It never fails. If someone challenges the notion that children need to be masked up or can’t go to school unless they’re vaccinated, leftist bullies will gang up on the poor unfortunate and accuse him or her of being anti-science or hating kids.
But even in the face of overwhelming evidence that children are at minimal risk of serious illness from COVID-19, denunciations of alternative information continue.
Emily Oster, an economist at Brown University who frequently writes about parenting, published an article in The Atlantic last March headlined, “Your Unvaccinated Kid Is Like a Vaccinated Grandma.” She argued that COVID-19 was so mild in children that vaccinated parents could safely go out in the world and live normal lives.
The problem for Ms. Oster is that she didn’t reckon with leftists, who see everything through a political prism. Donald Trump and Republicans had been saying for months at that time that it was safe for unvaccinated kids to go back to school with certain precautions taken in deference to unvaccinated adults.
But the left was making the argument that it wasn’t the adults who were most at risk, it was the kids. Oster was simply saying that there was no evidence that was true.
Critics called the article insensitive and misleading, saying it understated the risks that children could both get sick and spread the virus. Oster responded on her website with a note standing by her main argument but apologizing particularly for the headline’s lack of nuance. Her critics seemed somewhat vindicated.
Seven months later, with a lot more Covid data available, the debate over the article looks quite different.
In fact, Oster has been vindicated many times over.
If anything, subsequent data indicates she did not go far enough in describing the age skew of Covid. Today, an accurate version of her headline might be: “Your Unvaccinated Kid Is Much Safer Than a Vaccinated Grandma.”
Despite massive new coverage of kids getting sick and dying from COVID, the fact is that it’s incredibly rare for even an unvaccinated child to contract a serious case of COVID that requires hospitalization or that leads to death.
“Covid is a threat to children. But it’s not an extraordinary threat,” Dr. Alasdair Munro, a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at the University of Southampton, has written. “It’s very ordinary. In general, the risks from being infected are similar to the other respiratory viruses you probably don’t think much about.”
The left’s hysterical opposition to anyone who goes against their narrative about kids and COVID is born of the realization that controlling parents is of paramount importance to their political strategy. Scaring parents into supporting a particular policy by claiming their children are under threat makes them more pliable.
And of course, control is the name of the game. Using fear as a political weapon is a tactic used by dictators. It’s rarely been employed like this in America.