Summer Camps Should Reopen argues this piece in The Atlantic. I agree.
No they shouldn’t, argue Drs. Kass and Baren in the New York Times.
Well, okay, but I wish these distinguished doctors had cited numbers.
Specifically, the number of camp age children admitted to hospitals for COVID (almost none) and the number who have died (even fewer) … and compared those numbers, by way of context, with the hospitalizations and deaths we endure each year from other illnesses and camp-related accidents.
And then argued why parents shouldn’t be allowed to make this decision for themselves.
Don’t the numbers make a difference?
Few parents (I hope) would take a one-in-a-thousand chance of losing their child. But how many would deprive a child of summer camp — or school — if the chance were one in a million?
One of you, who supports keeping camps and schools closed, responded, when I asked whether parents should be allowed to decide that for themselves:
“Do we allow parents to decide whether to put their kids in a seat belt? Sometimes the role of government is to protect people and the public.”
True. But when seat belts became mandatory on January 1, 1968, more than 50,000 Americans were dying in vehicular accidents each year — the equivalent of 80,000 with today’s larger population — compared with just 9 children being hospitalized with COVID in the week ending May 20th (not dying — hospitalized).
Also: wearing a seat belt imposes a minor cost and inconvenience. Being deprived of camp — or school — takes a larger toll.
So I’d leave it up to the parents; but I think camps and schools should reopen, staffed by the kinds of young and healthy counselors and teachers and cafeteria workers who — blessedly — are at extremely low risk of serious harm, and who wish to accept that risk.
Meanwhile, lest we forget why we face these agonizing trade-offs in the first place:
Per Politifact and elsewhere . . . Trump drastically cut CDC staff in China . . . removed our primary embedded liaison with the Chinese CDC . . . disbanded the National Security Council’s pandemic office . . . threw out the Obama-Biden pandemic playbook . . . defunded the global early warning network for new viruses . . . repeatedly praised the Chinese government . . . and ignored more than a dozen urgent warnings — including Joe Biden’s on January 27.
Or to put it more vividly, as Alfred Hitchcock might have, don’t miss this four minute movie. Download and share!
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