Legislation to rescind the adoption of Resolution 281 and amend the water and sewer plan associated with the Lakeside development in Trappe was introduced at the August 24 Talbot County Council meeting. This development has become a contentious issue. At least 281 of our citizens are concerned, and environmental organizations have also taken an active interest.
Council members were advised that Resolution 281 had already been incorporated into Maryland’s Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan, and that only an amendment to that plan could make a difference now. A public hearing with the Maryland Department of the Environment has been scheduled for October 28; but considering our level of concern, a Council majority agreed to a hearing on October 12.
The meeting room was filled, and the Council likely expected that most were there for the Lakeside wastewater treatment issue. The concerns they would present could not be addressed by the Council, though.
The first speaker was against requiring masks in schools and suggested that students might be told, “Be sure you’re wearing your mask when the mask police come.” (This may have also been directed toward Pete Lesher and Cory Packer. Few others wore masks.) But this is a Board of Education issue.
A second presenter was justifiably concerned that as many as 570 hospital employees could be let go if they refused to be vaccinated. They may be ready now that millions have had “the shot,” and it’s working. She simply wanted to share her concern.
Yet another presenter reiterated that masking is “bad policy” and suggested that Superintendent Kelly Griffith is “missing a few things: mainly data, evidence, science, and basic human decency.” But then she suggested, “COVID is almost no risk to children,” and “more have died of the flu.” We’ll share some data and evidence in a moment.
Then our attention was directed to Critical Race Theory, another issue the Council is unable to address, but they listened attentively as the presenter told us his family has been negatively impacted by CRT and teachers are afraid to speak up. He then shared a list of grievances and summarized with these requests: ”Get CRT out of schools now, and never teach any aspect of it in the future. Allow individual choice when it comes to vaccines. Get digital vaccine passports out of our county. Never require proof of vaccination for goods or services, or to attend in-person school; and use common sense when appointing a police accountability board.” And the rest of the time?
Next up: “Masking children should be based upon science, not opinion,” and “going back to mandates treats people like they’re not smart enough to make these decisions for themselves.” Those statements seemed to have some merit. Then we were politely directed to a magazine article referencing a study of masking.
“The Science of Masking Kids at School Remains Uncertain,” by David Zweig, describes a study of COVID-19 transmission in schools. It summarizes that “masking then unvaccinated teachers and improving ventilation with more fresh air were associated with a lower incidence of the virus in schools, but distancing, classroom barriers, HEPA filters, and required masking were not found to have a statistically significant benefit.”
This could be persuasive, as long as we don’t recall that children were not particularly susceptible to COVID-19 until the variant arrived. The CDC and American Academy of Pediatricians had indeed found in November that “the masking requirement failed to have a statistical impact” in schools at that time, but that study took place from November 16 – December 11, 2020. The variant was not reported in the U.S. until January, 2021.
In Florida, Pediatrician Evelyn Obregon recently described, “A 2-yr.-old gripped with fever and dehydration. I’ve never seen this before.” Florida has the highest numbers of young children hospitalized.
In Arkansas, Linda Young, a respiratory therapist, is warning, “This COVID surge. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s the sickest I’ve ever seen children.”
By the last week of July, 20 percent of all known COVID-19 cases were occurring in children. Children may not be masked in the United Kingdom or France; but those nations and the Scandinavian nations also have higher levels of immunization.
We do also know for a fact that masks worn properly do help by preventing the spread of respiratory droplets. Health Affairs, a healthcare journal, studied COVID-19 growth before and after masking in 15 states and found that masking resulted in a significant slowdown in the COVID-19 growth rate. After 5 days the daily growth rate was -0.9 percent. After 3 weeks, it was -2.0 percentage points.
And the CDC has also advised, ”We had 188 pediatric deaths under age 18 due to flu in 2018-2019, 136 in 2018-2019, and 349 have died of COVID-19 over the last 18 months.”
It’s a good thing that that we all appreciate facts. And our rights? We all know that those don’t extend to harming others.