More than 30 Republican lawmakers have asked the CDC to clarify why it recommends that kids over two wear face masks. Their request came after video of a tearful mother demanding her school board lift its mask mandate went viral.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended in March 2020 that every American over the age of two wear a face mask, just weeks after medical experts advised against the use of masks entirely. Since then, hundreds of states and localities have based their own mask policies on the CDC’s guidelines, and President Joe Biden made these guidelines law on federal property and interstate and public transit with an executive order in January.
“The implementation of these recommendations has had serious consequences for some Americans,” read a letter from the Republicans to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Thursday.
Citing horror stories of families being booted off planes for not masking their toddlers and the struggle by some parents to mask their disabled children, the Republicans demanded that Walensky explain the scientific rationale behind the guidelines, given that multiple studies have shown children are less likely to contract and transmit the virus, and account for a tiny minority of the US’ Covid-19 cases.
“The CDC’s mandate that children as young as 2-years-old must wear facemasks is among the most stringent face mask age requirements in the world,” they wrote, asking Walensky whether the CDC would be willing to “modify and update” its guidance.
Among the letter’s signatories were prominent GOP Senators Rand Paul (Kentucky) and Ted Cruz (Texas), as well as firebrand Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene (Georgia). Paul is one of the most ardent critics of the Biden administration’s Covid policies among them, and is one of three qualified doctors to sign the letter, along with Sen. Roger Marshall (Kansas) and Rep. Ronny Jackson (Texas).
While some Republican-run states – Florida, Arkansas, and North Dakota, for example – have banned mask mandates, much of the country remains under the CDC’s guidelines. Parents whose children are forced to wear masks all day in school have spoken out, and before the Republicans sent their letter on Thursday, one Georgia mother went viral for grilling her local school board at a meeting earlier this month.
This is Courtney Ann Taylor, a mother in Georgia. She’s one of the many parents who’ve HAD IT with mask mandates, especially for young kids in school.Share this video! pic.twitter.com/pyG3fYmgVI
— Errol Webber (@ErrolWebber) April 22, 2021
“Every one of us knows that young children are not affected by this virus, and that’s a blessing,” she said, voice trembling. “But as the adults what have we done with that blessing? We’ve shoved it to the side and we’ve said, ‘we don’t care. You’re still going to wear a mask on your face every day.”
“It’s April 15, 2021, and it’s time. Take these masks off of my child,” she thundered, to some applause from other parents.
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