Governor Wolf, Let the Children Breathe!

By Steve Houston (Opinion) – We know much more about COVID today than we did a year ago when policy makers assumed, or perhaps hoped for, the worst.  In the words of Democrat strategist Rahm Emmanuel, “Never waste a good crisis.” Or as Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau said to the United Nations, “This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset.  This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to re-imagine economic systems.”

Today, we know that survival rates for most of the population is 99.75%.  We know that the average age of a COVID fatality is approximately 80 years old, while the average life expectancy for all Americans approximately 78 years old.  We know that, on average, a person who dies of COVID also suffered from three or more comorbidities. We know that a significant number of COVID fatalities are the result of heart attacks, cancer, and blunt force trauma, but are classified as COVID deaths since they also tested positive for the virus or for the antibodies, meaning they had long since recovered before they were hit by a bus and “died of COVID”.  We know that the recommendation for six feet of social separation is based on guidance from the 1800’s while today’s research says 3 feet should be the standard. We know that 78% of all COVID hospitalizations are overweight or obese people. We know that the fatality rate among healthy children is statistically zero except for those who had been hit by a bus and “died of COVID” (or tragically suffered from other comorbidities). We know that there is no scientific evidence that healthy young children transmit COVID to anyone – finally acknowledged by the CDC – yet millions of our students remain locked out of their classrooms.

Knowing that all of this evidence points to 12 months of overreaction and failed policies, why does Governor Wolf – just as the spring sport season is gearing up – still require healthy, student athletes to wear masks when playing in the sunshine and fresh air?  After a year of data collection, there is no scientific evidence of a single COVID infection occurring under such conditions. Even last year, when infection rates were higher, Governor Wolf only mandated masks to be worn when athletes were on the sidelines and not actively engaged in vigorous competition.  Where is the Governor’s secret evidence that supports today’s mandates?  Why is he continuing to tamp down on the free breathing of young athletes just as he is lifting other restrictions?  I know several student athletes who have dropped out of sports because they cannot breathe properly. I know others who suffer with sports induced asthma who are literally risking their health to keep playing knowing that if they take a year off, they will be left behind.

Why hasn’t Governor Wolf modified his orders? It is a dangerous thing when science that evolves becomes dogma that does not, especially to a policy maker with authoritarian tendencies and unilateral powers. Governor Wolf’s outdoor mask mandate that restricts the free breathing of student athletes with no evidence to support it, is just one example of his inability to evolve with the science and to nurture the health and welfare (which does not begin and end with COVID) of the Commonwealth.

Everyone – especially the hundreds of thousands of parents of young athletes needlessly suffering under Governor Wolf’s “mask up while exercising in the fresh air” orders – must vote in the May primary election to reign in his unilateral powers to issue disaster declarations into perpetuity, giving him the sole power to enforce dogma at the expense of our health, welfare, and essential freedoms.