Camping’s COVID Killjoys

by Kerry Dougherty

Someone call a lawyer. I have whiplash.

Happens every time I try to make sense make of America’s top health “experts” and their contradictory opinions, which have a peculiar way of becoming policy. Especially in blue states with governors eager to please the president.


Just this past weekend, for instance, Dr. Anthony Fauci was in his usual place: The make-up chair at one of the Sunday news shows.

Later, on air with George Stephanopoulis, Fauci conceded that the chance of contracting or spreading Covid-19 outdoors was very, very slim and hinted that the CDC would be issuing new recommendations regarding the wearing of masks outside. (President Biden is due to make read a statement on masks today.)

“What I believe you’re going to be hearing, what the country is going to be hearing soon, is updated guidelines from the CDC,” Fauci told ABC’s Sunday program “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.” “The CDC is a science-based organization. They don’t want to make any guidelines unless they look at the data and the data backs it up.”

“But when you look around at the common sense situation, the risk is really low, especially if you’re vaccinated,” he said.

I hesitate to point this out, but lots of us knew this a year ago, back when Gov. Ralph Northam foolishly outlawed sunbathing and then beach volleyball, lest anyone get sick and die from touching a COVID-tainted ball.

But just as Fauci was signaling that perhaps the CDC was getting ready to tell all the masked up bikers and hikers to lose the outdoor face diapers, these same experts issued conflicting guidelines for summer camps.

Bizarre ones at that.

The CDC now recommends that kids stay masked up – AT CAMP – unless they’re swimming, napping or eating. When sleeping, they should be distanced and arranged head to foot. When eating in a dining hall they should stay six feet apart.

Sounds more like the Hanoi Hilton than summer camp.

NPR reported on the guidelines this way:

Everyone in camp facilities must wear well-fitting masks at all times, with exceptions for certain activities such as eating, drinking and swimming.

The guidance recommends disposable masks or cloth masks with two or more layers of fabric. It suggests creating cohorts, or groups of campers and staff that stay together throughout the day, and limiting exposure between them. Camps should require at least 3 feet between campers within a cohort, while 6 feet of distance is required in other situations, including during mealtimes and between campers and staff. … It also suggests modifying a number of activities and traditions for safety’s sake, such as avoiding group activities where distance cannot be maintained, limiting nonessential visits from other individuals and organizations.

Seems that in their never-ending quest to teach American children obedience to the government, the CDC is trying to turn one of the best things about being a child — summer camp — into a miserable, abnormal experience.

What is wrong with these people?

If I’ve seen the data and can figure out that kids are at very little risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus, surely the lab-coat crowd has seen it too.

If ever children craved a chance to escape the neuroses of adults, it’s now. If ever they needed summer camp it’s in 2021. These guidelines are a form of child abuse. It needs to stop.

Let’s hope camp directors ignore the CDC’s wacky not-following-the-science advice and do what they’re supposed to do: Provide campers — who’ve had a tough year — with a place to have fun.

That means letting kids be kids. Without masks. Without distancing. Without worries.