I help run a Facebook page that supports COVID-19 safety measures in my kids' school district. We established it when local parents in the Open Schools Now movement were pushing to get teachers back into classrooms in Dec 2019/Jan 2020, when we knew a vaccine was on the way, but teachers were not yet eligible to receive it. Teachers felt constantly under attack by parents who seemed entirely willing to disregard teachers' health and lives so their own children could be in classrooms--and out of their houses.

As the pandemic has progressed, some of these same parents have agitated against mitigation measures such as masking and testing, arguing that "children don't get COVID-19," "masking is more harmful to children than COVID-19," and that "testing produces a small percentage of false positives and is therefore pointless." To support their arguments, they post articles by the minority of "health experts" that defy the majority consensus of doctors, epidemiologists, and public health officials on how to prevent the virus from spreading.

Most disturbingly, they try to convince people that COVID-19 poses no threat to them if they do not have preexisting conditions, are not elderly, and are not "obese." They therefore imply that anyone who is in these categories is somehow unworthy of protection from the virus. This argument also ignores the realities for many of our immigrant families, who live in multigenerational households.

I posted Dr. Nichols's Twitter thread to the page this morning with the following commentary:

"Public health is different from individual health. While any one person can control their own individual health risks and exposures, that person will still share the environment with everyone around them: family members, co-workers, the cashier at the grocery store, the nurses and staff at their doctor's office, nearby patrons at a restaurant.

"Ending a pandemic--whether through elimination of the virus or effective management to bring infections down to the green level--will take all of us working together.

"We can only work together effectively if we share the same understanding of the dangers of the virus and how to mitigate the risks.

"We also need to agree that every life in our community is valuable. Every child is someone's child. Every elder has a family who loves and cares about them. Every person undergoing treatment for cancer has a right to fight for their life.

"That's what this page stands for. Let's get through this TOGETHER."

Writer, activist, inclusion and equity consultant. Parenting, immigration, LGBTQ+, racial justice. Patreon.com/jorjorian. Pub list: www.anooshjorjorian.com.

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