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The Atlantic: The Downsides of Masking Young Students Are Real

Elmo maskThoughtful piece from The Atlantic. Are masks required in your kids' schools? If so, to what degree?


The Downsides of Masking Young Students Are Real

The educational cost of face coverings is far better established than the benefits of mandates.

By Vinay Prasad About the author: Vinay Prasad, a hematologist and oncologist, is an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at UC San Francisco.

Scientists have an obligation to strive for honesty. And on the question of whether kids should wear masks in schools—particularly preschools and elementary schools—here is what I conclude: The potential educational harms of mandatory-masking policies are much more firmly established, at least at this point, than their possible benefits in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in schools. To justify continued masking of schoolkids—with no end date in sight—we have to prove that masks benefit kids, and at what ages. States and communities that are considering masking policies just to be safe should recognize that being overly cautious has a cost, while the benefits are uncertain.

For most able-bodied adults, masks in public indoor settings pose only minor inconveniences. But children—who even amid the worrisome Delta-variant surge are experiencing serious outcomes from COVID-19 at far lower rates than people in older age groups are—have different needs and vulnerabilities than adults. Early childhood is a crucial period when humans develop cultural, language, and social skills, including the ability to detect emotion on other people’s faces. Social interactions with friends, parents, and caregivers are integral to fostering children’s growth and well-being.

Cloth masks do filter some aerosols, albeit not the majority, so they might catch some exhaled viral particles. Newly released results from a large trial in rural Bangladesh found that the widespread use of surgical masks by adults yields a significant reduction in the spread of symptomatic COVID-19. (The effect of cloth masks was more ambiguous, and the study did not include children.) But the issue facing educators and parents is whether a policy of mandatory masking makes school safer than a policy of optional masking—and whether the difference is enough to justify the imposition on kids.   Read more at The Atlantic.


Laura Hayes


You wrote that Prasad values evidence, proof, and RCTs. If that were true, there is no way he could state with any level of integrity, about any vaccine, including the new injections which are being called vaccines, that “the evidence that supports vaccines is indisputable.” The second he makes such statements, he loses his credibility. And as a doctor who is writing about “downsides” to children, in a country whose children are chronically ill, developmentally delayed, mentally unwell, obese, and physically unfit, in numbers and at rates never seen before, it is both unacceptable and unethical of him to condone and promote vaccine propaganda. This is especially so as vaccines are likely Public Enemy Number One harming and destroying our children, with our nation’s “food” supply coming in not far behind.

In 2018, I gave a presentation titled “Why Is This Legal?”, which can be watched/read here:

This is but one of many resources doctors and nurses could access to educate themselves, as their patients are living proof that what we are doing in the name of “public health” is failing miserably.


I do see your point about Prasad, but it is a "big whoop" for human beings to be forced to mask, adults and children.

And this is a lacking common sense statement in the article:
"Despite the claims of some critics, kids who wear a face covering are unlikely to suffer any meaningful problems exhaling carbon dioxide or inhaling oxygen."


Nurses Speak Out at Minnesota Town Hall Meeting on COVID-19 Vaccine Injuries and Lack of Reporting to VAERS (They also cover masking)

Video is about an hour, but worth your time. These nurses are true heroes. They speak truth.


With all due respect to those who have pointed out Prasad's assertion that these vaccines are a good idea, I urge you to read his other writings at MedPageToday, STATnews, and elsewhere. He is a thoughtful person who has, over and over again, stood up for honest discourse rather than manipulative propaganda.

He's a doctor. Of course he has been trained to believe in the magic of vaccines. However, he doesn't endorse mandates. His view is that the benefits outweigh the risks, for most people, but he doesn't think governments should force these products on anyone.

And his comment on masks being "an inconvenience" for adults sounds worse out of context than it is. His point was that adults who make policy shouldn't extend their own "no big whoop" attitude toward masks to children, for whom masks are very much a big deal.

I'm not saying that I would agree with everything Prasad thinks. I am saying that he is not the enemy. There are many, many, many legal pharmaceutical products that I think all of humanity would, on balance, be better off without. I would be content, though, to have people be truly free to choose, with no mandates for work, school, or any other aspect of free society, and to have a ban on DTC advertising and doctor detailing.

We homeschool, but our district just voted 3-2 to force masks on all the kids. In my old state, the governor (technically, his health secretary) did a cram-down and forced masks on all kids in all districts, even the hundreds of districts where duly elected school boards had voted against them.

There is a posture toward the world that gives a lot of credence to the idea of "public health." Although I don't take that posture, myself, I am always grateful to find someone like Prasad, who does take that posture, but respects individuals' choices; places the doctor-patient relationship above diktat; and values evidence, proof, and RCTs.

For years, we had a family physician whose personal recommendation was DTaP and HiB shots for infants, and MMR for teens. He thought there was no point in getting polio shots unless you were traveling to a country like India. We didn't follow his recommendation, and he respected our choice. We stayed with him until he left for a research position. We didn't need a doctor who believed vaccines caused tremendous harm to many people. We just needed one who didn't worship at their altar.

I might feel differently if our child had been born in 1990, before the internet and before Jenny McCarthy, and we had been led astray by a doctor. However, today, it is possible for diligent parents to find out the truth. If there were no mandates for school, there would be a less coercive environment, and parents could choose no shots at all, take their time, or get only the shots they received themselves.

And for *The Atlantic* to have even a tiny "come to Jesus" moment on any of these crazy child-maltreatment mandates is, to me, amazing.


It should be up to each child's parents with no coercion or Sesame Street propaganda from teachers! To cover up a child's breathing apparatus for hours on end is criminal and causes oxygen deprivation and bacteria and viral accumulation on the mask and the children are breathing too much CO2! A financial advice couple I watch on You Tube described how their young adult son works in a customer service type job and wears a mask. One day, he passed out and the paramedics said he suffocated himself with the cloth-plastic-cloth mask. They said they were getting a lot of these types of calls. The mom said her youngest son would NOT wear a mask when he went back to school!


Laura Hayes, as usual you are right on target. The author was allowed to challenge one sacred cow (masks) while subtly promoting an even more devastating one (shots). Typical mainstream media trick of misdirection: Nothing to see here. Look over there.

One has to read the entire article, of course, to see it. Never settle for just a headline.


Wow, Laura. What a piece of work that Juliette Kayyem is! Pure evil. The trouble is that there are many more just like her. This really is a David and Goliath battle and we have to keep fighting.


"For most able-bodied adults, masks in public indoor settings pose only minor inconveniences"

So let's demand those for whom it is a serious problem to wear them?
So let's infantalize adults decision making, and codify it?

seems some thought processes have been thoroughly numbed by petty journalism and self serving bureaucratic propagandizing.

Michael S.

Laura - Thanks for always being alert and catching these things for us. I remember the effects of propaganda from the Disneyland Measles "Scare" on a car forum six and a half years ago. It was frightening to see mature adults acting like scared children and buying into all the nonsense, then turning their rage on persons who I describe as "vaccine safety advocates." It was like 1930s Germany on that forum, and I told them so. I knew where it was going and got involved to educate myself better and hopefully educate others. Well, despite my efforts, it seems the dark ages are upon us now. I can only hope that the first responders will stage a mass walk out demanding that the mandates be halted.

Laura Hayes

I was surprised to see an article with such a title in the propaganda-ridden Atlantic, so I decided to read the article in full to find out why they ran it…knowing I would hit upon the jackpot of propaganda at some point. And there it was, 3rd paragraph from the end:

“In the absence of systematic research on the costs and benefits of mask requirements for kids, the issue has been transformed into a right-left political battle. In addition to masking 2-year-olds, the CDC recommends the vaccination of people ages 12 and older. Because both recommendations come from a respected federal agency, supporters of both are likely to say they are “following the science.” But the evidence that supports vaccination is indisputable, in the form of multiple randomized studies, whereas the evidence to support school mask mandates for young kids is fragmentary at best. The problem with overselling unproven recommendations is that it risks turning people away from well-grounded ones.”

Bingo! Ramp up the vaccinations, since the evidence that supports them is “indisputable”, and make the masks optional, at least until the evidence that supports them is “indisputable”, too….which won’t be far behind.

Here is another very recent article from The Atlantic, which exposes their true colors and true agenda:

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