It’s odd to me how conservatives are lining up behind a no-mask position. I certainly appreciate why some people would find it troubling for the government to mandate covering one’s face. For me, it’s uncomfortably close to the sexist policies in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim theocracies. However, all indications point to masks being very effective, and it seems like a small imposition. I feel like some states have gone too far – Pennsylvania mandates that 2-year-olds wear masks, indoors and out. In my opinion, that’s over-the-top. Others I think have not gone far enough – Texas only requires masks indoors if you’ll be within 6 feet of others. I actually think Washington has found the Goldilocks policy for masks. They’re required in all indoor public spaces but outdoors only if you’ll be within six feet of others. They’re required for ages six and up and recommended for ages four and up. My own impression is that many, but not all, four and five year olds can wear masks. I have seen younger children wearing masks, and the vast majority seem to be chewing on them or have them around their chins, and it’s just silly. For me, the biggest issue is school closures by far.
(I found the tale of the hair stylists with hundreds of clients who didn’t transmit Covid encouraging. However, it’s such a small sample size (two stylists) that it’s a data point, not a trend. I would really like to get my hair done, but it seems like such a needless risk that I’ve been holding off.)
H just got back from NYC. While there, he interacted with hoards of people, including lots in the hospital. He was on two crowded flights and took multiple taxi rides. He stayed in an apartment with his sister recently arrived from Houston, which is obviously a hot spot. While I think it’s unlikely his sister had Covid before leaving Houston (though she does have an 18 year old son who probably doesn’t follow the rules), I’m guessing there was at least one Covid positive on her flight. So, he decided to get tested upon his return. To get an *evaluation* of whether a test would make sense would cost $100. He decided not to get a test after all. (If he shows symptoms, he’ll get a test, but by then, he’ll have spread it to all of us, not to mention anyone else he interacts with.) Positive tests are around 4% here in King County. Target is 2% and 1% would be better. Why is it still so hard to get a test?
Don’t get me started on the ridiculousness of all the teachers’ unions refusing to go back to work and claiming they’re worried about the health of the children. The data strongly suggest children between 5 and 14 are at no greater risk from Covid than from the flu, and probably significantly less. The risk to teachers and effect on community spread of opening schools are very legitimate concerns, but it’s such BS for teachers to claim they’re concerned about the health of the children. Please. There have been in the US so far 14 deaths from Covid for 5 to 14 year olds, as compared to 211 deaths from the flu last year and 528 deaths from the flu the year before. Of course the exposure level is not the same, but still. Link to CDC.
Also, people are saying that children won’t go back to school because bars and gyms opened in places like Texas and Georgia. Um, no. Seattle public schools are currently planning on kids being back in school one or maybe two days per week. The teachers’ union is refusing to even support this extremely cautious and conservative plan, so it’s extremely in doubt whether kids will get to go to school at all. And yet, bars are closed. Gyms are closed. Restaurants are at extremely limited capacity. Non-essential travel (ie vacations) is banned. Daycares are closed to non-essential workers. Nannies and babysitters are not allowed to non-essential workers. Playgrounds are closed. Pools are closed. Essential workers are required to work from home if possible. We are having one to two deaths a day from Covid – about the same as a mild flu year. And yet – still public schools will be open to most kids one day a week.
This is not college, or even high school. Elementary school and middle school kids need to be in school. Disadvantaged kids and parents will pay for this for a generation.
(For what it’s worth, I think bars and nightclubs should be closed. But in places that have been quite conservative with reopening, it doesn’t seem to have made any difference. Schools are closed anyway. Teachers are apparently trending the hashtag #nocases14days or some such nonsense. Heck, who wouldn’t want an indefinite paid vacation? )