News flash: New York City toddlers must suffer for a New York Times columnist’s piece of mind. Ginia Bellafante, the paper’s “Big City” columnist, was in full coronavirus panic mode on Sunday. Did she want to close down restaurants and nightlife again? No, instead she wanted to do something even more useless and cruel -- keep toddlers masked in school.
Even liberal Los Angeles has done away with its mask mandate for schoolchildren. But Bellafante’s reaction to the news that Mayor Eric Adams will drop the city’s mask for public schoolchildren aged 2-4 proved her to be immune to common sense: “Covid Cases Are Up in NYC Schools. So Why Are Masks Off?”
Perhaps because the provider of the home-brewed statistics showing the alleged (tiny) increase in Covid cases is ideologically committed to masking toddlers? Why must toddlers alone bear the burden of neurotic urban liberals? Bellafante doesn’t even try to justify:
....the mayor followed with the announcement that masks would soon be optional for children in the city’s preschools and day-care centers, though what effect liberating 3-year-olds from their KN95s would have on repopulating offices and resurrecting the economy of Midtown was not self-evident.
Unmasked NYC adults are packing nightclubs, indoor sporting events, concerts....but until April 4, the only ones suffering under a mask edict are toddlers, the cohort that is at the least risk from the virus. Instead, Bellafante acknowledged that, while many want kids unmasked, "many others...implored [New York City Mayor Eric Adams] to please keep faces covered."
Does this columnist get angry seeing children’s faces? She certainly seems to lack empathy for children, considering she thinks letting them uncover their faces (seeing faces is a vital part of early education, especially for children with speech difficulties) is a purely "symbolic" gesture, ruling that "the costs of unmasking" are still "not entirely fictional."
Bellafante offered some lame, politically motivated statistics:
One group, Parents for Responsive Equitable Safe Schools, set out to scrape data regularly and deliver a broad view. What their figures reveal is an increase in the total number of Covid cases in New York City schools this academic year, which jumps from 135,977 cases on March 7 to just under 137,900 cases on March 23, a notable increase over the previous two-week period.
That’s it? A 1.4% rise over a 16-day period?
She even played the race card:
Just a few days before the mayor’s most recent announcement, dozens of mostly white parents -- some of them at the vanguard of the movement to reopen schools in an earlier phase of the pandemic -- gathered at City Hall to demand that the Adams administration “unmask our toddlers.”
Bellafante should know better than to opine about the virus. Early in the pandemic, she smeared Fox News host Sean Hannity, falsely and offensively suggesting he and other network hosts downplayed the dangers of the virus and thus caused the death of Joe Joyce, a 74-year old Brooklyn bar owner, who went on a cruise, came down with and eventually died from the virus.
But the Hannity quote she blamed came on March 8, 2020 -- over a week after Joyce left on the cruise.
Bellafante herself was guilty, by her own standard, of downplaying the dangers of the coronavirus, in a February 27, 2020 tweet: “I fundamentally don’t understand the panic: incidence of the disease is declining in China. Virus is not deadly in vast majority of cases. Production and so on will slow down and will obviously rebound.”