During an appearance on CNN Tuesday, Director of the National Institutes of Health Francis Collins urged vaccinated parents to wear masks at home when around their unvaccinated children.
In a subsequent tweet, however, Collins backtracked on the statement, clarifying that “vaccinated parents who live in communities with high COVID transmission rates should mask when out in public indoor settings to minimize risks to their unvaccinated kids. No need to mask at home.”
The CDC’s mask guidance reversal, released last week, directs some vaccinated individuals to start wearing masks again in public indoor spaces in areas of the country with high infection rates.
“That’s the reason why the recommendations are for kids under twelve that they avoid being in places where they might get infected which means recommendations of mask-wearing in schools and at home. Parents of unvaccinated kids should be thoughtful about this and the recommendation is to wear masks there as well. I know that’s uncomfortable, I know that seems weird, but that’s the best way to protect your kids,” Collins originally said on CNN.
NIH director Francis Collins: “It may sound weird” but parents should wear masks at home in front of their unvaccinated kids pic.twitter.com/ZKt8czU5aP
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) August 3, 2021
As justification for his statement, the director pointed to recent positive COVID cases in young kids while admitting that adverse health complications among this demographic are “rare.”
“It’s clear that this variant is capable of causing serious illness in children. You have heard those stories coming out of Louisiana pediatric ICUs where there are kids as young as a few months old that are sick from this,” he commented. “That is rare, certainly younger people are less likely to fall ill, but anybody who tries to tell you ‘You don’t have to worry about it if you’re a young healthy person,’ there’s many counter examples all around us.”
Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated that children are at an extremely low risk of dying or suffering severe health consequences from the disease and may even be at a lower risk than vaccinated adults.
A comprehensive study from July obtained by the Wall Street Journal indicated that a child’s odds of surviving a COVID infection is 99.995 percent, adding that there is no evidence as of yet that the Delta variant causes more severe illness or death among children.
In addition, it is now widely accepted that school transmission is low, weakening the argument of teachers’ unions and concerned health officials that return to in-person instruction from remote learning could still endanger faculty and students.