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“Universal masking” for school children recommended

Seems like a sensible idea, especially given that children under the age of 12 can’t get the vaccine yet.

The American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday recommended that all children over the age of 2 wear masks when returning to school this year, regardless of vaccination status.

The AAP, which said its important for children to return to in-person learning this year, recommends that school staff also wear masks. The AAP is calling the new guidance a “layered approach.”

“We need to prioritize getting children back into schools alongside their friends and their teachers — and we all play a role in making sure it happens safely,” said Sonja O’Leary, chair of the AAP Council on School Health. “Combining layers of protection that include vaccinations, masking and clean hands hygiene will make in-person learning safe and possible for everyone.”

The AAP said universal masking is necessary because much of the student population is not vaccinated, and it’s hard for schools to determine who is as new variants emerge that might spread more easily among children.

Children 12 and over are eligible for Covid-19 vaccinations in the U.S. And the FDA said last week that emergency authorization for vaccines for children under 12 could come in early to midwinter.

[…]

Universal masking will also protect students and staff from other respiratory illnesses that could keep kids out of school, the AAP said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended this month that vaccinated students do not have to wear masks in classrooms.

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said on MSNBC that the CDC may have been trying to be a little more lenient, allowing people to make judgment calls “depending on the circumstances in your school and your community.”

But he said he understands where the AAP is coming from.

“They will not be popular amongst parents and kids who are sick of masks, but you know what? The virus doesn’t care that we’re sick of masks,” Collins said. “The virus is having another version of its wonderful party for itself. And to the degree that we can squash that by doing something that maybe is a little uncomfortable, a little inconvenient … if it looks like it’s going to help, put the mask back on for a while.”

That was from last week. Yesterday, the CDC caught up.

To prevent further spread of the Delta variant, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidance on Tuesday to recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors when in areas with “substantial” and “high” transmission of Covid-19, which includes nearly two-thirds of all US counties.

“In recent days I have seen new scientific data from recent outbreak investigations showing that the Delta variant behaves uniquely differently from past strains of the virus that cause Covid-19,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told a media briefing on Tuesday.

“This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations,” she said. “This is not a decision that we or CDC has made lightly.”

[…]

Earlier this month, the CDC’s Covid-19 school guidance noted that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks, and then about a week later the American Academy of Pediatrics issued stricter guidance recommending that everyone older than 2 wear a mask in schools, regardless of vaccination their status.

Now the updated CDC guidance recommends everyone in schools wear masks.

“CDC recommends that everyone in K through 12 schools wear a mask indoors, including teachers, staff, students and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time, in-person learning in the fall with proper prevention strategies in place,” Walensky said. “Finally, CDC recommends community leaders encourage vaccination and universal masking to prevent further outbreaks in areas of substantial and high transmission. With the Delta variant, vaccinating more Americans now is more urgent than ever.”

The updated CDC guidance makes “excellent sense,” Dr. David Weber, professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill and board member of the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology, told CNN on Tuesday.

“Breakthrough disease clearly occurs, and for those cases, we know they’re much more mild in vaccinated people, but we don’t know how infectious vaccinated people are,” he said. “But clearly, if you want to protect your children under 12 or grandchildren, or protect immunocompromised people, as well as protect your own health — from even mild disease — then you should be wearing a mask, particularly in areas of high transmission when indoors.”

My kids have been vaccinated, but they’re still regular mask-wearers, especially the younger one. I fully expect them to continue to do so in school, at least for the fall. I’ve been wearing a mask again for indoor spaces as well. I will admit it’s kind of annoying, as we have been vaccinated for months now and have been pretty damn careful all along, but it is what it is. That said, I have a lot of sympathy for this position:

Some of that is happening in other states, but who knows, maybe we’ll get it for federal buildings and air travel, too. And who knows, maybe this will work.

As leaders in other parts of the country require government employees to get COVID-19 vaccinations, San Antonio and Bexar County are considering following suit, the Express-News reports.

Such a step would come as vaccination rates plateau and the highly contagious delta variant leads to a rise in infections, hospitalizations and deaths in Texas. California and New York City this week said they will make employees get the vaccine or submit to weekly coronavirus tests. Veterans Affairs became the first federal agency to mandate COVID vaccinations for frontline staff.

“We are supportive of the efforts of New York and California,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and County Judge Nelson Wolff said in a joint statement supplied to Express-News. “We will be reviewing the legalities and practicalities of requiring a COVID-19 vaccine and/or weekly testing in conformity with CDC guidelines in order to protect the health and well-being of city/county workforce.”

A city and county vaccine mandate would apply to roughly 18,000 workers, according to the daily, which reports that both Nirenberg and Wolff are unsure whether the requirement would be allowable under state law.

I think we can say with extreme confidence that the state would bring all its fight against such a move. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort, but it’s not a move to be made lightly. Be prepared to hire a bunch of expensive lawyers, and have a solid communication strategy in place, that would be my advice.

As for masks in schools, well…

What did you expect? Greg Abbott has already said there won’t be any mask mandate in schools, and it’s impossible to imagine him changing his mind. It’s all up to the parents and school staff. I would not feel safe having my not-yet-vaccinated kids in school without a full-mask situation, which by the way is what we did in this past spring semester. I don’t even know what the argument against is. Doesn’t much matter when the power is on that side. The Trib and Daily Kos have more.

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22 Comments

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    The first West Nile case was just reported in Texas. Keep your swatters on hand. There is no vaccine and no cure for West Nile.

    That Twitter from Amanda Marcotte should be labeled Disinformation. Dr. Robert Redfield, a doctor, said that masks work way better than vaccines. So let’s strike that Twitter from the record.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    One thing to consider is, the Biden regime is mass releasing infected illegal aliens into the interior of the US. In La Joya, Texas, the local police discovered that the BP had released a literal hotel full of infected illegals, who were then going out in the community to infect others.

    https://www.westernjournal.com/police-just-discovered-entire-hotel-rented-covid-positive-immigrants/

    All those infected illegal kids coming across? Many of them will be enrolled in HISD schools….with YOUR kids. If your area has old, run down apartments, guess where they’re going to land? Biden didn’t even insist that illegals be injected, he just turned them loose on communities across America.

    This should make an interesting campaign issue for Texas politicians going forward.

  3. C.L. says:

    #Whataboutism101

  4. Jason Hochman says:

    I would say that whataboutery applies to finger pointing, which is not what we have here. There is an abysmal failure of the new administration to keep Operation Stay Safe working. Biden is not keeping us safe.

    The border crisis is one problem that needs to be addressed, and a probable cause of the Deadly Fourth Delta Surge.

    This was supposed to be the summer of normal. When people could stop wearing masks, stop anti social distancing, and go on vacations, see family and friends, go on dates, go to concerts, sports, and church. But Biden failed to keep us safe. He came in to office the most popular president ever, with more votes than anyone ever, the wind in his sails, and he sunk. His town hall had about 40 people show up. Approval ratings dropping.

    We are getting disinformation from all angles. The CDC tells us one thing, then another. If you watch the video of Rand Paul questioning Fauci, you will see that Fauci is showing body language that indicates a prevaricator. His quivering hand is fiddling with a rubber band on the table. He keeps looking to his left, waiting for the Democrats who control him to somehow stop Sen. Paul.

    We must invoke the 25th Amendment before our country sinks like Biden’s approval rating.

  5. Manny says:

    That is all the racists/fascists have, whataboutism. They are traitors who seek to destroy America.

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    Manny,

    Have you ever questioned why the CDC, in all their wisdom, hasn’t recommended closing our southern border like Trump did, to keep the infected out? Isn’t their mission to keep Americans safe? How does letting illegals you KNOW are infected into the country, then just letting them go, free to roam and infect, jive with that mission? They want me, a healthy person, to pretend to be infected, and at the same time want actual infected to roam freely.

    https://twitter.com/MikeLoychik/status/1420220935999721473

    Once you figure out that they’re giving political advice, not medical advice, maybe you’ll start to question what you’re being told.

    I’m really interested in your thoughts on this seeming contradiction, Manny. See if you can take a stab at it. I’ll stipulate that all Trump supporters are racists and fascists, so that’s not an argument you have to make. Make your argument without that crutch. Go.

  7. Jason Hochman says:

    I’ve also wondered why the CDC told us that masks are better than vaccines, and now, it is saying the opposite, and it wonders why the people are getting the vaccines quickly enough. The CDC should be de-funded, and also USAID, and while you’re at it, I would de-fund PCORI and let AHRQ do the job that it was designed to do. The ACA should be repealed and replaced.

    I disagree with the Trump policies on using lead ammunition in national forests, and the rest of his environmental stuff. also his Cuba sanctions. But you have to give him credit for the things he did right. And now, with Biden, I am suffering a pay cut, due to his runaway inflation and my paycheck is not running anywhere other than to the bills.

  8. Manny says:

    I guess that is why Florida, Arkansas, Alabama, and all the other border states like them are infected by mostly stupid racists/fascists that hate our country.

    Alabama
    Mississippi
    Iowa
    Virginia
    Louisana
    Alaska

    I guess they must be flying a la Harry Potter and skipping the border states.

    You are pathetic racists/fascists, America haters.

  9. voter_worker says:

    Jason, I take note of your reference to West Nile. I’m still in recovery after contracting it in 2014, and the experience determined how I viewed probabilities of poor outcomes when covid arrived on the scene.

  10. Jason Hochman says:

    voter: that is correct, a good comparison. West Nile can be very mild and even asymptomatic for most, but there are some cases that can develop meningitis or encephalitis, and become much more severe.

  11. voter_worker says:

    The meningitis and encephalitis almost did me in. I was in hospital from August 2 until October14. I don’t recommend it:)

  12. Jason Hochman says:

    Whataboutism? So you are sayin’ that some bad people should be punished, but that others should be ignored? The Democrats should be harshly imprisoned for staging a super spreadery. All wrongs should be righted. Not just the ones that the elite choose to select. What about that?

  13. policywonqueria says:

    DIFFERENT SORT’A DISPARATE IMPACT: DELTA DEATHS DUE TO LACK OF VACCINATION  

    Rightwingers are not going to listen to exhortations by well-meaning Democrats. Nor is the Governor going to pay heed to prominent voices from civil society, such as the Houston Chronicle editorial board.

    In a nutshell, Gov. Abbott reflexive-jerk policymaking goes like this:

    Step 1: Let’s see what Democrats are doing or proposing to do.
    Step 2: Let’s ban it.

    In view of futility, perhaps the Dems’ approach should shift to laissez faire; or laissez mourir, rather, to be more explicit, while continuing the outreach to those willing to listen.

    If Republican vax-resisters want to die from COVID-19, let them. It will cause Republicans to drop off the voter rolls, and benefit Democrats with less COVID-caused attrition.

    Right-in-line with the death-wish philosophy:

    Our policy-thwarting Governor just issued another Do-Not-Resuscitate-COVID-Containment order, thereby once more tying the hands of officials in state agencies and local governments, and prohibiting them from requiring vaccinations:  

    INVOKING EMERGENCY POWER TO SUPPRESS PANDEMIC SUPPRESSION MEASURES

    See GA-38 here: https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/press/EO-GA-38_continued_response_to_the_COVID-19_disaster_IMAGE_07-29-2021.pdf

    “I hereby suspend Sections 418.1015(h) and 418.108 of the Texas Government
    Code, Chapter 81, Subchapter E of the Texas Health and Safety Code, and any other relevant statutes, to the extent necessary to ensure that local officials do not impose restrictions in response to the COVID-19 disaster that are inconsistent with this executive order.”

    POLICIES TO CONTAIN COVID-19 NOW PUNISHABLE 

    For good measure, Abbott now also wants the likes of Judge Hidalgo and Mayor Adler to be fined if they proceed to do what they deem necessary to best counteract the latest surge.  

    “As stated above, business activities and legal proceedings are free to proceed without COVID-19-related limitations imposed by local governmental entities or officials. This paragraph number 3 supersedes any conflicting local order in response to the COVID-19 disaster, and all relevant laws are suspended to the extent necessary to preclude any such inconsistent local orders. Pursuant to the
    legislature’s command in Section 418.173 of the Texas Government Code and the State’s emergency management plan, the imposition of any conflicting or inconsistent limitation by a local governmental entity or official constitutes a “failure to comply with” this executive order that is subject to a fine up to $1,000.”

  14. Bill Daniels says:

    Wolf,

    “In view of futility, perhaps the Dems’ approach should shift to laissez faire; or laissez mourir, rather, to be more explicit, while continuing the outreach to those willing to listen.

    If Republican vax-resisters want to die from COVID-19, let them. It will cause Republicans to drop off the voter rolls, and benefit Democrats with less COVID-caused attrition. ”

    Thank you! That’s exactly what I have proposed over and over. You can’t save people who don’t want to be saved, right? Why is this such a difficult concept?

    Of course, we should be honest enough to talk about the inconvenient truth, that it’s not just Trump supporting R’s that are refusing the injections, it’s also black people and others in the D constituency. We need to use caution to not label the black refusers as stupid, or other derogatory name, though, because that would be totally racist.

    Hey Wolf, any thoughts on Biden letting in illegal alien infected? Manny seems unbothered by it, and feels that they won’t filter out to other states. Using Manny’s metric, then those tens or hundreds of thousands of illegals that Biden welcomes in will be right here in Texas. In our schools. In our hospitals. In our stores. In our communities. Spreading their disease. Thoughts? Is that congruent with this all out push to presumably protect Texans and Americans from the virus?

  15. Manny says:

    Bill stupid does not come in one color or in one party. But the white fascist/racist party does have many more of stupid on their roles.

  16. policywonqueria says:

    SOS & GRAVITY

    Re: “You can’t save people who don’t want to be saved, right? Why is this such a difficult concept?”

    We celebrate police as heroes when they grab distraught teens and adults about to jump off a bridge or a parking garage ledge.

    https://www.katymagazineonline.com/post/deputies-save-teen-from-jumping-off-parking-garage-katy-shopping-center-working-on-solutions

    Why is the value of human life such a difficulty concept to grasp (for some)?

  17. Bill Daniels says:

    A few thoughts on that.

    First, about police in general. I’m pretty sure All Cops Are Bastards, and that police departments need to be defunded, cops need to be replaced with social workers, because racist cops are killing black people with reckless abandon. They’re targeting blacks.

    But OK, let’s look at the forced saving of people who do not want to be saved. Why not start rounding up obese people and forcibly performing gastric bypass surgery on them? It would save LOTS of lives otherwise lost due to diabetes, heart attacks, and other weight related maladies, including, coincidentally enough, Wu flu fatalities. That would save many more lives that injecting Americans would. Why not save the most amount of people?

    Why not forcibly incarcerate opiate abusers and people who are suicidal, to keep them safe? Those are two groups with outsized death numbers, population wise. What is the value of their lives? What’s the value of fat people’s lives?

    Where, exactly do you want to draw the line at saving people who do not wish to be saved? I ask, because I bet if I looked hard enough, I could find some way to infringe on your rights, to protect you, that you might object to.

    The road to Hell, remember?

    Finally, no thoughts on the infected illegals being let in? Any sympathy for the people of La Joya that have infected illegals with no home to sequester in, walking freely around the community? Do the lives of the people of La Joya matter, Wolf?

    To help you in your decision making on worthiness, can I point out the demographics of La Joya?

    “in La Joya, 99.4% of people are of Hispanic or Latino origin.”

    https://www.areavibes.com/la+joya-tx/demographics/

  18. policywonqueria says:

    Much of policymaking and judging is about drawing lines, semantically speaking, and making decisions based both on normative values and efficacy and cost-effectiveness considerations. That includes the matter of saving human lives.

    In a nutshell: the more lives saved for the buck, the better. And the idea of striving for “the most good for the largest numbers” is a basic utilitarian principle.

    If you want to engage in a meaningful philosophical discourse — like utilitarianism, to invoke just one example — you would have to rise above race/alien-baiting and the scape-goating, which you should be perfectly able to do upon a conscious moral choice to aim high(er), to emerge from the sewers, and to raise above the gutter.

    Black & white and all-or-nothing thinking, false dichotomies, and slippery slopes, are all for simpletons. Alas, these facile substitutes for the deployment of high-level cognitive competence are instrumentalized by smart arses like Ted Cruz to manipulate the masses in the way of demagoguery.

    Other purported leaders and loudmouths are so deficient in the critical-faculties department that they believe their own BS, are unable to distinguish between facts and values, and regurgitate and re-masticate the BS served upon to them in a steady stream of dosages doled out by their favorite propagandists or false prophets.

  19. Bill Daniels says:

    Wolf,

    That’s a whole lot of words to totally avoid the subject of intentionally bringing a whole hotel full of infected people to a small Texas community. What difference does it make what color the infected are, Wolf? Since I’m the noted racist and fascist here, I should be particularly happy that infected are going to a virtually all Mexican town to infect and kill them. It’s weird that, in actuality, I am the only one here who seems to have a problem with all those unsuspecting Hispanic Texans having the infected imported there without their knowledge. When a fascist white supremacist cares more about a town full of brown people then liberals such as yourself do…..what is the world coming to?

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/police-department-says-border-patrol-dumping-coronavirus-positive-migrants-in-texas-town/ar-AAMFU1U

    So, to summarize:

    ~grave concerns about the ‘rona, the point of this thread

    ~desperately trying to stop the spread of the ‘rona, also the point of this thread

    ~importing ‘rona infected and dropping them off in a small, densely populated Texas town….without even bothering to warn the townspeople

    You want businesses to shut down, people to get injected, people to wear face muzzles….you want some pretty serious things because of your fear of the Wu flu, but you absolutely will dance around the subject of intentionally releasing infected people on the streets of La Joya. And let’s not pretend that the infected are not also being brought to Houston. Let’s not pretend the infected won’t be signing their infected kids up for school in HISD…with your kid. With Kuff’s kid. With C.L.’s kid. Which was my original point, since the subject is Covid and schools.

    OK, I”m a racist, fascist, loudmouth and I’m deficient at critical thinking. Let’s just stipulate that and get it out of the way. Explain it like I’m 5 years old: How does sending those infected people to La Joya and, presumably, Houston, jibe with trying to stop the spread of the virus in Texas?

    Do La Joya lives matter? Do HISD students’ lives matter?

  20. C.L. says:

    Thx, Wonk.

    Louie Gohmert, prime example. For the life of me, I can’t figure how he got to where he is, nor how he’s managed to stay there. His pool of constituents (who continue to re-elect him) appear to be cut from the same cloth as those who voted in Majorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert.

  21. policywonqueria says:

    Bill:

    Based on your historical record of digitally conveyed utterances, you are quite capable of presenting a logically coherent argument — and spot & point out fallacies committed by others — which puts you into the smart-aleck category, albeit perhaps a few notches beneath Cancun-Cruz level.

    But you regularly stoop to purvey polemics and dispense hate speech, rather than engaging in good-faith intellectual exchange in a rational and dispassionate fashion. Which you would be perfectly capable of, based on historical instances, scarce as they may be.

    That said, if the carnival hat matches the cranium circumference, who are we at policywonqueria – an evolving underground thinktank with strategic pretensions — to tell you not to don it? Even with ill-conceived pride if such should fit your fancy. Why should we even bother?

    Regarding the La Jolla matter, if there is something to the story, perhaps some heads at the relevant level of the chain of command should roll, figuratively speaking. And mitigation/damage control be undertaken in the best way possible. Guiding principle here: Find a solution that is commensurate with the problem.

    Our tendency here at Wonque Centre is not not pass judgment, or even comment on merits, when not sufficiently familiar with facts, or not yet. Also, time and research resources are always scarce, so certain choices in line with mission priorities have to be made.

  22. C.L. says:

    Bang.