Over the past several weeks, I’ve followed the Chetek Alert letters about COVID-19, critical thinking and school mask policies with interest and curiosity. I’ve seen new perspectives and learned new things. It’s been eye-opening.

Now, I’d like to contribute something that might be eye-opening to others.

Last week, I came across a chart that was designed to show how the COVID-19 vaccine reduced mortality risk by age. The chart was created by policy analyst Phil Kerpen, who populated the chart with fatality ratios by age using data directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Then, using the assumption that the vaccines are 97 percent effective (which he says is the latest estimate from the United Kingdom), he showed how the fatality ratios would be reduced for each age after vaccination.

According to the chart, unvaccinated children, from one to 11 years of age, have lower COVID-19 mortality risk than vaccinated adults over 30. Unvaccinated children 12 and older also have very low mortality risk, similar to vaccinated adults in their thirties.

The CDC has said that these vaccinated adults, as well as those who are much older and at much greater risk, can return to normal activities without masks. At the same time, the CDC has said that unvaccinated children, who have similar or lower mortality risk, should continue to suffer behind masks.

This doesn’t make any sense to me. Given their exceptionally low risk of severe response to COVID-19, all children should be freed from masks immediately. The adults, and children 12 and over around them, have had the opportunity to be vaccinated, and younger children are naturally at lower risk than the majority of vaccinated adults. Children need to get back to normal. We owe it to them after what they have sacrificed.

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