Why Is Stacey Abrams the Only Unmasked Person in This Photo?
The children have less to fear from COVID-19 than she does.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams visited an elementary school in Decatur, Georgia, on Friday. In a photo from the visit, Abrams is the only unmasked person; she is surrounded by a sea of masked children.
No one languishes under stricter COVID-19 mitigation measures more than the nation's young people, even though the disease poses a far lower statistical risk to them. (Abrams, given her age and weight, would theoretically be in a higher risk category. But since she is vaccinated, she has little to fear from COVID-19.) All across the country, adults are permitted to be unmasked in a variety of circumstances, but many schools—particularly public schools in areas controlled by Democrats—remain mask-militant.
There are plenty of reasons to be concerned that forcing students to wear masks eight hours a day, five days a week, for two years might be detrimental to their social and emotional wellbeing. It would be hard to imagine this level of masking not having an effect on the quality of education. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are concerned that masks might make it difficult for kids to learn to read. Clearly, some students struggle to understand their teachers when they're wearing masks.
Indeed, in defending her decision to be masked, an Abrams' spokesperson said that "she wore a mask to the event and only removed it so she could be heard by students watching remotely and for a handful of photos on the condition that everyone around her was wearing face-coverings" (emphasis mine).
Abrams lashed out at her critics for pouncing on the mask issue. "It is shameful that our opponents are using a Black History Month reading event for Georgia children as the impetus for a false political attack, and it is pitiful and predictable that our opponents continue to look for opportunities to distract from their failed records when it comes to protecting public health during the pandemic," she wrote on Instagram.
If anyone should feel shame here, it's those political figures who keep exposing themselves as hypocrites on COVID-19 mitigation efforts.