Denver to lift COVID restrictions for adults, kids must continue to comply

by mcardinal

Lauren Dempsey, MS in Biomedicine and Law, RN, FISM News 


Denver officials have announced that while many of the city’s vaccine and mask mandates will end for adults, children are still expected to remain masked. COVID-19 mitigation strategies will continue to be required in schools and childcare facilities, public transport, and at the airport. 

Denver currently has a 78% vaccination rate, and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock believes that “this virus is something we are going to have to manage and learn to live with.” During a press conference Hancock said that “following extensive discussions with our regional partners as well as current health advice and the downward trajectory of cases, positivity and hospitalizations, Denver will not be extending our public health order.”

These new developments and the surge of Omicron cases in Colorado continuing to significantly decrease is promising news. Bob McDonald, the executive director of Denver’s Department of Public Health and Environment, is confident in the city’s decision to rescind the mandate, saying, “Our modeling makes it very clear that lifting the face covering order now is safe,” adding that “cases are going to continue to decline and what that says is that Omicron has run out of fuel within our community.”

However, health officials claim that mandatory masking for children is an important factor in keeping children safe and healthy, although this contradicts scientific evidence regarding the very small danger that COVID-19 poses to children and ignores the impact that lockdowns and masking have had on children developmentally as well as their mental and emotional health. 

Children have far less risk factors associated with COVID-19. In fact, they face a similar risk from the flu, and unvaccinated children are actually at less risk from COVID-19 than vaccinated adults. According to the CDC, children are more likely to die from drowning, car accidents, homicide, cancer, suffocation, and suicide than they are to die from COVID-19.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, while children represent about 18% of the total COVID-19 cases, this number does not reflect severe illness, hospitalization, or pediatric deaths. Data indicates that children account for 1.6%-4.4% of total hospitalizations, however 0.1%-1.5% of COVID-19 cases in children resulted in hospitalization. In addition, children account for 0.00%-0.25% of all COVID-19 deaths, with only 0.00%-0.02% of all reported child COVID-19 cases resulting in death and some states reporting zero pediatric COVID deaths.

If these numbers are accurate, why are children still expected to follow mandates when adults are no longer required? Where is the data that supports this strategy? Unfortunately, there is information that suggests that COVID-19 lockdowns and mitigation measures have had a detrimental impact on the cognitive development of children. A study by researchers at Brown University highlighted the effect the pandemic has had on children, revealing that these children have “significantly reduced verbal, motor, and overall cognitive performance compared to children born pre-pandemic.” The authors also note that “masks worn in public settings and in school or daycare settings may impact a range of early developing skills, such as attachment, facial processing, and socioemotional processing.”

Public health officials continue to ignore the impact that COVID mitigation mandates have had on children physically, mentally, and emotionally, and the measures used to eradicate COVID-19 have not been supported by scientific evidence. Many parents remain frustrated with the mandatory masking of children in schools. In spite of that concern, Tay Anderson, Denver’s School Board Vice President, tweeted, “It’s simple, if you don’t want your student to wear a mask in school, KEEP THEM AT HOME.”