New York’s new Covid-19 guidance is bad for young children.
Toddlers are treated like seniors.
According to an analysis of British data by the Financial Times, a vaccinated 80-year-old has about the same mortality risk as an unvaccinated 50-year-old, and an unvaccinated 30-year-old has a lower risk than a vaccinated 45-year-old.
But the New York City Department of Health’s new Covid-19 advisory document — first flagged by New York City school social worker Justin Spiro on Twitter — suggests they are at equal risk and must both mask indoors and both avoid so-called “non-essential gatherings”:
Those who are at high risk of severe illness, are over 65, or are unvaccinated including children under the age of five who are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine should take additional precautions. These groups are at increased risk of hospitalization, severe illness, and possible long-term complications, and should always wear a mask in public indoor settings and crowded outdoor settings. Avoid crowded settings and non-essential gatherings, particularly if indoors.
The advisory justifies its strict guidance for unvaccinated young children by — some might say — exaggerating the health risks to children under five from Covid-19.
Even though COVID-19 is generally less dangerous for children, it can result in hospitalization, as well as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), long COVID, and possibly other long-term complications — which can occur even with only mild infection, including in children.
The reality is that “long Covid” is very rare in children and we know that most children generally don’t suffer “long-term complications” from mild respiratory diseases.
Once again, New York rejects WHO and UNICEF guidance — that the ECDC has also endorsed — stating that children under six should not mask. European countries have never masked children under six anywhere — including public transport — and, before France’s mask mandates were lifted, masking French nursery school children was prohibited.
And, as Spiro notes, it is cruel and developmentally problematic to deny young children socialization “after 2 years of stunted social development.”