Meg Hansen: Virus mutation does not justify masking children

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Meg Hansen (MBBS, MA), the former executive director of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, a health policy think tank. She ran for state-level public office in 2020.

In early August, the Centers for Disease Control issued new guidelines requiring children above the age of 2 years to wear masks in public indoor settings such as schools. Gov. Phil Scott’s administration has mandated universal masking for all K-12 students during the first 10 days of the new academic year, after which it applies to the unvaccinated. Though a mandate cannot be enforced absent a state of emergency in Vermont, social and psychological pressures to ensure compliance abound. Parents can expect that their children will have to wear masks all day.

Meg Hansen

Meg Hansen, former executive director of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom

As children tolerate COVID-19 well, masks are not so much about protecting them as they are about preventing viral transmission to the adults in the school environment. This is an unscientific premise. Dr. Benjamin Lee and Dr. William Raszka (University of Vermont) surveyed worldwide studies (Australia, China, France, and Switzerland) to determine the extent of SARS-CoV-2 spread by children. They concluded that children are “not significant drivers of the pandemic.” Various research over the past year has confirmed this finding. For example, an Israeli study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (April 2021) showed that children aged 0–9 years do not play a substantial role in transmitting the virus.

Clinicians in Texas determined that children are significantly less likely to become infected or spread the virus because of differences in their lung physiology and immune function. The SARS-CoV-2 virus has a spike protein on its surface that acts like a key. It latches onto ACE2 receptors that are abundant in our lungs and other organs, and then unlocks the path to enter and infect our cells. Dr. Paul Marik (chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School) quantifies the viral load as “one billion viruses per milliliter” in the eight-to-10 days after onset of symptoms. Viral replication and shedding takes place during this phase, making COVID-19 highly contagious.

Children have fewer ACE receptors in their lungs, which limits viral entry and the overall viral load. They are thus immune and if infected, the disease rarely progresses beyond mild symptoms. In adults, COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths occur as a result of hyper-immune responses leading to extensive internal inflammation and blood clots. Marik describes it as a profound inflammatory disease. Children have a different immune system that prevents excessive inflammation and other abnormal immune reactions. Consequently, the fatality rate for children under the age of 17 is 0.04 percent.

The Delta variant has undergone mutations that allow it to bind better to the ACE2 receptors and thus replicate and spread faster. The reasons why children are resilient to the original virus should apply to the Delta variant as well. The figures support this expectation. California pediatrician Dr. Elisa Song notes that COVID-19 cases in children have been declining since mid-April and have been very low since June. There is no scientific basis to claim that children will become gravely ill from the Delta variant or transmit it to others.

Yet, public health leaders and politicians are citing the mutated virus as justification to mask children in the coming school year. In a recent VTDigger article, Lee abandoned his previous conclusion that “the child is not to blame” for transmitting the disease. He predicts that the Delta variant will spread “more easily within the school” and therefore, supports masking for all students. There has been no evidence of children infecting teachers. There is also no conclusive evidence that masks curtail COVID-19 spread. Notably, a large randomized controlled trial in Denmark (Annals of Internal Medicine, March 2021) demonstrated that surgical masks did not reduce the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate.

The harms, however, of extended mask wearing are manifold. Wearing face masks for prolonged periods decreases oxygen and increases carbon dioxide in the blood, which results in breathing difficulties, headaches, fatigue, and a decline in cognitive performance. As moist and unclean masks turn into bacterial reservoirs, cases of severe acne and skin rashes have been reported. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, “The Case Against Masks for Children,” Dr. Marty Makary (Johns Hopkins School of Medicine) and Dr. H. Cody Meissner (Tufts Children’s Hospital) write that obstructive masks could force children to breathe through their mouths. Chronic mouth breathing causes abnormal facial development. Further, they warn that masks hide facial expressions and visual cues without which children can develop “robotic and emotionless interactions, anxiety and depression.”

Developmental psychologist Kang Lee (University of Toronto) explains that masks hinder young children from acquiring skills for speech recognition, emotional recognition and social interaction. More young children are falling behind in language and social development, as masks do not allow for lip-reading and access to nonverbal signals for communication. Limited and disrupted interpersonal interactions have created oppressive stress to which children are responding with a host of emotional and mental health crises. In many instances, they are losing previously achieved developmental and behavioral milestones. These signs of regression include thumb sucking, toilet accidents, poor impulse control, temper tantrums, eating disorders and insomnia.

Children are untouched by the virus, but they are taking a beating from policies like universal masking that have been ostensibly enacted to confront it. Why must they endure abusive madness?

Images courtesy of Public domain and Meg Hansen

12 thoughts on “Meg Hansen: Virus mutation does not justify masking children

  1. The children shouldn’t have to endure the UNKNOWN consequence of breathing in co2 and bacteria all day long. That should be called Child Endangerment. The whole idea a mask that can only stop
    a 3 micron size object will stop a -1 micron object is dangerously stupid… If teachers want total immunity they should have a bubble at the front of the class rooms and have 12 foot of space for their illusions of catching the crud…

  2. Here is how the State is treating our elders currently locked in captivity with no means of informed consent – crimes against humanity….. copied from email received from administration of nursing home.

    “Good morning to our families and representatives of our Residents at Barre Gardens. We are extremely pleased to announce that our full round of all staff and all Resident covid testing yesterday has yielded all negative results! We have one final round of testing for all staff and all Residents to do this Monday, August 23rd per the Vermont Department of Health. If those results are negative, and nobody tests positive for the Covid-19 over the weekend, we predict the department of health will clear us from this outbreak! We know these past 3 weeks have been scary, long and stressful for our Residents and all of you. We are almost there! We will not let our guards down even once clear though as we want to keep our Residents safe! On Tuesday of next week we will let you know the results of the Monday testing and let you know when we can re-open. The exciting news is that as of today, all Residents who are not on quarantine from testing positive are permitted to leave their rooms and visit with one another again! This will make for some smiling faces I am sure! Tuesday we will also send out details of how visitation will look once we re-open. It will not look the same as it did before. We are almost done finalizing that process, please know we are working diligently on the safest plan to allow visits but keep our Residents safe. The Vermont Department of Health has warned all nursing homes and other long term care settings that the Delta Variant continues to cause concern and we need to be on high alert of covid risk. We will need to put some new restrictions in place to keep our facility safe until this spike of cases calms down. The vaccine is working, and PPE works, but there are still break-through cases. And many nursing homes in Vermont are seeing positive cases.
    As always, please feel free to call the facility with any questions or concerns!
    Thank you!
    Valerie Cote
    Barre Gardens for Nursing and Rehabilitation
    378 Prospect Street
    Barre, VT 05641

  3. the science is simple. the masks cannot filter anything smaller then 3 microns. the virus particles are all smaller then 1 micron. — And all the people on left are too stupid to figure that out. All for a virus with a 99.7% survival rate.

    • You are absolutely correct, Ed. But are the sheeple on the left aren’t really “stupid” per se? They are advancing their Marxist agenda through the propagating of misinformation that maintains a high level of fear which makes it easier to exercise control over the population. It’s straight out of the Marxist playbook. Maybe it’s it more “stupid” to continue to allow this degradation and destruction of our country to continue. A look at history will show that the Marxist/Communist regime accomplished revolution without firing a shot. We need to wake up!

      • Apologies for the poor syntax in the second sentence.
        No way to edit after submission 🙁

  4. See the vt digger article? Of course nobody can comment on that site.

    When are we going to start talking about remedies that work? Ivermectin. Aspirin, the steroid inhaler and antibiotic?

    Ventilators make serious money for hospitals, but don’t seem to have a succesful outcome.

    Vermont Press would never be biased, now would they? No, no no, that would NEVER happen!

  5. I wear a mask when business establishments ” require ” it, this is temporary but to mandate
    kids to wear a mask when the ” data ” shows they don’t, is pure BS.

    To have kids wear a mask in school all day is just wrong, the NEA and other clowns want kids
    inhaling their own carbon dioxide all day long for an agenda politics and these teachers are
    supposedly working for the kids…… more BS

    Parents raise their kid’s, teachers are to teach not indoctrinate ………stand up parents !!!

  6. We ask what is going on? As just viewed the cdc Vermont statistics which indicates ZERO deaths from covid19 the past 4 1/2 months!
    Then we are told to mask up again along with the children who are not as susceptible.
    The left-leaning Media keeps barking the sky is falling by constantly repeating the increase in
    the number of covid CASES without the death statistics, as they are very low with many recovering with a new understanding of treatments and medications which combat the virus.
    There are many more suicides in Vermont (Approximately 32 in four months) than covid deaths as they promulgate the sky is falling.
    The fear-mongering is overwhelming from these superiority complex idiots with advanced degrees.
    The psychological harm to people and especially children is bordering on criminal behavior in our opinion.
    Do these zealots think death is never supposed to happen? Nothing to fear but fear itself. (FDR)

  7. I just gave my letter of resignation to my place of work. I am a therapeutic riding instructor. The board voted to require mask mandates and I see this as a pathetic knee jerk reaction that does not take into account the unforeseen consequences of this COVID BS. These children are suffering behind those masks. I couldn’t stand it. It’s so wrong. We are telling our children to find fault in their highly sophisticated immune systems. Telling them they are vulnerable. It’s so wrong! My job is to empower these kids and none of this crap the MSM is putting out is for the future. My children are in their 20s so I can’t appeal to a school board. This is how I make my statement about the abuse these children are being subjected to. It makes me sad. And all that are imposing think they are benefitting the children. Makes me sick.

    • It makes a lot of us sick. It’s child abuse brought on by fearful adults who are to uninformed to make these decisions for parents. My children are also adults but if they were in school now, I would pull them out. The mask is useless and more of a health risk to kids than is man made flu from China. These adults should not be allowed to be near children because they refuse to do the research of just how unhealthy these masks are for children. If these people are all so afraid, they should stay home.

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