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Letter to the Editor: Mask Mandates Prevent Spread of COVID-19

Cynthia Miller, letter to the editor, The Herald Palladium, 02/03/2022 https://www.heraldpalladium.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/




Editor,

Many studies have demonstrated that school districts with mask mandates have lower rates of COVID-19 infections. So predicated on that fact, I was shocked to read in our local paper the headline, “Facebook group files lawsuit over masks” (Jan. 28). In this time when as many as one in 300 of us has died of COVID-19, and it is currently the third leading cause of death, it’s difficult to imagine that a few parents have decided to make all of our lives more miserable by taking this negative action.

A parent should help a child endure a temporary inconvenience so that all children can be in school. None of this is easy for us, but the resilience of children can be bolstered by the positive attitudes of their parents and teachers. Don’t these parents realize that a few children in each classroom might have any number of lifelong health issues such as cystic fibrosis, type I diabetes, asthma and even cancer? The protection of all children is the responsibility of the educators who may have many children under their care during each day. Those heroes should be receiving our praise. Schools are not allowed to screen children to find out which are coming from homes where parents are vaccinated. Studies are showing that children from homes with family members vaccinated are far less likely to become ill with COVID-19 with either the alpha or delta mutations, or even the more contagious, but less deadly, COVID-19 with the omicron variant.

This summer we were fortunate to be able to travel to Europe and found such a different emotional climate in regard to the attitude toward this pandemic. Proof of vaccination was mandatory before entering any retail or commercial space. Those who chose not to be vaccinated were simply not allowed into shared spaces, except for mass transportation. Every person wore a mask regardless of the situation. Anxiety was reduced for all as they relaxed while trying to help each other in curbing the spread of a virus.

In Berrien County it is apparent we are watching a few persons try to control others while placing children’s health at greater risk. These few are often loud and rude (as I witnessed at a summer county commissioners meeting,) and have a need to file lawsuits (as reported last week.) Yet these folks are unable or unwilling to understand the basic science of viral infection and transmission. Why do they want to distract and harm the very people who are trying to make their lives better by educating their children at great personal sacrifice, while trying to keep all children safe at school? This lawsuit action seems divisive and counter-productive to me at a time when we should be supporting each other. These parents must know that when our infection rates drop, the schools will recommend that the masks come off. In the meantime, please remember that vaccines and masks prevent infections and save lives.

Cynthia Miller

Benton Harbor

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