Last week I wrote letters to my Pennsylvania state legislators. Why? Because both were hopping mad that Governor Tom Wolf’s Department of Health had issued a statewide mask mandate in the schools to stem the rising tide of COVID-19 infections due to the Delta variant.
They issued a press release. Like I said, hopping mad.
So I wrote them both a letter, which is as follows:
As you know, since you released a statement about it, the state Department of Health announced a statewide mask mandate in Pennsylvania’s schools.
I am strongly in favor of this mandate. Many Republicans have characterized this as a “flip-flop” on the part of Governor Wolf’s administration, but with the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant surging across the Commonwealth and case counts rising sharply over the past month, our schoolchildren, most of whom are still too young to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, need all of the mitigation measures we can offer.
Delta is not the original virus. It is better adapted to infect humans, it spreads far easier and more widely, and, if you’ve followed news reports out of Florida and Tennessee, it’s striking children in ways that the original virus did not last year.
You have every right to oppose a statewide mask mandate. But if you’re going to advocate a policy that opposes the one mitigation measure we have to keep the Commonwealth’s children from harm, then you need to acknowledge that your choice to oppose masks will subject children to severe illness, even death.
I have no desire to see the children of Pennsylvania in hospital ICUs with pediatric COVID. The question is, why do you? How many children will die because of your opposition to masks? How many deaths do you consider acceptable?
I don’t expect a reply from either — neither replied to letters I wrote last December when I asked them who won the 2020 presidential election — but they really should be able to state how many pediatric COVID deaths they deem acceptable. Ignoring the consequences of a policy doesn’t mean the policy is free of consequences.