’m sorry.”