At the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester, I submitted a guest comment to theEmory Radadvocates the withdrawal of the university's mask mandate. The piece successfully went through two rounds of editing and appeared to be making solid progress. Shortly thereafter, I received an email from an editor saying that, after consulting with the editor-in-chief and opinion editors, my article would not be published because it "didn't match [their] values" and "conveys a lot of misinformation." ". Students." This seemed strange to me, considering that the arguments I made were verysimilarAsomenot articulatedWall Street Journal, a publication whose standards are considered at least equal to those ofrad.
I immediately responded to that email stating that I would be happy to address these concerns if specific instances of misinformation were flagged. No follow up received. The fact that no opportunity for change was given shows that the wheel challenged the general idea, not the specifics of the item. Heradhe had no qualmspostan article that endorses astrology (a widely discredited practice) and alleges blatant falsehoods about finance. This is a clear example of inconsistent application of standards based on the ideological conviction of the expressed opinion. Given the university's recent announcement to end the indoor mask mandate, I believe this to be the case.radThe public has a right to know that the publication is unwilling to voice ideologically underrepresented views on campus.
It is certainly true that conditions have changed over the last six months and that the severity of the Omicron variant is significantly lower than that of the Delta variant, which was at its peak at the time of filing. This means that the university's decision is less controversial today than it was then. However, that doesn't change the fact that the arguments made in the opinion piece were supported by data from the CDC and other credible sources. This was a submission to the opinion section, not the news section. The refusal to publish, based in part on the public safety value of the article, shows that theradI believed that publishing my opinion would lead to reduced mask wearing and harm public health. This is a strange statement, as readers would be free to agree or disagree with the content. Heradmust invalidate students' unsubstantiated opinions, regardless of their popularity. The fact that the submitted opinion was not widely shared in the Emory community does not mean that it is dangerous or contains incorrect information. By using this term without reference to specific factual inaccuracies, theradparticipated in a disturbing phenomenon that has spread among the media of using "disinformation" as a catch-all term to discredit any perspective that disagrees with the media's prejudiced views.
Heradannounced that one of hisGoalsis to give voice to people from diverse backgrounds related to race, gender and sexual orientation. it's their timeradgive the same voice to ideologically different perspectives.
Below is the unmodified comment along with communications received during the editing process.
With students returning to classes at the start of the fall semester, many daily activities are returning to normal with one glaring anomaly: the requirement to wear masks indoors. Since March 2020, the university has been depriving its students of a traditional university experience. By offering fully virtual classes in the 2020-2021 school year withoutto reduceTuition greatly diminished the educational value of college experiences such as athletics, clubs, and various programming events for Emory. Both school spirit and future student donations are likely to beLegendbecause of this decision, especially as numerous peer institutions operated face-to-face teaching during the school year with little or no downside. If Emory is to stand a chance at saving her place in her students' hearts, the masks must come off.
It may be tempting to accept the implications of Emory's mask policy because masks have permeated so much of everyday life over the past 18 months, but it's important to recognize that masks are not normal. Upon closer inspection, it's clear that the mask-required policy isn't rooted in science, nor is it the only barrier standing between Emory students and a normal college experience. Masks make it difficult to communicate in the classroom and can distract students and teachers. Furthermore, the policy fails to take into account the dramatically different impact of COVID on different age groups, the high rates of university vaccination, and the lack of real-world data to support the effectiveness of mask requirements.
First, data on COVID-19 and its impact on people of different ages suggest that COVID-19 simply does not pose a significant threat to the vast majority of college students. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a total of 3,146 Americans under the age of 30 are affected.diedof COVID-19 in March 2020. For reference, approximately 10,947 Americans in the same age groupdiedin traffic accidents in the same period. Car crashes are far deadlier than COVID-19 for young people in the US, but no one is proposing additional strict restrictions on driving or requiring helmets to be worn when people get into cars.
Much of the panic surrounding COVID-19 and the Delta variantdevelopeddue to an emphasis on reporting the number of cases over the number of deaths. However, the number of cases is of little relevance, as most cases result in very mild symptoms, mainly in college-age students. death from infectionBowlof COVID-19 for people over 25 years old is 0.01% and this value decreases for people under 25 years old. Every year there are 25-50 millioncasesof flu in the US Although this number exceeds the number of cases of COVID per year, no one knows how many people get the flu each year because it is insignificant for the vast majority of those affected. Few Americans wear masks to protect themselves from the flu, so why would we do that to protect ourselves from a virus that has the same outcome for the vast majority of affected students? Outbreak cases are inevitable, regardless of masking guidelines, but are of minor importance as vaccines are highly effective in preventing severe symptoms.
besideextremelyThe high vaccination rate of 94.9% among students makes wearing a mask unfeasible, as almost all students are excellently protected against the virus. Both President Biden and CDC Director Rochelle WalenskycalledEarlier this month, we were in an "unvaccinated pandemic" and they were right. On August 30, among the 171 millionvaccinatedAmericans had just 8,987 hospitalizations and 2,063 deaths. This equates to a fatality rate of 0.001%, compared to a 0.007% chance of being struck by lightning in a person's lifetime. In a facility with such high vaccination rates, the chance of anyone, let alone multiple people, being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19 is extremely small.
Additional evidence from the real worldsupportThe effectiveness of mask requirements in preventing the spread of COVID-19 is inconclusive. There is no clear correlation between states with mask requirements and deaths per capita in that state. Five of the six states with the highest number of COVID deaths per capita arequeenby Democrats who are more likely to impose mask mandates. Florida, which attracted massive negative attentiondeclineEnforcing mask requirements ranks 20th in COVID deaths per capita. This is despite having the second highest number of seniors per capita, the group most vulnerable to death from COVID. CDC guidance on masking has beento changefour times in just over a year, seriously calling the organization's credibility into question. By depriving vaccinated individuals of the ability to be exposed, the CDC sends mixed messages about vaccine efficacy and creates a perverse incentive structure. As a leading medical institution, it is Emory's duty to spread the message that vaccines are remarkably effective in preventing severe cases of COVID-19 and that, once received, your life can return to normal with little risk.
Finally, Emory's masking guidelines are inconsistent and therefore ineffective in achieving the goal of stopping propagation. For example, imagine a group of twenty students in a first-year seminary class. In the classroom, these students are required to wear masks. However, when the 75-minute limit is up, it would be perfectly acceptable for those students to go to the cafeteria and eat at the same table for another 75 minutes without a mask. This hypothetical situation demonstrates the illogicality of mask requirements due to inconsistent enforcement and shows that they are for theatrical purposes only.
It is understandable that certain people still have concerns about COVID-19 or are more susceptible to more severe symptoms due to immune deficiency. However, the reality is that there will always be some risk, like the virus.willingit will hardly be eradicated. Lambda and gamma variants are already being investigated. The virus will continue to mutate forever and people must learn to live with COVID and better mitigate the risks associated with it. Because of this, Emory must treat its students like adults and allow them to participate in a personal risk assessment. If someone feels particularly vulnerable, they can continue to wear a mask. When someone weighs the risks of COVID and decides they want to remove their mask, that should be their prerogative. While life before masks can be hard to remember, we must remember that masks are not normal. They are uncomfortable, make communication considerably difficult, impede learning in the classroom and interfere with individual freedom. We cannot hide forever and the current risk of severe symptoms or death for vaccinated students is so small that we must be able to make our own decisions.
hang tags: inclinationCOVID 19And kindred