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Thursday, September 24, 2020
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The masking of America

Babies born in February of 2020 are now nearly seven months old, taking in the world with their eyes, and hearing language with their ears. They should be cooing and drooling and learning how to be human. They are learning how to use their personalities and expression to change the world around them. They are learning how to flirt with their adult caregivers to get positive feedback, and maybe a spoonful of applesauce.

What babies are seeing since birth in the Year of the COVID is a world of faceless humanoids who do not make eye contact with others. What they are hearing are muffled and garbled sounds from behind masks.

Our children are being robbed of normal cues that contribute to healthy social development and it’s happening at a critical time in their development — their first two years. The only complete faces they see are their caregivers, and for some in daycare, they are not even seeing those faces. They are not being exposed to the wide variety of human expression. Babies are not seeing how words are formed with lips and tongues. All of the visual clues are gone for how language is expressed.

Babies from 3-6 months respond to facial expressions of people, and they recognize sounds and begin to imitate facial expressions and sounds of others.

If all they can see are the eyes of people around them, and if those eyes are frightened, or dull, or angry, the babies are learning something about our world. If there is no sparkle of eye contact, no one chirping, “How are you doing there, young fella?” then that baby is learning that the world is an aloof place, where people do not interact, and where strangers are avoided.

People who wear masks all day behave differently. They just do. They are not as open or friendly with others in stores, at bus stops, or even in a doctor’s office. Those in masks don’t speak as many words as those who are not in masks. Words they do speak are curtailed to only what is needed. Many more hand expressions are used to complete a communication — there is a lot of nodding and head shaking where just eight months ago, you might have heard a “Good morning!” or “How’s your day going?”

The effect of this on the children of America may be far more grave than the coronavirus that we are trying to keep at bay. The children of 2020 are growing up in a painfully unhappy America, where “I can’t breathe” is literally true for the many who are dutifully masking themselves for the sake of their health and the health of those around them.

Those of us who fly back and forth for work notice that cabins of jets are quiet now. No one strikes up a conversation, and many passengers just doze off behind their masks. Already the air is thin at 30,000 feet, and the mask just seems to make it more difficult to stay awake.

We hear experts say our oxygen is not being cut off, but that is not our experience — not while flying. Our experience is that we cannot fully breathe behind our masks, and we are being suffocated.

It cannot go on for long. Already, there is a dividing line, not drawn by politicians so much, but drawn by Americans themselves. Those who obediently don masks are not always, but often liberal Democrats. Those who wear them out of courtesy for others, but who doubt their efficacy, are more often conservatives.

And then there are the anti-maskers, who comprise as much as 20 percent of the population — a sizable number. They are the more libertarian contrarians among us, the ones who believe this mask mandate business is fake science and government out of control.

The anti-maskers believe that masks, if worn properly in a surgical bay, are effective to an extent in keeping a surgeon’s oral bacteria from entering a wound, thus preventing infection. But the anti-maskers don’t believe that the general population wear the masks properly or handle them with the kind of care one would handle a toxic item of medical waste, which masks most certainly are, if we are to believe they are catching droplets filled with virus. The anti-maskers don’t believe that masks are confining enough of the coronavirus to do much good.

The anti-maskers are also hyper-aware of the contradictions and pure silliness: Pets can spread the coronavirus, so we are told, but emotional support animals board airplanes without masks and no one blinks an eye. Restaurant patrons wear masks to their tables but then may remove them once they are eating and drinking.

None of this makes any sense to an anti-masker who doesn’t believe it’s settled science, but is convinced it’s the behavior of obedient sheep.

The division makes sense because of the basic wiring of these two sides of the political spectrum: Democrats typically believe in the collective good, while Republicans believe in the strength of individualism.

Joe Biden does believe in masks. Biden says that if elected he will mandate masks from the White House for everyone in the country. Not wearing a mask would become a federal crime, and require federal enforcement, something that will cheer the pro-maskers and make anti-maskers even more suspicious and anti-government.

But back to the children. We are shaping a new generation, and we should be very cognizant that their social, emotional growth and very humanity is being altered by our rush to save humankind.

No, this writer cannot provide proof that we are damaging our children and our open society itself by putting everyone behind masks. She can only deduce from a mere eight months of observation: We’re seeing more suicides, greater loneliness, and an epidemic of mental/emotional strain. There are many factors that could contribute to these mental health problems, but masks are certainly one of them.

We won’t really know the effect on America it for another generation. And that generation may have all manner of disorders, from speech impediments to extreme social anxiety.

It’s a big risk to take in the land of the free and home of the brave.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Thank you, Suzanne, for pointing out something that I, and most of us have not even considered… The impacts of masks on those in their first year of life ! Early Childhood Development teaches that the first three years of life are the most important. The harm being done could well be incalculable. The need to return to normal keeps on showing up more and more. The science behind masking is not just dismal, the harm is extensive. Watch as marriages and births decline significantly. Face recognition is huge for children growing up. Faceless entities inhabiting our social sphere is a phenomena right out of the twilight zone ! Masking up is not about the virus. It is about the destruction of lives…

  • Fuzzy math. They’re only 6-7 months old. Not 8.

  • This is the most ridiculous column I have read since Fagan’s piece on pedophiles. My god, think of the children. You have as much knowledge as I do about how babies process information or develop: none. It’s no more reliable than if I opined that wearing a mask caused babies to get the jitters. But the best part is the suggestion that mask wearing causes loneliness and suicide. Of course your neighbor Phil was doing well until he wore a mask and did a Richard Corey in front of his beautiful family. KISS. Covid spreads easier when people do not wear a mask in certain situations (like a grocery store). Less mask wearing means more covid. More covid means more fear and an inability to return to something close to normal before a vaccine is available. If people ignore the medical experts and follow Suzanne’s advice, some of those little babies may lose a parent to covid, which might cause more emotional harm than a mask. Only 180,000 dead now, but American is gonna run up the score on the world. Excuse me, but I’m pro-life.

    • Eric, I must have missed when Suzanne was giving advice. Apparently, you must have read a different column.
      But I will tell you that children raised with moms on screens has had more than anecdotal results in our schools. My wife has worked with early elementary kids for over 30 years. Many of these kids cannot read the subtle micro expressions one inadvertently learns when one’s mother looks down, in the eyes of her child. OR if she chooses to spend more time looking down, into the screen of her phone. These kids miss out on simple cues that we once took for granted – likely due to weeks or months lost of direct eye contact in the first few years of development.
      Now masks to cover the face? As Suzanne stated, the future will bear out the results, and it doesn’t look good.

    • Eric, maybe you should consider reading more. Saying that MRAK’s piece is the second most ridiculous you have read since Fagan’s piece written a long time ago suggests you do not read much. Reading more might help you understand the differences between opinion pieces and advice columns.

    • Beautiful article. Than you, Suzanne!

    • But…..BUT, if Obama had said what Suzanne said you would be all aflutter with praise and admiration.
      Masks are less than useless Eric, less than useless.

    • Eric, to your excellent point about how “180,000 have died.”

      I’m so glad you brought that one up!!

      NYT just published this investigative report that found that in three states, when the State Health Departments examined the cycle thresholds for positive Covid cases in the month of July, they found that up to 90% of those cases were false positives.

      The reason why they are false positives is concisely explained in this article. You should read it and give it some thought. What you insist is true might really, really not be true at all.

      nytimes.com/2020/08/29/health/coronavirus-testing.html

  • Well written. I have been concerned for the older kids, too, who have to hide off the trail anytime folks are passing by. Are we teaching them that all strangers are dangerous?

  • First of all I respect the writer’s opinion. Most people take their masks off when they get home so the babies are able to see their parents faces and react accordingly. Finally we get some relief from the idiot babble sitting next to us on a plane who won’t shut up long enough to take a breath. I am thankful for people wearing masks. It shows they care about me. There has always been thin at 30000 feet, the cabin pressure is usually maintained at 5000 feet in elevation which is plenty enough for most people to breathe with or without a mask. Hell, John Wayne did fine with one lung.

    • It is selfish and ignorant to expect every person who may pass by you to PROTECT YOU. Morons are aplenty, that is for sure.

      Protect yourself or stay away from the general population. I am not wearing a mask and compromising MY extremely healthy immune system for a bunch of wackadoodles who are society’s whiners. What happened to the flu, by the way? It’s gone because it is covid, too.

      • Totally agree. Greg thinks the entire state should protect him. Those of us who worked in the medical field like me, and know a bit about micro biology, tells you this is not the answer. If you think it’s so dangerous in that big world then stay home with your stupid mask indoors. The only time i accept wearing one is a store. Period. It’s not my store, and if they say no shirt, no shoes, no service.. Or a mask is required to shop there, I follow the rules. Elsewhere… Forget it. I’m unmasked. It’s a game being played on the American people. What a doozy.

        • He’s not even saying that. He says wearing a mask “shows” you are concerned about him. It’s not about actual good being done. It’s about making him FEEL good.

    • Greg that is all I want to do, my #1 motivation in life. It is my only purpose. It is above all else THE most important thing to me: Wearing a mask to let you know I care for you.

  • Bravo, bravo. So many important considerations raised here. Thank you.

  • The vaunted medical “x-spurts” at the CDC recently admitted what thinking people already knew – the number of people who died *from* The Corona is really 9200.
    All the other so-called chinaflu victims died*with* The Corona.
    .
    .
    Wearing a mask is a personal choice. One only has to reference their “medical condition” that voids their wearing a mask. Freedom!

  • Sensational job Suzanne. Nearly everyone I know is feeling the same sense of loss of humanity, loss of community. And it goes for older children as well. We putting a fear and sense of loss in them like nothing we have ever seen in our lifetimes; for a virus that impacts them far less severely than the seasonal flue or RSV. With CV19 only a small percentage of tested positive patients actual require hospital support, and less than 1% of those are children, even less in Alaska. For Eric S above, you have no idea what you are talking about. There has been no strong evidence that masked populations have less covid and less than no evidence that masking the population reduces mortality. Kids without parents? Check out the actual mortality. On a worldwide scale, even if you believe the mortality numbers being fed to us where every single person who dies with covid is counted as having died of covid (something we have NEVER done before with any disease ever), you have a worldwide excess death rate similar to past flu pandemics, and not the spanish flu. Mind you that all of the past pandemics we compare this to were counted very differently, without massive testing programs and where you actually had to die OF the indicated disease rather than just with it in order to be counted. That leads to significant undercounting of other pandemics compared with this one. Even if you include all of the US deaths attributed to covid, you are at a number that is 5% of what we were told in March we would be facing. So why would we not adjust public policy accordingly? Back to masks….. there has bee no more reasoned description of where we are today than this excellent commentary. If you want to wear a mask, then do. Wear an N95 or even N99 mask yourself. Wear gloves. A face shield and a bag over your head if you would like. If you feel unsafe eating out, then don’t. If you feel unsafe shopping, then order everything online. For the rest of us, leave us alone. As a medical doctor, I prefer to foster a healthy immune system that is exposed to its environment and can adapt day to day as it was intended. I prefer to put this infection into the perspective of 20 years of practice facing countless other infections, carcinogens, and environmental risks. This shouldn’t be a political issue. But one political group has chosen to make it one and no one should be ok with that.

    • As a MD, you took an oath
      Still stand with that? Mask up doc.

      • Greg you’re so under educated it’s laughable. A medical physician tells you the truth… Yet you don’t want to hear the truth. He’s right. You are wrong. If your so scared you mask up. The only ones crying this narrative are the left and the ones depending on a welfare check from the government. Good little masked sheep that expects everyone else to save him.

    • Great comment. I will be printing it off for future reference.

  • So, as I read this, without any evidence masks are the cause of increased suicides, loneliness, and mental and emotional strain, plus, masks are affecting our newborn children in dire ways that are more extreme than dying from the coronavirus, again without any evidence.
    Where is the plea for more help for the disadvantaged mother who has to work two jobs to pay for rent and food and child care? What if it wasn’t her choice that she ended up with two kids from an abusive situation where she had to pick between submitting to her abuser or getting beat up or killed? Where were the advocates for the children who were born because their mothers were not allowed to terminate unwanted pregnancies under rules promoted by “right to lifers” who walk away from those lives as soon as the child enters this planet as a breathing human being?
    Yup. It’s the masks. It’s gotta be the masks.

    • So you are refuting Suzanne’s opinion because she cites no evidence, and then you drag out the tired, old pro-deather arguments of the mom who is abused and has kids and can’t get an abortion…. that has been around forever. Where are your stats, Greg?

    • Drink much kool-aid, Greg?
      Masks are about conforming. Pray tell, if it was really about stopping the spread of Corona , wouldn’t a mandate prescribe masks that actually have some value? Sorry sir but your rebuttal is silly.

  • This is off subject but the picture of you on your heading is great. You look so beautiful. I’ve noticed it before but never commented. Have a good day!

  • As someone who is Deaf/hearing impaired (but I don’t know sign language as I was raised in the hearing world) and rely what sounds My hearing aids pick up and on lip reading too, this has been an incredibly silent time in my life these past several months. I find I do not enjoy going out at all to any place; my church -thankfully – does not have masks in 2nd service (but do in the 1st). As for the babies, I also think how they aren’t going to be used to folks’ smiles. And I have to say, I really miss seeing people’s smiles.

  • In order for the democrat party to completely destroy America, they must destroy the heart and spirit of American Freedom. They are trying to demoralize and dehumanize us to weaken our resolve to resist their world takeover of our God-given rights. I am not going to surrender and I will not be silent.

    Also be aware that BLM has advertised they are coming to Anchorage on Sept 7. That means Berkowitz invited them and they are planning to destroy the city. I suggest business owners prepare for the worst and that we do our shopping NOW before they completely ruin us up here where getting things to us cost way more and takes way longer.

    • If we are aware “they” are coming to our fair city, then we need to be ready. Yucaipa, California ran the thugs out of town before they could begin the destruction because they had prior warning. I hope we can do as well. I’d rather stop them than shop early and feel like I must take my medicine because after all, I am racist, right?? And this is my penance to watch my town destroyed, right? Ethan answers: Yup!

      thegatewaypundit.com/2020/06/antifa-terrorists-mess-wrong-california-town-get-ever-loving-snot-beat-video/

  • There is plenty of evidence to suggest community-wide mass masking will impede, deter and significantly alter the emotional and psychological development of babies and children. Further, mass masking of the children themselves will result in immediate negative physiological and psychological effects, particularly when these masks are forced upon them for ~8 hours/day, they’re put in plexiglass cages, they’re told their friends are contagions, they can’t share or trade their things, they must incessantly wash their hands and spray down their desks, their bodies are cesspools of disease and the very breath that gives them life MIGHT at some point kill their new friends grandma….2 to 8 weeks from now, maybe.

    Search ‘The Still Face Experiment: Edward Tronick” ….try not to cry. After that, go down the rabbit hole of social sciences on Google Scholar. Type in some relevant terms and see what pops up. If you find an intriguing study, read it then check out its references, of which there are usually 10-50. Rinse, repeat.

    A good start, along with the above video is “Veiled Emotions : The Effect of Covered Faces on Emotion Perception and Attitudes”

    Make no mistake, what we are doing here is absolutely an uncontrolled experiment on the entire population that has no grounding in broad evidence based science and ZERO precedence. The state’s recommendation is backed by 16 ‘key’ studies. 15 of those ‘studies’ are from 2020 and were published AFTER the state began recommending masks. The leading study, funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (Facebook) is a journal pre-print (not peer reviewed) that is based on modeling, not randomized controlled trials. The meta data and methods for this study have not been released nor properly vetted and scrutinized by professionals in the field(s). It’s not like we’ve had problems with modeling in the past (Imperial College, March, 2.2 million Americans dead). Oh yea, and the leading author is an opthalmologist.

    Unfortunately, we cannot rely on the state to provide an unbiased, policy-grade analysis of ALL available evidence, we must educate ourselves. Notice how their pleas are made up of emotional appeals, hashtags, cartoons, shaming, social pressure, authoritative claims, mandates and guidelines? Right, that’s because they don’t have a solid science foundation to stand on but they want you to “believe the science”, which in itself is a psychological trick.

    Here’s a decent place to start… Search ‘Face Masks, lies, damn lies and public health officials’. If you’re triggered by the title, get over it, download the pdf and read on. Check out the references. At the VERY LEAST, these studies (and many others) should be listed alongside the other’s on the state’s website. Embrace cognitive dissonance.

  • Masks are nothing more then a political symbol of the Left, the same as the Pussy Hats were a symbol of the Resist Trump movement 3 years ago. Don’t be coerced into wearing one. There is no science that can conclusively show any benefit.

  • Amen Suzanne nice piece

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