President Biden on Thursday thanked local community leaders who have pushed for mask mandates for children, calling them “heroes.”
“I know there are a lot of people out there trying to turn a public safety measure — that is children wearing masks in school so they can be safe — into a political dispute and that this isn’t about politics,” he said during scheduled remarks at the White House about drug costs. “This is about keeping our children safe.”
Biden recounted seeing reports from Tennessee that protesters had threatened doctors and nurses who appeared before a school board to make the case for mandatory masks in schools.
“Our health care workers are heroes,” he said. “They were the heroes when there was no vaccine. Many of them gave their lives trying to save others. They’re heroes again with a vaccine.”
“They’re doing their best to care for the people refusing to get vaccinated and unvaccinated folks are being hospitalized and dying as a result of not being vaccinated,” he added.
“To the mayors, school superintendents, educators, local leaders who are standing up to the governors politicizing mask protection for our kids: thank you,” the president said.
“Thank God that we have heroes like you and I stand with you all and America should as well,” Biden added.
Mask orders and mandatory vaccines have been given renewed consideration as concern grows over the highly contagious delta variant. The new variant is spreading rapidly in areas with low vaccination rates.
After the CDC renewed calls for students to wear masks in schools, the Republican governors of Texas and Florida both signed orders prohibiting mask mandates in public schools.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis said that the “federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person, they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day.”
“Many Florida schoolchildren have suffered under forced masking policies, and it is prudent to protect the ability of parents to make decisions regarding the wearing of masks by their children,” he said.
While children under the age of twelve are not currently eligible to be vaccinated, National Review has previously reported that unvaccinated children have a lower risk of death or serious outcome from COVID-19 than vaccinated people in their 30s do.
Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci said last week that “hopefully” forcing young children to wear face masks won’t have any “lasting negative impact” on them after the CDC recently issued new guidance recommending that teachers, staff, and students wear face coverings indoors — even if they are vaccinated.
Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Fauci about an editorial in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday — “The Case Against Masks for Children” — which argued that long-term mask-wearing can cause physical and developmental issues in children and that there is little evidence to support a mandate.
“Facial expression are integral to human connection, particularly for younger children who are only learning how to signal fear, confusion and happiness,” Hewitt said. “Covering a child’s face mutes these nonverbal form of communications, can result in robotic and emotionless interaction. So, Dr., what did you base it on? Why?”
Fauci then claimed that data cited in the editorial “dates back to the alpha variant, not necessarily all the most recent data on delta.”
“Delta is different,” he said. “We’d better go back and make sure those data are really solid the same way you’re asking me, and I will. I’ll go back to the CDC and make sure that the data that they’re talking about is really solid. So let’s do both. Let’s just check both those things out and make sure we’re really talking about apples and apples and not apples and oranges, and make sure we’re talking about transmissibility of delta as we’re seeing what it’s doing right now.
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