Former Planned Parenthood President Explains Why She Won’t Mask Her Kids This School Year
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In a major about-face, former President of Planned Parenthood Dr. Leana S. Wen explained in a Tuesday article for The Washington Post that she and her family have moved beyond tough COVID-19 restrictions.
Last fall on CNN, Wen was still saying that the masks served as a « very powerful layer of protection » and until every student was vaccinated and other external measures were in place, the United States was « far to be « ready to allow children to learn mask-free.
Now, as schools begin to reopen, she said: ‘I accept the risk that my children will likely contract covid-19 this school year, just as they could contract influenza, respiratory syncytial virus and other illnesses. contagious. » She noted that with the current variant, « COVID in our family will almost certainly be mild » and that « we have made the decision that following sufficiently stringent precautions to prevent the highly contagious BA.5 will be very difficult. »
She illustrated how harsh restrictions eventually had their own consequences.
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« Masking has adversely affected our son’s language development, and limiting the children’s extracurricular activities and social interactions would negatively affect their childhood and hinder my and my husband’s ability to work, » she explained.
Wen said that after taking many precautionary measures at the start of the pandemic, « it was not easy to change my mindset to accept covid-19 as a recurring risk. But the high transmissibility of new variants meant we had to pay an increasingly higher price if our goal was to continue to avoid the virus. »
She acknowledged that facing some level of risk is ultimately part of normal living.
« I started trying to think of coronavirus as other everyday risks, like falls, car crashes, or drownings, » she noted. « Of course, I want to protect my children from injury, and I take precautions, like using car seats and teaching them to swim. In the same logic, I vaccinated them against coronavirus. But I will not put their childhood on hold in order to eliminate any risk. »
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As a result, she said her family had « relaxed our precautions », noting that « we are seeing other families inside, without masks or testing, and have started traveling and attending events again ». Her children in particular, who spent much of their youth in a pandemic, will return to normal life, « Now that they are fully immunized, we do not plan to limit their activities and – like most parents in their school – won’t hide them in the classroom. »
Still, she acknowledged that what works for her family isn’t necessarily what should be prescribed for everyone.
« To be clear, my family’s decision not to mask our children should not be mistakenly viewed as anti-mask; we would never stigmatize other parents and caregivers for the difficult choices they must make, » said she explained. « Rather, my approach to this school year reflects the evolution of the pandemic and the recognition that avoiding covid-19 cannot be the only measure of people’s overall health and well-being. »
Wen before came under fire last July, when she suggested that life should be made « tough » for Americans who have not been vaccinated, and that those who have refused to be vaccinated should be tested weekly.
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When the CDC relaxed mask guidelines for those vaccinated in May 2021, Wen worried that an « honor system » to enforce it would allow unvaccinated people to lie about their status and put vulnerable people at risk. danger.
In early 2022, however, Wen’s statements began to soften when she supported states dropping school mask mandates, saying, « Science has changed. »