The latest New York Times Sunday Magazine cover story “What Have Kids Lost?” consists of interviews with six education experts discussing how some American children have suffered through over a year and half without being inside a classroom because of Covid restrictions in some areas.
The discussion was introduced by a reliably liberal voice at the paper, Emily Bazelon:
A year and a half into the pandemic, the crucial and irreplaceable role that school plays in students’ lives has never been clearer. In contrast to last fall, when school buildings in some parts of the country closed for long periods (mostly in blue cities and towns), a consensus has emerged this year in favor of bringing as many students as possible back to the classroom.
At last the obvious, brutal truth is coming out about learning loss in schools, truth ignored by lockdown-obsessed liberals throughout 2020. The New York Times piece is valuable. But where was this concern when it counted, in summer 2020, when the paper’s alarmist coverage helped foster a frightening atmosphere and a lost year of learning for American children?
The Times as much as any media outlet infected parental minds with baseless fears of their children getting sick with the coronavirus, encouraging school shutdowns that resulted in a wasted year for millions of of kids — a group the Times and other liberal media outlets have long pretended to protect.
Case in point, this alarmist Times report from July 2020 was passed around by scared parents: “Older Children Spread the Coronavirus Just as Much as Adults, New Study Finds.” The subhead to the story about a study of South Korea schools: “The study of nearly 65,000 people in South Korea suggests that school reopenings will trigger more outbreaks.”
The author of that piece was Apoorva Mandavilli, the paper’s chief Covid reporter, whose pessimistic, sometimes alarmist reporting is religiously followed by lockdown lovers like teachers union head Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers as an excuse for keeping schoolhouse doors closed to students.
A month later Mandavilli was obliged to report the study again based on new information suggesting older children weren’t superspreaders after all.
She also wrote in July 2020 that “Children May Carry Coronavirus at High Levels, Study Finds.” The text box actively discouraged opening schools for the fall: “The research does not prove that infected children are contagious, but it should influence the debate about reopening schools, some experts said.”
Of late, Mandavilli is on a strange crusade of prioritizing endless friend-avoidance and mask-wearing over vaccinations – the same vaccinations that are supposed to save us from such depressing cautionary measures for good.
Regarding President Biden’s constitutionally questionable vaccine mandates on businesses, she even questioned the vaccination push in a Friday story.
But some experts cautioned that the results from the aggressive plan would take many weeks to unfold. Immunization is not an instant process — at least six weeks for a two-dose vaccine — and the administration did not emphasize the measures that work more quickly: masking and widespread rapid testing, for example.
By insisting that vaccination is the way out of the pandemic, officials in both the Trump and Biden administrations have de-emphasized the importance of masks and testing in controlling the pandemic, several experts said.
“It’s a lot quicker to put on a mask than it is to get a bunch of people vaccinated,” Dr. Hanage said.
If one believes in the vaccine, as the Times surely does, isn’t it strange to prioritize masks (whose evidence of efficacy remains surprisingly thin) over the shots?