Rebuking ignorance: A response to the spreading of misinformation among local social media

Dear Sarah,

Upon reading your opinion piece addressed to the local high school, of which my younger sibling is a student, I was deeply concerned with your point of view and the manor in which you expressed it. It is my belief that you have been misinformed on both the severity of this virus and the impact of face coverings on the safety of children. As I value civil and informed debate, I wish to rebuke the claims you have made so that you, and others in your position, might reconsider your opinions.

The first point made, the point upon which your argument is founded, is that scientists disagree over the efficacy of face masks in reducing the transmission of COVID19. Thisargument stems from a misunderstanding of the scientific process. In order for a consensus to be reached experts must argue, dispute and trial even the most minute details of a scientific claim. While this process is still underway, the overwhelming consensus is that face coverings and face masks do reduce the risk of droplet infection. The NHS promotes the use of face coverings in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and I can say with confidence that they do not promote face coverings without the backing of the medical community.

When I first read your claim that the virus is “not actually killing anyone on a pandemic scale” I was taken aback by what is either ignorance or a complete refusal to accept reality. To date over 41,500 deaths in the UK have been attributed, in some form, to COVID-19. Please consider that in the 2011 census, Lytham St.Annes had a population of 42,954. It appears to me that the human cost of this virus may have escaped you. If you have ever attended a concert at the Manchester Arena, please imagine that venue at peak capacity and then double it. To downplay the severity of this virus is to put more lives at unnecessary risk.

On the subject of your other points: First, I would like you to provide evidence for the claim that “no child has died that has not had other serious co-morbidity present” as my attempts to find your source has yielded no results. Second, I wish to refute your claim that “The WHO has said many times that asymptomatic people are not carriers”. Carriers of the virus are split into two groups: symptomatic, who show at least one of the symptoms, and asymptomatic, who do not show any of the symptoms. Therefore, to be asymptomatic requires one to be carrying the virus. Perhaps your point is that an asymptomatic carrier cannot transmit the virus. Unfortunately, this is again false. I urge you to scrutinise whatever sources have given you this information. As for the detrimental physical and mental consequences of face coverings in children, I would like to see the sources which have informed your opinion as I believe them to be dishonest and deceitful.

I do not wish to berate you for your views. I can sense that you, alongside the rest of this community are anxious about the ongoing global situation, be assured your anxieties are shared by many, including myself. I cannot escape the feeling that we are tasked with living in a somewhat pivotal time in our history. We, as a community and as a nation, must undergo these trying times united against the virus and not allow fear and undue scepticism to drive us further apart.

Owen.