While Canada is being rocked by its largest civilian protest ever (and convos around Israel joined in to show unity), Canadian and Israeli researchers joined in a study of the effects of COVID masks on children. A recent study led by researchers at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba and York University in Toronto found that wearing a mask hindered facial recognition in adults. The recent study concluded that this problem is even worse in children and that this could lead to social difficulties. The study coincides with worldwide mask-mandate reversals. Since the study comes from Israel, this phenomenon could be a fulfillment of a little-known prophecy of Isaiah that is a sign of the final redemption.
The best method for measuring face perception
Researchers used a children’s version of the Cambridge Face Memory Test, considered the best method for measuring face perception abilities in humans, to test the children’s ability to recognize faces with and without masks.
The study examined 72 children aged 6 -14, by showing them pictures of faces with or without masks, both upright and inverted.
They found that children’s face-perception abilities were impaired by 20% as compared to about a 15% rate for adults.
The natural method of facial recognition
Mask wearing has made it impossible for children to use the natural method of facial recognition which processes the face as a whole. Instead, the children learned to resort to an analytical approach for facial recognition when most parts of the face are covered.
The researchers wrote that difficulty in facial recognition due to masks in conjunction with social distancing “could potentially impact social interactions with peers and educators, as well as the ability to form important relationships.”
The holistic way faces are processed
“Faces are among the most important visual stimuli. We use facial information to determine different attributes about a person, including their gender, age, mood, and intentions. We use this information to navigate through social interactions,” said York University Assistant Professor Erez Freud, the study’s senior author. “Not only do masks hinder the ability of children to recognize faces, but they also disrupt the typical, holistic way that faces are processed.”
The study comes as many local governments in Canada and the US are repealing their mask mandates. On Monday, Oregon, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware announced they will end indoor mask requirements for public places and inside schools.
California, which has enforced draconian pandemic measures until now, just announced they will end their universal indoor mask mandate next week and roll back other restrictions. LA County will continue to enforce the mask mandate.
Removing the mandate
When asked on Monday about the lifting of the school mask mandate in New Jersey, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, pointed to C.D.C.’s guidance that masks can reduce virus transmission as justification for continued enforcement.
Though most provinces in Canada are still enforcing mask mandates, Saskatchewan and Alberta are moving to remove the mandate.
Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb in Jerusalem, noted that the Prophet Isaiah predicted that such a study leading to the removal of masks would emerge from Israel. He cited the verse:
And He will destroy on this mount the shroud That is drawn over the faces of all the peoples And the covering that is spread Over all the nations: Isaiah 25:7
The Hebrew word that is translated here as ‘shroud’ is masecha (מַּסֵּכָה) which literally means a mask.
Focused on Israel
“The Prophet Isaiah is telling us that the key to removing the masks will be focused on Israel, more specifically, Jerusalem,” Rabb Berger said. “Israel is a tiny country but we have played a major role in the global pandemic with the nations watching us carefully. And nothing has united that world like this pandemic. Everyone in the world knows what COVID is. This unifying experience is preparing the world for when ‘God will be One and His name will be One’.”
“Taking off the masks is the first step towards ending the pandemic,” Rabbi Berger said, citing the next verse in Isaiah.
He will destroy death forever. My Hashem will wipe the tears away From all faces And will put an end to the reproach of His people Over all the earth— For it is Hashem who has spoken. Isaiah 25:8
“Isaiah is describing the final ingathering when all the nations come to Jerusalem to praise hashem,” Rabbi Berger said. “But, as the Prophet Isaiah stated, nobody can come to Jerusalem wearing a mask. This is an allegory, meaning that people must come as their true selves, but also literally. We are already seeing that these masks are a visible declaration of a person’s belief. We are already seeing a new global community of people who believe in God who are easily identifiable by not wearing masks.”