The author begins with a question right in the headline:
How Much Longer Can We Keep Doing This Without a Vaccine?
Exactly! How much longer can we keep doing this without a vaccine?!?!?
Wait, keep doing what?
She teases the answer in the drop head.
All parents are struggling during the pandemic, but those with kids too young to be vaccinated are barely holding on.
Oh, okay, that explains it.
No, it doesn't.
Holding on to what?
...The paralyzing fear that those who are the least vulnerable to Covid don't yet have access to an experimental vaccine to which they are the most vulnerable to its side effects?
Parents are not OK. No caregivers are, really...
Actually, we are, but thanks for asking!
But parents of children who are too young to be vaccinated against Covid-19 are most certainly not OK at this point in the pandemic.
The only kids who can't be vaccinated are toddlers and infants, the demographic least susceptible to Covid. There is no segment of the population that is safer, and yet this is what author Regina Mahone decides to obsess over.
That is because she has a two-year-old son.
Also, she's insane.
Navigating the mental hula-hoops of exposure is exhausting on its own. My partner and I have rarely brought our 2-year-old son into a grocery store, and when we do, we've put the stroller rain cover to good use.
Her son was born at the beginning of 2020, and so all he's ever seen of a grocery store, on those rare occasions he gets to witness one, is through the dimpled hazy rain cover.
And seeing people is generally off the table.
Think about that for a moment.
"Seeing people is generally off the table."
Imagine that being taken off the table for the first two years of your life.
Some weeks we make plans but eventually have to cancel them, because someone was exposed or tested positive—in the case of our son's birthday, for the second year in a row, because the risks outweigh the benefits.
Between January 4, 2020, and January 8, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that at least 259 infants (0–4 years old) have died from Covid—with the rates for Black and brown infants disproportionate to their population sizes...
That's fewer deaths than from car crashes in the same age range, and it doesn't even factor in the fact that most of these children have other serious conditions.
Are you planning on walking him to the vaccine center, you know, because safety?
She then acknowledges,
...Immunocompromised children have been uniquely affected.
Oh, well, that's different. Is her son immunocompromised?
Our son is not immunocompromised.
Well, great news! Get him outside! Get him to a grocery store! Get him somewhere.
There is a problem, however:
But since his birth, when he spent five days in the NICU, to today, when he is experiencing global development delays, we have been in full protection mode, because at this point it's the only thing we feel we have some control over.
Understood. He had a major surgery at seven months, too. That's all very frightening, but it's also in the past. And yet, this has been this kid's entire existence:
Our son was born on January 1, 2020, so it is quite literally all we've known, since we kept most loved ones away early on because of the mix of cold and flu season (and the NICU visit really freaked me out). And then, at 7 months, he had a major surgery, an experience traumatizing enough that if we can avoid the hospital again during the pandemic, we'd like to do so. The other factor is that our son receives services through New York state's Early Intervention program, and with in-person provider visits (when we are able to do them, depending on the local Covid case count), we want to avoid putting these wonderful people (or the other families they work with) in harm's way.
These wonderful people who are probably triple vaxxed and masked.
I don't think "these wonderful people" are what's concerning to Mahone.
She is frozen in fear with an obsessive focus on one risk: Covid.
Even after we both got vaccinated against Covid, we knew our pandemic lives wouldn't change all that much.
Even though she and her partner both got vaccinated, they had planned not to change their insane behavior.
Is this rational?
Sure, many have suggested that infected children typically do not become as severely ill as adults. But one child being hospitalized or dying from Covid is too many when that one child could be your own.
Is there a single hazard in this world about which you could not say the same thing?
It doesn't mean you stop living life.
Where does this insanity come from?
And now, with the Omicron variant, which "may affect the youngest children in unforeseen ways," according to a January 7 New York Times report ...
"which may affect the youngest in unforeseen ways."
Well, yeah, it may affect the youngest in unforeseen ways.
But again, when is that ever not true? It's a mealy-mouthed statement devoid of content intended to incite fear.
Say, New York Times, you think maybe your incessant fear mongering may affect people like Mahone in unforeseen ways?
...and a rise in the number of hospitalized children 4 and under, what options do we really have?
I'm just spitballing here, but how about not do what you're doing?
And yes, she notes her kid requires speech and physical therapy, presumably originating from his early traumas, but as even she concedes this, if not quite making the connection, she is making it worse.
But this isolation doesn't impact only us, the adults. It's not an ideal situation for our toddler either. The lack of opportunities to socialize with other kids has consequences.
For a brief period he was in daycare, but we were told by the facility that he could no longer attend if he didn't start walking by 21 months (and as of this writing, he is not yet walking). The result is that what our son needs is beyond what we can provide him, which is torturous. If our son could be around other children regularly, he could watch how they move or play and perhaps learn to mimic their behavior, but that's not possible.
Yes, it is. Arrange playdates, get him to the playground. Tear down the yellow tape if you must.
News reporting over the past year suggests that developmental delays like the ones our son is experiencing may be exacerbated by pandemic isolation. A local news station in Tampa, Fla., reported that experts are seeing "delays with motor function, speech, play, and social skills, and it may be even more difficult for children who were already having issues with these things."
She knows this is the problem. She knows the isolation is making things worse and causing untold long-term damage.
And yet she can't change. In this article, which becomes a cry of help if not quite the one she had intended, she lays it all out but can't quite come to the obvious conclusion.
And yet we are told, scolded really, that the thing we can all see clearly with our own eyes does not exist.
This might be one of my favorite all-time fact checks:
Fact Check - No evidence of pandemic ‘mass formation psychosis', say experts speaking to Reuters
"Say experts speaking to Reuters."
Oh, is that the standard we use now?
In that case, here's mine:
Fact Check - plenty of evidence of pandemic "mass formation psychosis" say people I spoke to one of which may or may not have been my dog.
I've seen this up close. I've seen the terror in my neighbors' eyes, including the one who rushed her child off to get the vaccine the first day it was available. She said she could finally sleep at night.
Her kid was 12.
Look, as parents we all have to make decisions that we believe are right for our children. We're all weighing the risks, every day.
And there are risks. Always. Every decision entails some risk/reward ratio. My son has a four wheeler he keeps at my in-laws up in Pennsylvania. It entails some danger. It also entails some fun.
That's always going to be the tension.
At the end of the piece, Mahone appears to try to convince herself that she's doing the right thing.
We've managed to keep him safe, healthy, and happy. On the good days, I know it's enough.
Perhaps it's time she questioned her premise.