White House chief health adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci could not confirm on Monday that making young children wear masks would not have a “lasting negative impact” on them, only saying that “hopefully” it would not.
Fauci told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that people need to keep an “open mind” about masking after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation that unvaccinated children ages 2 and older wear masks.
The CDC also called on students in all K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks to slow the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
“It’s not comfortable, obviously, for children to wear masks, particularly the younger children,” Fauci said, according to Fox News.
“But you know, what we’re starting to see, Hugh, and I think it’s going to unfold even more as the weeks go by, that this virus not only is so extraordinarily transmissible, but we’re starting to see pediatric hospitals get more and more younger people and kids not only numerically, but what seems to be more severe disease,” he added.
“Now we’re tracking that, the CDC is tracking that really very carefully, so it’s going to be a balance that we would feel very badly if we all of a sudden said OK, kids, don’t wear masks, then you find out retrospectively that this virus in a very, very strange and unusual way is really hitting kids really hard,” Fauci continued.
“But hopefully, this will be a temporary thing, temporary enough that it doesn’t have any lasting negative impact on them,” he stated.
Hewitt, however, was not having any of it. He brought up a recent Wall Street Journal editorial that was titled “The Case Against Masks for Children.” In the piece, it was argued that forcing children to wear masks could have a negative impact on their development. It also said that there is little evidence to back up this kind of mandate for children.
“Facial expression are integral to human connection, particularly for younger children who are only learning how to signal fear, confusion and happiness,” Hewitt said. “Covering a child’s face mutes these nonverbal form of communications, can result in robotic and emotionless interaction. So, Doctor, what did you base it on? Why?”
Fauci fired back by alleging that the data cited in the editorial “dates back to the alpha variant, not necessarily all the most recent data on delta.”
“Delta is different,” he said. “We’d better go back and make sure those data are really solid the same way you’re asking me, and I will. I’ll go back to the CDC and make sure that the data that they’re talking about is really solid.”
“So let’s do both,” Fauci added. “Let’s just check both those things out and make sure we’re really talking about apples and apples and not apples and oranges, and make sure we’re talking about transmissibility of delta as we’re seeing what it’s doing right now. So I’ll just keep an open mind.”
This piece was written by James Samson on August 10, 2021. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.
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