This op-ed was published August 4, 2022 in the Florida Times Union through the “USA Today” news network as a guest columnist. The The Times Union is the major newspaper for a metroplex of 1.6 million people and one of the top 100 newspapers in the country.
Here is the original essay from the Florida Times Union:
“Schools are reopening with human experimentation”
Human experimentation began in Georgia the other day as the first human experimental subjects headed to schools in a hot zone. The parents and school district seem largely ignorant of the true risk vs. reward of this human experiment.
Like most schools in Florida such as Jacksonville, these Georgia schools have no mask mandate. Masks are recommended, but there is no penalty for not wearing one in the classroom.
Like Florida, they have no covid testing requirements and no way to get test results back quickly enough to matter. This means they will have no way to contact trace until it is far too late.
Georgia does not have as high an infection rate as Florida, but it is bad.
I hate to say it, but I hope this sociopathic vile experiment fails quickly and spares the health and lives of other kids, teachers, and parents around the country. I suspect it will not. Due to testing delays, I suspect it will take a month or more before problems are sufficiently uncovered. By then, other schools around the country will have waded far too deeply into the swamp.
On July 30, The World Health Organization formally recognized that SARS-CoV-2, is airborne. So infections can be caused by tiny aerosolized particles. This is not a big deal unless you are in a sealed room like a classroom!
Kids will be eating breakfast and lunch in sealed classrooms with their masks off for 30 minutes or more infecting the air they are sharing. This is a perfect replication of restaurant super-spreader events that have occurred around the world.
What is going on in our schools is only different by degrees from what occurred in the now infamous Georgia camp, where 76% of the children infected each other. A school in Indiana opened this week, and within hours had to quarantine students.
Do these people conducting these human experiments have no brains or shame?
How many school children, teachers, and parents will have to become ill, die, or suffer lifelong disabilities before we stop experimenting with our fellow citizens? This kind of human experimentation did not go on in other civilized countries. Have we sunk so low in our desperation that we are willing to do the unthinkable? The alternative is to follow the lead of the countries that have done far better than us. Is our pride and unwillingness to admit we were wrong worth the price of even a single child or teacher? If we are still a civilized moral country, the answer is no.
This op-ed was written while we were living in Northern Florida during the pandemic. The madness that occurred in Florida due to far-right politics overriding commonsense and safety is implicit in this essay. The city of one million where we lived was hard hit. Early on in the pandemic, for a period of weeks, we become the national epicenter of the pandemic. We had freezer truck morgues and everything else imaginable and unimaginable, and yet, most of the people surrounding us continued to deny the reality of covid.
All throughout the pandemic, the majority of the people in our area refused to wear masks. Many taunted and threatened those who did wear masks. Many believed vaccines were part of a capitalistic conspiracy and ivermectin was the cure. Our own doctor, unsolicited, advised us to take ivermectin as a preventative measure. When we went to get a vaccine booster, we were the first people to do so because almost no one was getting vaccinated. To this day, only about 60% of the people are vaccinated.
We left Florida in June 2022 after living there for five years. Prior to Florida, we had lived in Los Angeles. Estimates are that approximately 30% of the people who moved during the pandemic did so partially or completely for political reasons. When we fled Florida, we felt like domestic political refugees and still do.
This op-ed was published in the Florida Times Union on August 4th. A short time later, before opening on August 10th, schools here in Jacksonville changed their minds and enforced mask-wearing, unlike their initial plan, which was to “require masks” but not enforce the requirement. I’d like to think my op-ed made a difference, but I suspect what made a far bigger difference was the colossal disaster Georgia made of opening their schools without a mask requirement. We all know how that turned out.
I often feel like I am spending far too much time on these op-eds, but I also feel compelled to write them every time I read about what is going on. I’m currently reading 6-10 different newspapers a day, so am I ever getting compelled. I have a new rule that I cannot read the news until the evening and have finished working on my novels for the day. So far, I have had a hell of a hard time keeping to this rule.
(1) CDC report indicates children likely play a major role in spreading COVID. In this case, a super-spreader event that occurred at a camp in Georgia where 76% of the kids ended up infecting each other.
(2) The World Health Organization formally recognized that SARS-CoV-2, is airborne. So now we have it. Infections can be caused by tiny aerosolized particles that drift through the air like cigarette smoke. This is not a big deal unless you are in a poorly ventilated room like a classroom!
(3) Children younger than 10 carry a far higher viral load than adults. This clearly indicates they could, in fact, be far worse spreaders than adults as many experts have suspected all along. In our society, school children are the major spreaders of virtually all other respiratory infections. It was nothing but wishful thinking that SARS-CoV-2 would be any different.
(4) A School Reopened in Indiana this week and had to quarantine students within hours. A child already in school received a delayed covid test result. The child had already mixed with the school population.