Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-Wash.), a GOP leader on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, called for an end to mask mandates for children on Thursday, noting the negative influence these mandates have on children’s mental health and social development.
McMorris Rogers’ statement comes after a coalition of 40 school district superintendents in eastern Washington signed a letter urging a “substantial relaxation” of mask mandates and other CCP virus measures.
“Today’s hearing is long overdue,” McMorris Rogers said during her opening statement. “COVID has taken a toll, especially on our children.
“Our kids are in crisis. A 2020 survey of 3,300 high schoolers found about one-third of them unhappy and depressed.
“From March 2020 to October 2020, mental health related emergency department visits increased 24 percent for children ages 5 to 11 and 31 percent for those ages 12 to 17, and we have seen about a two-and-a-half-fold increase in emergency department visits for suicides and self-harm among children under the age of 18,” McMorris Rogers noted.
These numbers, McMorris Rogers argued, are “not because of a virus that poses very little risk to children. The reason—and I want to be very clear about this—is the government’s response to COVID.”
“School closures, forced masking, lockdowns, and isolation all have driven this mental health crisis. More than 40 public school superintendents from across Eastern Washington are calling for an end to mask mandates on children,” McMorris Rogers continued. “I’m appealing to both Governor Inslee and the CDC to listen to them. Trust the parents, the children, and our schools who are saying ‘stop the madness.’”
In addition, McMorris Rogers called for an end to so-called “virtual learning,” which has children learn from home rather than in the classroom with their teachers and peers.
“We must retire this notion of ‘virtual learning,’” she argued “They’re not learning. If a school goes ‘virtual,’ it is closed. Kids need to be in school to learn, to socialize, to develop emotionally.
“Children shouldn’t be treated like vectors of disease. Forced masking—which undermines the benefits of being in the classroom—cannot be a condition for in-person learning anymore.”
The notion of requiring children to wear a mask is also one that has been almost entirely isolated to the United States.
The European CDC does not recommend the practice. The World Health Organization and UNICEF also advise against the practice for children under five years old, citing the “safety and overall interest of the child.” For kids aged 6-11, these two organizations also advise the considerations of factors beyond simply preventing the spread of the disease, including the socialization of the child and his or her ability to learn.
McMorris Rogers contended that the difference is that the U.S. CDC is “narrowly focused on just COVID—a virus that poses a lower risk to unvaccinated children than some fully vaccinated adults.
“Yet CDC continues to rely on discredited studies to force [its] masking agenda on kids.”
“We must unmask our children. There’s no excuse for why they are always last for restrictions to be lifted on them,” McMorris Rogers concluded. “It’s best for them, it’s best for their mental health, it’s best for our future.”
Many public school kids and parents have agreed with McMorris Rogers that the mandates need to end, which would instead leave mask wearing to the individual discretion.
Videos have gone viral on the internet showing teenagers across the U.S. leaving their schools by the dozens after being given a choice between wearing a mask or going home. At school board meetings, scores of parents attend to demand an end to all CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus measures, citing the harm that these measures inflict on children.
Mask mandates requiring young children to wear masks have been especially controversial. Since human beings rely on facial cues to socialize properly, critics of the mandates say they are having a dangerous effect on children’s social and mental development.
Data from the CDC also shows that children are not in much danger from the virus: Generally, mortality rates from the CCP virus plummet the further one goes down the age bracket. For children, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, the risk of death is extremely low for children with no preexisting conditions.
According to provisional death counts by the CDC, people who are 65 and older have made up 74.4 percent of all CCP virus deaths in the U.S. since the pandemic began; those between 45 and 64 account for another 21.1 percent of deaths. By contrast, people 45 and below account for only 4.2 percent of recorded deaths.
Additional data from the CDC shows that a total 822 people from zero to 17 years old have died from the disease since the pandemic started, while a total of around 914,000 people have died overall, further indicating the significantly lower risk for most children.
Across the nation, Democrat governors have grudgingly begun to lift vaccine and mask mandates, but many remain in effect. In the House, some Democrats have indicated that they are willing to follow suit in the near future to lift the mandates.