LETTER: Mask mandates again?

Like most of you, I do not look forward to being told or forced to wear a mask again. I looked at the data provided by the CDC to see whether we should or should not be imposing such mandates as positive cases of COVID-19 and the delta variant begin to increase.

The CDC provides data and recommendations from their perspective, where our leaders at the national, state, and local levels have to take all factors into consideration when implementing policy that makes the most sense for the citizens and the overall well-being of our country. All the data about cases and impacts of the virus is available on the CDC and state webpages for everyone to view. Leaders should view the detailed data to see what makes the most sense for our communities. Below is a look at the data provided by the CDC and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for the month of July.

Health officials at hospitals in Massachusetts have noted that deaths remain low and that symptoms among vaccinated individuals who catch the virus remain either unnoticeable or far less severe. When reviewing the latest July 2021 CDC data there were 3,214 deaths in Massachusetts, and of that, 183 from pneumonia and 40 from COVID-19. You were over four times as likely to die from pneumonia than from COVID-19 (even the delta variant). Below is also taken from the CDC webpage:

What we know

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, including severe illness and death.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are effective against severe disease and death from variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 currently circulating in the United States, including the Delta variant.
  • Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the delta variant. When these infections occur among vaccinated people, they tend to be mild.
  • If you are fully vaccinated and become infected with the delta variant, you can spread the virus to others.
  • People with weakened immune systems, including people who take immunosuppressive medications, may not be protected even if fully vaccinated.

Again, why are those vaccinated being told to wear masks? This does not pass the commonsense test. If the vaccine is effective against COVID-19 and the variants, then a mask mandate is not needed. Given the current situation and data, we the people, living in a free society, should have the right to choose whether to wear a mask and whether we get the vaccine. I would recommend getting the vaccine, but it should be your choice and you accept the risk that goes along with that decision.

Massachusetts reported that deaths among those that are vaccinated are 0.002 percent. I would never judge anyone I see wearing a mask, as I do not know their personal situation, but it should be a choice and not a mandate.

In addition to all the mask mandate talk, there currently is a big push to have our children wear masks when they return to school this fall. Again, I ask the question, why? Does it pass the commonsense test to have our children wear masks? When you look at the CDC data on the effects of COVID-19 on children under age 18 here is what you find:

Using the latest CDC data from July 2021 (when COVID-19 cases from the delta variant are on the rise), school-age children under the age of 18 had 31 deaths within Massachusetts, and none of those were from COVID-19 or pneumonia. In the entire United States, there were two deaths from COVID-19 for children under the age of 15, compared to 10 deaths from pneumonia. So why are the teachers’ union and some government officials pushing to make it a requirement for children to wear a mask while receiving their education? Haven’t our children been through enough this past year without mandating continued mask wearing when the data does not justify it?

I commend Governor Baker and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Riley on their decision not to mandate masks for school-age children and leave it up to each district at the local level to decide what their policy will be. If a local school board or commission decides to implement a mask mandate, the local community will have a say at the ballot box if they agree or disagree with the decisions those boards and local officials make.

Again, the CDC provides data and recommendations, but it is up to leaders at all levels of government to look at those recommendations and the data to do what is right for the whole of their citizens. After seeing the data from the CDC, I would ask that you contact your elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels to ask them to follow commonsense and the data and not impose mask mandates on us and our children.

State Rep. Kelly Pease


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