GOP lawmakers question CDC on mask guidance for young kids

GOP lawmakers question CDC on mask guidance for young kids
© Greg Nash

House and Senate Republicans are questioning the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) rationale in recommending mask wearing for children as young as two years old.  

In a letter sent to CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Voting rights week for Democrats (again) Overnight Health Care — Biden faces pressure from Democrats on COVID-19 Walensky says she will improve CDC messaging amid criticism MORE on Thursday, Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSchumer ramps up filibuster fight ahead of Jan. 6 anniversary Juan Williams: The GOP is an anti-America party Manchin faces pressure from Gillibrand, other colleagues on paid family leave MORE (R-Utah), Rep. Jason SmithJason Thomas SmithDon't just delay student debt, prevent it Nunes resignation sets off GOP scramble on Ways and Means The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - New vaccine mandate in NYC; Biden-Putin showdown MORE (R-Mo.) and a group of 28 other Republicans asked for information on how the agency came to make its recommendation, especially given the scientific evidence that kids that young are far less susceptible to COVID-19 infection than adults, or even older children.

"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," the Republicans wrote.

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The lawmakers noted that the CDC's recommendation is among the most stringent face mask age requirements in the world; the United Kingdom and France exempt children under the age of 11, while Italy’s exemption is for those younger than six years old.

"The significantly lower age requirement for mask wearing in the United States raises questions about the susceptibility of young children to COVID-19, the rate at which they transmit the disease, and their developmental ability to comply with mask requirements," the lawmakers wrote.

According to current CDC guidance, the agency "recognizes that wearing masks may not be possible in every situation or for some people. Correct and consistent use of masks may be challenging for some children, such as children with certain disabilities, including cognitive, intellectual, developmental, sensory and behavioral disorders."

The CDC first made the recommendation in March 2020, and many states and localities have based their mask mandate age requirements on it.