Let our kids play sports unimpeded!
Dear Dr. Abney and Board of Commissioners,
I am dismayed at the amount of bullying our youth are enduring under the guise of public health. For months, there has been an avalanche of evidence that children under the age of 19 are at statistically zero risk of becoming critically ill or dying from COVID-19. In Maryland alone, the case fatality rate for school-age youth is less than .02%. Children neither catch it nor spread it with any sort of severity. Virtually all transmission of COVID-19 with children occurs in the home and from an adult to the child. Yet, you continue to make our kids the victims of your mitigation strategies.
Children have been playing in youth sports leagues, attending dance and martial arts classes, and playing hockey at the Capital Clubhouse for many months with few incidents. Yet, the requirement to wear masks while rigorously exercising has come as an unnecessarily hostile measure toward a population that has been doing everything to comply. It not only violates the "do no harm" principle of practicing medicine in health policy, but makes little sense when weighing risk with potential compliance as is outlined pretty clearly by the World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-2019-nCoV-IPC_Masks-Children-2020.1
Additionally, the WHO does not advise mask use during rigorous physical activity. Please see page 11 of this document: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/advice-on-the-use-of-masks-in-the-community-during-home-care-and-in-healthcare-settings-in-the-context-of-the-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov)-outbreak/.
A summary of the international advice on mask wearing and children: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-children-and-masks-related-to-covid-19
Finally, the recent announcement that youth hockey participants must quarantine for 7 days if they play on ice outside of this county seems to be an evidenceless power-trip by the Charles County Health Department.
There is a mental health crisis of epic proportions brewing in our community and our youth are at particular risk. You have failed to properly advocate for school reopening and have left our children floundering. A Baltimore County gifted teenager committed suicide 6 weeks ago after months of his parents begging for relief from the isolation (https://foxbaltimore.com/news/project-baltimore/he-just-gave-up-school-shutdown-baltimore-county-teen-impact?fbclid=IwAR0g7WfW-4Pq_O0YM3_Je-UFNjCpKKJk5ZVRRZ_eKO-Vs_5Uad6RruUOucM).
The Charles County Health Department and the Board of Commissioners should be doing everything in their power to maintain youth educational and physical activities, not continue to penalize the least affected population. I hope that you will act accordingly and reverse your decision to hinder sports activities for youth by means of masking and draconian quarantine policies.