New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unwittingly proved that the mask mandates were all about politics, especially when it came to schoolchildren. Although New York has been one of the most strident states to enforce lockdowns and mask mandates, the state has relented lately because of revised CDC guidelines, but also in no small part due to the governor being hobbled after a slew of sexual harassment allegations and further corroboration of the horrific nursing home scandal.
On Monday, the Times Union reported that New York state will no longer mandate masks be worn by children in a childcare and summer camp setting. But the reason is not that the science has changed — children have always been by far the least vulnerable to COVID-19. Cuomo has backed down because outraged parents promise political blowback and county officials have vowed not to enforce the mandates.
“New York will ‘encourage’ but not require children aged 2 and older to wear masks in child care settings such as summer camps following days of protests about the directive, including from county officials who pledged they would not enforce the mandate,” the Times Union reported.
“The state health department and the Office of Children and Family Services issued a joint statement late Monday saying they had agreed to ‘revise guidance allowing child care providers to continue the practices and protocols that have been in place since the start of the pandemic by encouraging, not requiring, children aged 2-5 to wear masks, effective immediately’,” the report continued.
Remarkably, the Times Union’s choice of commentary aligns with the criticism that astute observers of COVID-19 have said all along about the virus’s minimal effect on children. It is yet another reminder that the American people have been gaslighted by the U.S. media on COVID-19.
While the lifting of the child mask mandate in New York can be perceived as a ‘victory,’ it is really a travesty that it was ever implemented to begin with. Healthy children were never at significant risk from COVID-19; it is more risky for children to ride to school in buses than to get exposed to the virus, and the masks were never shown to be more than 1-2% effective at reducing case rates.
The Times Union cited many County Executive’s comments that align with what critics earlier in the year were shunned or ignored for saying. Now that the political environment has turned, so has the media narrative.
“Children have not been required to wear a mask during the first year of the pandemic, a move rooted and common sense and recognition of research showing children are less susceptible to COVID-19,” Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin said in a letter to Cuomo.
“It was too far-reaching. These kids are in activities and now they’re outside this time of year; it just didn’t make any sense,” Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr said. “A lot of parents were up in arms. … It was really more of an outrage on this one than anything else I’ve seen over the past 12 months.”
“This mandate was never based in science or simple common sense, especially at a time when (the governor) was signaling that mask-wearing will soon be a thing of the past for many adults,” said state Senate Republican Leader Robert Ortt. “It caused unnecessary frustration and confusion for providers and parents alike, and I’m glad to see it lifted.”
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.