'Virtue signaling': Fauci colleague slams CDC summer-camp rules

A scientist who works under Dr. Anthony Fauci charges the Centers for Disease Control’s strict guidelines for summer camps are “unfair and cruel,” asserting that making kids wear masks outdoors “is simply virtue signaling.”

In an interview with New York magazine, the employee of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said that with camp staff and parents vaccinated, “there is no reason to continue incredibly strict mitigation efforts or put severe limitations on activities.”

“Charitably, masking kids at camp outdoors is simply virtue signaling,” the scientist said.

“Requiring kids to continuously wear masks at camps, even while outside playing in the heat, when it provides little additional protection is unfair and cruel to our children,” said the NIAID expert.

The scientist pointed out that studies have shown that outdoor transmission of the virus is minimal and that children are at “incredibly low risk for developing severe illness.”

The “minimal benefits of mask-wearing do not outweigh the substantial costs of discouraging children to be active and their overall health.”

The CDC guidelines, nevertheless, recommend universal mask-wearing for anyone over the age of 2, except when eating or swimming. Summer camps, in addition, should require social distancing, and limit interaction between campers (placing them in small “cohorts) and the sharing of any objects, such as toys. Close-contact and indoor sports are banned. And campers should wear two layers of masks, especially when social distancing is difficult, regardless of “whether activities are indoors or outdoors.”

The CDC’s new mask guidance, requiring masks in many situations even for people who are vaccinated, has drawn criticism from across the poltical spectrum.

In an interview Wednesday on CNN, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky was asked, “Why not just say, if you get vaccinated, you can do almost anything?”

“We are cautious … because there are still some places, some communities that have less than 20% vaccination and still a lot of disease,” Walensky said.

See the interview:

‘Senseless’ guidelines

Columbia University pediatric immunologist Mark Gorelik went on the record with New York magazine, calling the CDC’s guidelines for summer camps “senseless.”

“We know that the risk of outdoor infection is very low. We know risks of children becoming seriously ill or even ill at all is vanishingly small,” he said. “And most of the vulnerable population is already vaccinated.”

Gorelik explained he’s supportive of effective measures to curb the spread of the virus, but the CDC’s recommendations “cross the line into excess and are, frankly, senseless.”

“Children cannot be running around outside in 90-degree weather wearing a mask. Period,” he said.

 

Fauci, meanwhile, was pressed on the summer-camp guidelines by NBC “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie.

“Given what research shows about transmission outside, about the low risk of transmission in children, aren’t these CDC guidelines excessive?” she asked Wednesday morning.

“You know, I wouldn’t call them excessive, Savannah, but they certainly are conservative,” Fauci replied with a nervous laugh. “And I think what you’re going to start to see is really, in real time, continually reevaluating that for it’s practicality.

“Because you’re right,” he continued. “People look at that and they say, Well, is that being a little bit too far right now?”

Guthrie interjected: “Yeah, because aren’t we supposed to be — I mean, people have been preaching for a year, follow the science. The science doesn’t suggest those CDC guidelines are too sensible.

“For little kids, outside in 90 degree heat running around in masks?”

See Fauci’s remarks:

‘Treat kids like prisoners’

Addressing the CDC guidelines, Reason editor Robby Soave argued summer camps entail two factors that make COVID-19 “significantly less worrisome,” children and the outdoors.

Nevertheless, the CDC has issued “among the most restrictive, unrealistic guidance the agency has released during the pandemic.”

“It’s more limiting than the CDC’s guidance for vaccinated people exercising outside more generally,” he said. “If followed, summer campers would be miserable, deprived of physical contact, and in considerable danger of overheating.

“The government has essentially recommended that summer camps treat kids like prisoners.”

Soave argued that along with COVID-19 not being easily transmitted outdoors, all camp staffers will have had the opportunity to be vaccinated and the campers themselves are not at risk of a negative health outcome.

For children, COVID-19 has been shown to be less hazardous than the flu. In a typical year, more American children drown than will have died of COVID-19.

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@wndnewscenter.org.