School mask mandates, IRS and Leslie Jones | Daily skimming

Why aren’t you in uniform?

The story

Democratic States cancel mask mandates.

Where are we ?

Nine states currently require masks indoors, including in schools. All are led by Dems. In recent months, other states have let their mask mandates expire…if they had any to begin with. Yesterday New Jersey, Connecticut, Oregon and Delaware said “we are rolling them back”, ending school mask mandates later this month or next.

Why now?

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are down. Meanwhile, an FDA advisory committee is meeting next week to talk about COVID-19 vaccines for children under five. It comes as a poll shows some Americans longing for a return to normalcy. Especially if the politicians who enforce the rules don’t follow them. But that’s only one side of the coin.

Tell me the POVs.

The evidence is clear: high-quality, well-fitting masks (hi, N95) can block 95% of airborne particles. But many children wear cloth masks. And fiddle with them, wear them under your nose, you name it. Some research shows that masks can impact speech development in young children. And for hearing-impaired children, masks can cut off lip-reading, making learning and socializing them more difficult.

What about teachers?

A 2020 study found that one in four teachers (think: nearly 1.5 million people) have an illness that puts them at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19. But teachers — like almost everyone — are divided on the topic of masks. Meanwhile, children are still at risk for COVID-19. Pediatric hospitalizations soared during the Omicron wave. And childhood immunization rates remain low.

What happens next?

Many states leave it to the districts to decide. Others like New York could follow suit.


School mask mandates have proven to divide parents, school boards and just about everyone. Republican states have gone maskless for a while. Now, Democrats say “it might be time to reconsider”.

And Also…This

Who said “cameras off”…

Theirs. Yesterday he was saying “oops nevermind” about using facial recognition. Last year, the Treasury Department tapped – an identity verification company – to require taxpayers to set up facial recognition technology before accessing their online accounts. Because, fraud and identity theft. But something about a private company having this data didn’t make too many people happy, including lawmakers across the aisle. Now the IRS is working to find another way to authenticate people. Maybe like asking the name of our first pet.

Which holds everyone’s attention…

Peng Shuai. Yesterday, a French sports newspaper published an interview with the Chinese tennis star, who announced that she was retiring. Peng has been in the news since last year after accusing a former Communist Party official of sexual assault. Peng disappeared from the public eye for weeks. But later she made public appearances and backtracked on her allegations. Now she says she ‘never disappeared’ and it was all a ‘huge misunderstanding’. His comments left many people worried.

What is one step at a time…

Electrodes. A new study yesterday found that electrode pads help paralyzed people gain movement. Three participants reportedly had 16-electrode devices implanted between their vertebrae and the spinal cord membrane – receiving current from a pacemaker. And are remote controlled from a tablet. The research has been going on for three decades. Now all three are able to stand, walk, swim and ride a bike. About 17,000 Americans suffer a spinal cord injury each year. And this latest development could give hope to many.

Who is preparing for take-off…

Border and Spirit. Yesterday the two biggest low-cost carriers announced they were merging to become the country’s fifth-largest airline. Maybe the deal can include free snacks and water.

Who is not nominated for a Razzie Award…

Leslie Jones.

Skim more: This is not the only controversy surrounding the Winter Olympics. Here’s what else you need to know.

Skimmed by Rashaan Ayesh, Kate Gilhool, Julie Shain and Mariza Smajlaj

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