New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that he will finally drop the mask requirements for children under five after suffering withering attacks from the city’s parents.
‘Throughout the current wave, schools have remained the safest places for our children and beginning Monday, June 13, we will make masks optional for 2-4 year old children in all early childhood settings,’ Adams said.
‘We still strongly recommend that New Yorkers of all ages continue to wear masks indoors and we will continue to make masks available for any child or school staff member who wishes to continue wearing them,’ he added.
The school year ends for New York City public schools on June 27.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said that he will drop the mask requirements for kids from 4 to 2 years old
For months parents in the city have accosted the mayor at public events, writing letters and holding rallies in front of City Hall, bidding Adams to drop the requirement, but deferred to health commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan who recommended keeping the requirement.
The World Health Organization has recommended against children under the age of five from wearing masks.
‘I’m with New York City parents and New Yorkers can trust this administration to continue to make the proper public health decisions to keep our kids safe,’ Adams said on Thursday.
Vasan said that the policy shift comes as cases have fallen 26 percent between May 23 and June 5.
‘Cases have fallen since May 23, giving us the confidence that we have passed the peak and we are heading into a safer environment,’ Vasan said in a tweet.
Hospitalizations and deaths have also dropped in the last week.
Hundreds of parents rallied to call for the end to the toddler mask mandate. A large demonstration outside City Hall in March (pictured) appeared to put on the pressure to axe the restriction until Adams decided to keep it in place amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases
New York had raised its Covid-19 alert level in mid-May after the latest strain of the virus showed it to be spreading rapidly through out the state.
Vasan’s tweets on Thursday indicated that the most recent wave of infections had crested.
Not a moment too soon for worried parents, who believed that children were suffering under the burden of masks.
‘It has become clear that we are masking our children like they are dogs wearing muzzles,’ former preschool teacher and mother Tara Murphy said in May.
‘It has become clear that we are masking our children like they are dogs wearing muzzles,’
New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan (above) said he was willing to meet with parents despite dozens of protesters coming to his home last month
A February study by the American Academy of Pediatricians found that children under five accounted for .026 percent of Covid-19 deaths in the US, three states reported no deaths in that age group.
The World Health Organization agreed.
‘In general, children aged five years and under should not be required to wear masks,’ according to the global health group’s website. ‘This advice is based on the safety and overall interest of the child and the capacity to appropriately use a mask with minimal assistance.’
A total of 347 children aged between 0 and four have died of COVID since the pandemic began, out of close to a million Americans recorded as dying of the virus.
Parents said they weren’t worried about Covid-19 as much as the impediments of the face coverings.
Maria Kubak, 36, a financial professional, who moved to New York from Brussels, has a four-year-old son who suffers from a language related phobia, called selective mutism, where he’s unable to speak in certain social situation.
His native language is French and she said that she fears that the constant masking will permanently inhibit him from learning English because masks muffle and cover the mouth, preventing him from hearing and seeing words being pronounced.
Another NYC mom, Daniela Jampel, who also worked as a lawyer for the city, was fired after she became outspoken about dropping the mask mandate.
‘I am extremely confident that the decision to terminate my employment was a result of my constitutionally protected speech regarding my views on mask mandates,’ Jampel said at the time.
The mayor had promised to drop the mask requirements for kids on April 4, but reversed himself as cases ticked up.
Children are NOT at serious risk from Covid, multiple studies show
Multiple studies have shown young children are not at serious risk from Covid-19.
Data from from American Academy of Pediatrics shows children accounted for about 19 percent of all COVID cases, but less than 0.26% of cases resulted in death.
A study from October found that around half of pediatric Covid cases are asymptomatic, and that was before the more mild Omicron variant became dominant in the U.S.
Hospitalizations of pediatric COVID patients are also rare.
A study in February, found the Pfizer vaccine was only 12% effective at preventing Omicron in five- to 11- year-olds.
The main argument in favor of vaccinating children is to prevent them from spreading the virus but researchers from University of Berlin found, on average, children release less Covid particles into the air. Experts believe people who release lower amounts of aerosol particles when speaking have smaller viral loads, which also means they do not spread the virus at the same level.
A state judge struck down the indefinite mask rule, calling it ‘arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable’ and therefore ‘void and unenforceable.’
Adams, however, successfully requested a stay on the mandate to pursue an appeal on the judge’s ruling.
On Thursday, the New York City mayor promised that this time he would lift the mandate for real.
‘I have always said that the science will guide us out of the pandemic, and because we have followed the data, which shows that cases are steadily falling, we’ve beaten back the latest COVID-19 surge. New Yorkers stepped up when we needed them most and have put us on the path to lower risk,’ Adams said.
In March, as part of his effort to jump start New York City’s economy, Adams negotiated a deal to allow professional athletes and public performers to work even if they had not been fully vaccinated.
In May, more than 200 parents of children attending the city’s schools signed a letter on Thursday demanding Adams and his health commissioner, Ashwin Vasan, hold a sit-down with them to discuss the mandate, the New York Post reported.
Infuriated parents sought answers from the mayor, but Adams has avoided any meeting with them while attending a plethora of social events, including a party with Cara Delevingne at the new One Vanderbilt skyscraper, as well as a trip to see Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband Matthew Broderick appear in Broadway play Plaza Suite.
Adams has also been seen frequenting the elite, members-only club Zero Bond, where he was pictured hanging out with supermodel Naomi Campbell and Grammy award-winning singer Jon Batiste on April 28.
The mayor’s most recent outing saw him rubbing shoulders with the elite, once again, while he attended the Met Gala last week.
While Adams’ partying fueled parents ire, Vasan has also drawn backlash for backing the mayor’s restriction policies and claiming the toddler mask mandate will stay ‘indefinitely.’
The comment caused more than 100 parents to protest outside City Hall in April while dozens of others held demonstrations outside Vasan’s home where they allegedly hurled death threats at the health commissioner.
The parents who signed a letter last month condemned the personal attacks on Vasan and hoped the officials would be willing to meet with them after commenting that he would be glad to speak with parents face-to-face in a non-hostile setting.
One parent posted a photo on Twitter of her young son making his own plea on his facemask