It was probably inevitable, but we have officially reached the “fuck them kids” stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest confrontation over mask mandates in schools reveals the utter hypocrisy and selfishness of the “pro-life” GOP, who are fine sacrificing our kids’ health if it means their dead bodies will pave the way to Republican control of Congress and fuel their unending, counter-majoritarian culture war. During Black History Month, Republican leaders are more comfortable with our kids getting COVID than reading a book written by a Black author talking about white supremacy and diversity. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin—who has already banned “divisive concepts” from being taught in schools as part of the right’s disingenuous “critical race theory” panic—is now just one vote away from the Virginia Senate adding an amendment to ban mask mandates in Virginia schools. North Carolina Republicans are set to file a bill in the House to ban schools from mask mandates. In liberal San Francisco, voters overwhelmingly recalled three school board members revealing their frustration over admission policies, school reopenings, and the renaming of schools. Not surprisingly, the grassroots movement has received major funding from conservatives, who are using the local school crisis as a national springboard to attack public schools and replace local school board officials. Schools, and our children in particular, have become the unfortunate but effective political pawns for a right-wing movement seeking to convert parents’ pandemic frustrations, fears, and anxiety into 2022 midterm votes. Although the right often points to studies showing the low COVID risks and death rates of children, the CDC revealed in a report this week that children up to the age of 4 were especially vulnerable to the Omicron variant. The hospitalization rates per 100,000 children in that age group were five times higher during Omicron’s peak as compared to Delta’s peak. Also, we are still learning about the detrimental impacts of long COVID both in children and adults. As Jeanne Craft, president of the New Jersey chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, recently said, “Saying that children are less likely to die of COVID, less likely to get severely sick from COVID, doesn’t mean that they can’t and that they don’t.” The reality is that nearly a third of this country is still unvaccinated—and, yes, they are largely Republican—and there are breakthrough cases even among us who are vaccinated and boosted. Our communities consist of elders and those who are immunosuppressed, such as my 5-year old daughter who is a cancer survivor and still struggling to build antibodies to the vaccine. A new study last week revealed that the risk of heart disease soars after contracting even a mild case of COVID-19. Last month, more than 60,000 Americans died from this virus. Also, allow me to remind everyone that there are still no vaccines for children under the age of five, who can still be infected and transmit the virus. But, fuck them kids! Am I right? I mean we have to placate some of our selfish Americans who are just “done” with COVID and others who write in august publications to just “end COVID restrictions.” Unfortunately, several Democratic governors agree with them, just as America approaches the milestone of 1 million dead before April. Leaders in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Ore . . . read the full article here.