Members of Congress Question Why CDC Recommends Masks for Children as Young as 2

Members of Congress Question Why CDC Recommends Masks for Children as Young as 2
School children walk outside Condit Elementary School in Bellaire, outside Houston, Texas, on Dec. 16, 2020. (François Picard/AFP via Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

A bicameral group of legislators is questioning why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children as young as 2 wear masks.

The CDC first recommended that children aged 2 years or older wear masks in March 2020, advice that many states based their masking rules on. In January, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that all airports, trains, and many buses follow the CDC’s masking recommendations.

“The implementation of these recommendations has had serious consequences for some Americans. Multiple parents of young children have been removed from flights, and in some instances, permanently banned, from future travel on the airline they were flying due to their toddler’s refusal to wear a mask,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and the other lawmakers wrote to the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

“These unfortunate events have occurred despite the parents’ best attempts to have their child cooperate with the mask requirement, which is a struggle millions of parents have faced this past year. For parents of children with disabilities, compliance has proved almost impossible, resulting in increased social isolation and negative mental health consequences,” they added.

The CDC’s advice is among the most strict in the world. In a number of European countries, children under 11 years old do not have to wear masks.

Legislators noted that scientists and studies have repeatedly noted the lower rates of COVID-19 infection and transmission among young children.

Given that evidence, they asked Walensky to provide the basis for the CDC’s recommendations, including specific studies the agency used, and asked if there were plans to update its recommendations on mask wearing as new information emerges.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) speaks during a hearing in Washington on Nov. 17, 2020. (Bill Clark/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) speaks during a hearing in Washington on Nov. 17, 2020. (Bill Clark/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Thirty-two Republican lawmakers signed the letter, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), and Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.).

The CDC did not respond to a request for comment.

Walensky was not questioned on the masking guidance during a virtual briefing she took part in on Friday.

Some experts have also wondered why young children are being made to wear masks.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University told The Epoch Times in a recent interview that a cost-benefit view of making children wear masks shows little benefit but much harm, noting that children have unique developmental needs that are impaired by wearing masks and being around people donning the coverings.
The World Health Organization recommends no masks be required to be worn by children up to 5 years old and that policymakers weigh different facts when mulling whether to impose mask requirements on children between ages 6 and 11, such as the intensity of transmission of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19.

Others have pushed mask wearing for even young children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, for instance, says that children aged 2 and older should wear masks in childcare, at school, and any other places they cannot stay 6 feet away from each other.
Methods for getting children to wear masks properly include letting them choose the style of mask, giving them breaks from wearing a mask, and regularly cleaning the coverings, according to Dr. Susan Coffin, an attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Parents can consider face shields as a mask alternative.
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at [email protected]
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