Pitting society’s lack of concern over the crisis in pediatric infectious disease

Hey Horatius - was this the Ottawa-Carleton Board? I saw an article about that yesterday or the day before. I was quite surprised (though probably should not have been) to see descriptions of that behaviour.

Or, as I heard on a current affairs podcast a couple of years ago “until society burns its hands on the hot stovetop of stupidity”

When I was quite young (4 or 5 ish in 1964 or 5) there was an an adult neighbour who had to wear leg braces because of polio.

I’m frankly going to question how biased you are if that’s the conclusion you’re getting from that article. The article said that the suggestion that children weren’t vectors to the same degree as adults was not based in solid evidence and that people should responsibly report the evidence and not make the claim that there was evidence that children weren’t significant risk vectors.

Welp, i’m still wearing a mask when i go out, although i took advantage of the covid lull to go to a restaurant for the first time since my summer holiday, when i did a little indoor dining right after my booster.

I’d be happy to support another mask mandate, but

Yeah, sadly i agree with you. I think people radically overstate the cost of wearing a mask. I know that they bother me less than they bother most people, but i think a lot of people struggled with crappy, ill-fitting masks and don’t realize how much easier it is to wear a good mask that fits well.

And i think reopening the schools would have been a lot safer if it wasn’t commonly believed that kids can’t wear masks. :cry:

Indeed it was.

And it’s just a perfect example of what’s wrong with society right now. At the same time these people are in one meeting telling us how the anti-mandates convoy protestors were all just love&hugs, and no one was being harassed, a bunch of these yahoos are in a different meeting, harassing public officials trying to have a serious discussion.

I was born in 1951 and polio was running rampant then and for several years after. My mom – who was never an early adopter of anything – rushed us to get in line as soon as the first shots (and later the sugar cubes) were available. People have forgotten that existential fear.

Also, I had a high school teacher with a leg brace due to polio. Oh, and I forgot – the boy who was tops of her elemenatary school, along with my mom, had had polio, so she had had first hand knowledge of its effects.

And I think that a lot of people never had a clue regarding just how difficult it was for some of us to FIND masks that fitted & worked even half-way well.

After a great deal of trial & error, and wasting time and money buying various types of masks from multiple sources that turned out to be mostly useless, I finally found a style that works reasonably well for me. (KN95 with a metal nose clip–but good luck finding them in most of the mass retailers.)

Fair enough but (and this isn’t directed at you btw) it doesn’t justify a bunch of ignorant low-lifes acting like barbarians at civic meetings, or occupying an entire downtown for a month. And I personally have a really hard time buying the “sacrifice” argument associated with masks and vaccinations.

I think a lot of people like to whine about how “hard” it is to wear a mask. I don’t really think a lot of these people actually tried to wear them. In the gas station I work at it was a never ending argument with people that they could not come in not wearing a mask. Not to mention those who would not cover their noses with them.

One fellow who came in maskless told me he couldn’t wear it 'cause he had asthma. I replied that I did too. He then said he couldn’t go anywhere without his inhaler. I pulled mine out of my pocket and showed it to him and told him I couldn’t either. Somehow I managed to wear a mask for my 8 hour shift, but he just couldn’t wear one to come in the store for 5 - 10 min. to buy CIGARETTES. Guh!

The stupidity is never ending and I hope this RSV surge ends soon with fewer fatalities then I fear.

I think of that as a one time investment, not a waste. I bought a lot of masks, too.

I’ve got some lung problems myself, which for the first year and half of the pandemic really did cause me problems when wearing a mask (a new diagnosis and treatment has improved it a lot the last year), so I understand not wanting to wear a mask. But I also hate these guys, because I’m pretty sure that most people like me were far more concerned with getting COVID on top of our pre-existing conditions.

So I wore a mask when I had to, while also arranging my life such that I didn’t need to wear it a lot. Like, 90+% of my shopping was curbside pickup, and the few times I had to go into a store, I planned my trip to minimize my time in the store. I also cut out most socialization where a mask would have been needed.

All well and good.

Yet kids of all ages from two and up wearing often poorly fitting often simple cloth masks, not always worn correctly … resulted in two seasons of practically no RSV or influenza cases, let alone pediatric hospital and ICU admissions. As a public health population intervention for those germs even poorly fitting not working even half-way well dramatically decreases spread of those germs. Asthmatic kids, no problem wearing them. Autistic children? Sometimes hard and allowances were justified. Mostly though the kids with difficulty wearing any mask were those with parents invested politically in masks being bad.

To be clear: I am not looking for a new mandate nor do I believe that stopping these germs completely would be a good idea even if achievable. Just flattening the curve to keep the peak from further breaking the capacity to handle the load.

This is the part that drives me mad. Even with the half-assed masking we did, we wiped out influenza for two years running! In any other year that would have been the top feel-good story of the year, but instead, it got largely ignored in all the news about MAGA whiners not wanting to wear masks and be responsible.

As Dirty Harry almost said:

Nuthin’ wrong w excess fatalities as long it’s the stupid contrarian ones being excessively fatal.

Unfortunately public health doesn’t work that way. A lot of the harm caused by the stupid is visited instead upon the weak, or others chosen at random.

While there’s no RSV vaccine available for kids yet, there are Covid-19 and influenza vaccines - but which are underutilized, especially in the case of Covid-19.

Meantime, Omicron BA.5 is leading to more reinfections in children. And it was only last winter that hospitalizations for Covid-19 in children were surging. The next variant to emerge may not be as “mild” in kids as BA.5.

The idea that keeping kids at home would lead to an increase in infections, even at the same time, doesn’t make a lot of sense. Getting the infection when your older should reduce fatalities. And it’s not like everyone relaxed their precautions at the same time, or that places that waited until later are doing worse.

No, what is more likely is that COVID-19 infections have reduced immunity, resulting in infections lingering.

Here’s a skepchick article on it:

If it’s any consolation, I got my first-ever flu vaccine today. It was someone on this board who pointed out that we used to just bypass that vaccine because those who suffered and died from flu were largely out of sight, out of mind, and that stuck with me.

It struck me this morning how little was involved in getting the shot: 20 minutes counting the 15 minute waiting period in case of surprise anaphylaxis, a barely perceptible needle, and perhaps some immune-system-generated side effects at a time under my control.

How is that a hardship? It’s orders of magnitude easier than wearing a mask, even, which is annoying but in such a mild way that it barely registers, and then only if I make a point of thinking about it.

Has RSV always been a significant problem or is that fairly new? Because I swear that I’ve never heard of it before it started making headlines in the past week or two.

RSV has been around since I was a NICU nurse in 1981. It was deadly for premies and infants. It’s a common childhood infection but rarely a problem for uncompromised kids, just like a cold and cough that hangs around longer than your usual cold. Every kid seems to get it, usually before they go to kindergarten.

The other cohort of people RSV can be hard on is the elderly or those with pre-existing lung disease like asthma.

I suspect the recent issues with RSV isn’t that it is any different in character but that there are so many young children who have not been exposed that now what would be a typical seasonal ‘wave’ of infections is tripled (or more, given the breadth of the vulnerable population). This, combined by the attrition of health care staffing, particularly in the pediatric domain that is not very profitable to maintain ‘excess’ capacity to begin with, is resulting in issues with beds and skilled medical support.

This, combined with the political backlash against mask mandates and other public health mandates intended to curtail the spread of infectious disease—which is not just ‘conservatives’—does not speak well for our response to the next and potentially more deadly epidemic threat. And as an associate who is both a virologist and epidemiologist reminds me every time I talk to her, SARS-CoV-2 is not yet done with us and has the potential to become an order-of-magnitude more virulent, as do several strains of influenza. Meanwhile, dengue fever is now moving into regions where it has not traditionally been endemic due to climate change-induced temperature shifts, and people are still refusing to get children vaccinated against measles for…reasons.