Video: The Toddler who doesn’t want to be masked

This is from the United States, not Ireland, it should be noted. Though, of course, there are a small but loud minority of Zero Covid activists who want to make scenes like this mandatory in Ireland as well:

“Child abuse”, many heartfelt people on social media declared. And, true, it is unpleasant viewing. Though, it should be noted in fairness, you won’t have a hard time finding videos of toddlers reacting like that to being asked to put on their shoes. Or hats. Or coats. Or eat their peas. Toddlers are not famously co-operative, and not every incident of a toddler objecting to something is child abuse by default.

This, though, probably does qualify. After all, the child is being compelled to wear a mask, which he does not want to, for no discernable benefit to him. That’s not true of coats or shoes or eating peas. In this case, the child’s mask is not to protect him. It is to protect adults from him, in case he infects them with Covid.

This is absurd and wrong. For one thing, adults have had the opportunity and chance to get vaccinated and have made an informed (or misinformed, but that’s their own fault) decision about the risks they want to take. For another thing, there is a raft of evidence that masking at that age is actively harmful, because of the role facial expression plays in the development of a child’s personality and social skills. We’re depriving a generation of children of the chance to see each other’s faces, and the faces of their teachers. Only a fool would think that such an unprecedented experiment will be consequence free.

What’s more, the idea that children should be masked to protect adults is an almost perfect inversion of the historic role that adults have: For thousands of years, we have expected adults to take risks and suffer discomfort to protect children. In this case, we are expecting children to take risks and suffer discomfort to protect adults. That’s perverse, and it is remarkable how many people are embracing it.

A section of the population, on both sides of the Atlantic, have been so terrified by Covid 19 that they have lost all sense of perspective. This is a disease that almost everybody survives, and for which there is now a working vaccine, as well as strong emergent therapeutic treatments (like the monoclonal antibody cocktail working so well in the US). For the vast, overwhelming majority of people, contracting Covid 19 will be no worse than a bad cold or flu. Yet, there is still a majority constituency for mandatory masking, and some restrictions on normal life. If, as seems likely (and NPHET predict) cases continue to fall here in Ireland, it is not clear that support for restrictions will fall in turn. Some people just like the restrictions and the masks.

And that’s all fine. We’re adults, we can have debates, and talk about how to best protect society at large from threats real, or imagined. But asking toddlers to suffer through their days like this to stop the spread of an illness that poses them no threat is just wrong. Plain wrong. If that child gets Covid, the science says he will barely even notice. In this case, the mask poses him a much bigger threat than the disease does. There is no debate to be had with somebody who thinks what is happening in the video above is justified.

It’s just madness, plain and simple.

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