Children should return to their normal lives without masks and regardless of their vaccination status.

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” — Nelson Mandela

In the New York Times, we see goalposts being moved once again:

Covid-19 cases are decreasing in the United States, and masks are no longer required everywhere. Still, the pandemic is not over — and won’t be until younger children can also be vaccinated, epidemiologists said in a new survey by The New York Times.

The true end of the pandemic — when it becomes safer to return to most activities without precautions — will arrive once at least 70 percent of Americans of all ages are vaccinated, they said. Adolescents just began receiving vaccines this week, and those for children younger than 12 are not yet approved.

“Children are key to ending the pandemic,” said David Celentano, the chair of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University and one of the 723 epidemiologists who participated in the survey this month.

CHILDREN? Since when have they ever been the focus of this pandemic? Oh, I get it — since yesterday.

Under 350 children died “from COVID” between the ages of 0–17 during the pandemic, lower than the estimated deaths among children in recent influenza seasons. Deaths in that age group from all other causes? 45,000!

Between 0.1 and 1.9 percent of covid-19 infections in children result in hospitalizations. That is incredibly low. I’d say that’s possibly an overestimate. Why? There have been recent studies suggesting approximately 40 percent of pediatric covid-19 admissions were misclassified.

Vaccinating adults indirectly protects children. Adult vaccination has lowered covid-19 incidence among children by 50 percent. Fewer than 0.01 percent of Americans are currently infected, and the chance of an asymptomatic person transmitting to a close contact is about 0.7 percent. That means a 0.00007 percent chance that any close contact will transmit the infection to a child. If the contact is outdoors, the risk appears to be more than 1,000 times lower.

Children should be returning to their everyday lives immediately. Mask mandates weren’t associated with student or teacher infection rates, and we should do away with face shields, plexiglass barriers, and deep cleaning, which The Science never supported. Open all playgrounds, stop restricting the use of athletic equipment, and stop with masking at recess. There was never scientific support for that.

Restrictions at recess discourages kids from participating in essential playtime and exercise. Furthermore, research has found minimal spread at schools where children do not wear masks outdoors, even in communities with high rates of transmission.

From City Journal:

The mask mandates are especially cruel to young children. Adults are supposed to ease their fears, to reassure them that monsters aren’t hiding under the bed. Instead, we’re frightening them into believing they’re being stalked by invisible menaces lurking in the air. A year of mask-wearing will scar some of them psychologically — and maybe physically, too, according to a team of Italian professors of plastic surgery, who warn that the prolonged pressure from the elastic straps could leave young children with permanently protruding ears. By hiding teachers’ lips and muffling their speech, mask-wearing makes it harder for young children to develop linguistic skills and prevents children with hearing impairments from lip reading. Unable to rely on facial cues, teachers and students of all ages are more likely to misinterpret one other, a particularly acute problem for children on the autism spectrum. How are children supposed to develop social skills when they can’t see one another’s faces, sit together, or play together?

Why the paranoia with masking for kids? Why the rush to get them vaccinated? Why do kids need to wear masks at all? They were never the focus of the pandemic — at least not until there were fewer willing recipients of these new vaccines. It seems like the last group targeted for vaccination are those who are the least likely to need one.

The logic of the idea that a fully vaccinated person needs to fear the unvaccinated is precisely what is going to keep children masked for years. School administrators have used their leverage over kids in the most odious ways throughout the pandemic. They will use the inability of children under 12 to be vaccinated to justify any and all restrictions that are in place now in many public schools.

Children are being held hostage. The overly cautious have turned into controllers and manipulators. They should be denounced. This is pernicious.

Now we live in a society where a 12 year old doesn’t need parental permission to take an experimental vaccine, but still needs permission to play a sport, go to the restroom during class, meet with friends and stay up late at home.

Something deeply wrong.

Clayton Craddock is a father, independent thinker, and the founder and publisher of the social and political commentary newsletter Think Things Through and host of the Think Things Through Podcast.

He’s an alumnus of Howard University and is the drummer for the Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times Of The Temptations.

Other musicals include: “Tick, tick…BOOM!, Altar Boyz, Memphis The Musical, and Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar and Grill. Also, Clayton has worked on: Footloose, Motown, The Color Purple, Rent, Little Shop of Horrors, Spongebob Squarepants, The Musical, Evita, Cats, and Avenue Q.

Follow him on Instagram, Twitter or read more on his website: claytoncraddock.com

Clayton Craddock is an independent thinker, father of two beautiful children in New York City. He is the drummer of the hit broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud.