In a surprise announcement, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy lifted mask mandates on students and teachers, effective the second week of March. With this move, the state joins a myriad of Western European countries moving to return to a semblance of normalcy for the first time in two years. The question that New Yorkers should be asking is: Will Governor Kathy Hochul follow suit?
For anyone who has actually followed the science and data related to masking children, this policy reversal should have occurred over a year ago. It has been well established since the early days of the pandemic that COVID does not affect children as much as it does adults. In fact, between January 1, 2020 and January 29, 2022, COVID accounted for 1.11% of deaths in children between the ages of 0 and 17. For adults 65 and older, COVID was the cause of death 12.79% of the time.
It has also been known for many months that vaccination prevents neither transmission nor reception of the virus. Vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals both can give and receive COVID, especially the Omicron variant. The only difference is that vaccinated people have greater success in fighting off the virus once they are infected. However, that logic never held for children, as their rate of severe cases that led to hospitalization and death was already so minute that mass vaccination of the young is redundant.
That does not stop New York from pushing vaccination on children. In July, ABC 7 reported that New York City was spending $125 million on an advertising campaign pushing vaccinations. Anyone who watched football the past few weeks would have seen New York State Health Director Mary Bassett telling parents to vaccinate and boost their young children, plus wear a mask. No mention of the known side effects of the vaccine, especially amongst the young. Just the same propaganda they have been pushing for many months.
Hochul is also fighting tooth and nail to keep her power to mask children in school. When a Supreme Court judge struck down the order last month, Hochul, through Attorney General Letitia James, immediately appealed and was granted a stay. The court will not even hear oral arguments until early March, so parents have at least that long to wait until they know if their children can breathe during the day.
While students are masked in Democrat-run states, politicians unmask when it suits them. California Governor Gavin Newsome was photographed at a football game unmasked while his state has a mask mandate. Same with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Newsom’s excuse was that his mask was on his wrist, while Garcetti’s was that he held his breath. Kathy Hochul has been photographed unmasked while young children were masked around her, same as Georgia Gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams. First Lady Jill Biden was photographed unmasked while masked and socially-distanced children sat all around her. Barack Obama was photographed with a construction crew outside his newest mansion in Hawaii, all of whom were masked while he was not. These transgressions are not limited to those in executive roles. Michigan Representative Elissa Slotkin and New York Representative Jamaal Bowman have also been photographed unmasked with masked children. “Rules for thee, but not for me” seems to be the Democrats’ motto.
Congressman and Gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin put out a statement regarding the mask mandate. “It’s ridiculous though that [Governor Phil Murphy is] going to wait a full month to actually make the change instead of just lifting it today,” Zeldin said. “Our children have suffered enough and they always have been at the lowest risk by far of experiencing a serious reaction due to COVID.
“Meanwhile, Kathy Hochul is digging in, going to court begging for her mask mandate to stay in place. Not only should Hochul be fired as Governor, but she shouldn’t even be elected to serve on a school board,” Zeldin concluded.
Polling at this point is scarce, but a Sienna poll from last month says that 55% of independents believe the state is heading in the “wrong direction.” Hochul’s favorability stands at 45%, whereas Zeldin had 63% of respondents not having any opinion on him at all. This gives Zeldin a lot of room to run in over the next nine months.
Polling and public perception is the only way that masking policy will change in New York. Murphy’s stance comes after a near-defeat to a virtual unknown in New Jersey, and he is certainly reading the room in his state. Hochul may think that masking is still popular in New York, but it’s up to the voters to show her that she’s a political loser. Only then will policy change - not because of science, but because the political calculation forces it to.
Moshe Hill is a political columnist and Senior Fellow at Amariah, an America First Zionist organization. Moshe has a weekly column in the Queens Jewish Link, and has been published in Daily Wire, CNS News, and other outlets. You can follow Moshe on his blog www.aHillwithaView.com, facebook.com/aHillwithaView, and twitter.com/HillWithView.