White House Covid czar Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that removing masks from children right now is “risky” despite the country reporting a 42 percent drop in coronavirus cases.
“It is understandable why people want to remove the masks from children. But right now, given the level of activity we have, it’s risky,” Fauci told CNN on Thursday.
“Now we might get lucky because the trajectory is going down right now, and it could very well be that if you take the masks off the kids over the next week or so, it will continue to go down. But you must be careful.
Masks in schools have become one of the most controversial remaining Covid policies in America, with parents and teachers largely divided on the issue.
Fauci’s comments come as the Democratic states of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Nevada and Oregon have taken steps to eliminate mandatory school masks.
Leaders in California and New York have also begun easing coronavirus restrictions but continue to demand the use of masks in the educational environment.
The move comes as cases across the country have dropped another 42 percent over the past week, with the U.S. now averaging 128,989 new cases each day. America is now a month away from the surge, which peaked at about 800,000 cases a day in mid-January, and there is no indication that the number of cases will not continue to fall.
Dr. Anthony Fauci warned on Thursday that removing masks from children right now is “risky” despite the country reporting a 42 percent drop in coronavirus cases.
Fauci (right) said in an interview with CNN on Thursday: “It’s understandable why people want to remove their masks from children. But now, given the level of activity that we have, it is risky. We might get lucky now because the trajectory is going down right now, and it’s very likely that if you take the masks off the kids over the next week or so, it will continue to go down. But you must be careful.
On Wednesday, Fauci sang a different tune, saying it was time for the U.S. to start gradually returning to normal despite the ongoing risks associated with Covid.
Joe Biden’s chief medical officer argued leaders face tough choices as they seek to balance growing pandemic fatigue with the need to protect their citizens from infections.
“There is no perfect solution to this problem,” he told Reuters. “The fact that the world and the United States, and especially parts of the United States, are on par with Covid – they just really need to get their lives back somehow.”
However, he warned: “You don’t want to be reckless and throw everything aside, but you have to start slowly moving towards it.”
Fauci also acknowledged that while lifting restrictions could lead to more infections, maintaining a strict Covid policy is also damaging.
“The impact on mental health, the impact on the development of children, the impact on schools – is it balanced with trying to be completely untouched and protected from infection? I don’t have a correct answer to this question,” he said.
Dr. Fauci says it’s “risky” to remove masks from children. This is a complete and total lie. Huge data proves that masks on children had no effect on the coronavirus. This man is a disgrace. pic.twitter.com/KoU8OElkK1
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) February 17, 2022
Over the past week, cases across the country have dropped another 42 percent, and there are now an average of 128,989 new cases reported daily in the US.
Meanwhile, the Omicron surge continues to fade as about three-quarters of Americans are currently immune to the virus.
An Associated Press (AP) analysis shows that of the 80 million Americans infected with this variant and the 92 million Americans who received a booster shot, 73 percent of people in the US now have some immunity to the Omicron variant.
The decline in cases is leading many experts to believe that the Covid pandemic stage may be over and a “return to normal” may not be far off.
The list of states lifting virus-related restrictions also continues to grow as pressure mounts on governors to put the pandemic behind them.
This week, new Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is pushing his state’s legislators to end mandatory masks in schools from March 1. The Republican, who won last year’s election after being unexpectedly upset with former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, made school issues like masking a key part of his platform last year.
Covid cases are down in 49 of the 50 states, with Maine the only state seeing an increase. America is now a month away from the surge, which peaked at about 800,000 cases a day in mid-January, and there is nothing to indicate that the number of cases will not continue to fall.
One of the key metrics the CDC is tracking is the daily death toll from the virus, a figure that is finally starting to decline after a long lag in cases. The US averages 2,213 Covid deaths each day, down eight percent from the last week.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, also a Republican in a state generally considered “blue,” announced on Tuesday that any school that has a student vaccination rate of 80 percent or higher will also be allowed to drop mask-wearing requirements. Masks will also likely be removed from all enclosed public places in the near future.
Two states joined more than half a dozen others in deciding last week to either loosen or cancel their mask orders after Covid cases dropped almost everywhere in America.
Federal leaders, however, hesitated to follow suit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend universal mask-wearing in public schools and requires people to wear masks while traveling on planes and trains.
However, officials soon opened the door to lifting restrictions during a press briefing on Wednesday. White House Covid Response Coordinator Jeff Zients indicated that the federal government is already looking at life after Covid.
Hospitalization rates are also declining across the country.
An analysis by the Associated Press (AP) shows that between the 80 million Americans who were infected with this variant and the 92 million Americans who were boosted, 73 percent of people in the US now have some immunity to the Omicron variant.
States that DROPPED masks in schools
California – On February 15, vaccinated residents will no longer be required to wear masks in public spaces. Masks will still be worn in schools.
Connecticut – Schools will no longer require masks on Feb. 28
Delaware – On February 11, the requirement to wear masks in all closed public places, except for schools, will be lifted. The mandate for schools will be lifted on 31 March.
Illinois – On February 28, the requirement to wear masks in all enclosed public places will be lifted. Masks will still be worn in schools
Massachusetts – Schools will no longer require masks on February 28
Nevada – On February 10, the state lifted the mandatory use of masks in public and school settings.
New Jersey – Schools will no longer require masks on March 7
New York. On February 10, the state lifts the ban on the use of masks in closed public places. Masks are still required in schools
Oregon — On March 31, the state plans to expire the indoor mask mandate that applies to schools.
Rhode Island – Masks will no longer be required in schools from March 4th.
Vermont. As of February 15, any school with a student vaccination rate of 80 percent or higher can remove the requirement to wear masks.
Virginia. Governor Glenn Youngkin signed a mandatory wearing ban in Commonwealth schools on February 16. By March 1, schools must eliminate the wearing wear requirement.
“As a result of all this progress and the tools that we all have, we are moving towards a time when Covid is not a crisis, but something that we can protect against and recover from,” Zients said. “The President and our Covid team are actively planning for this future.”
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, did not say at the briefing that her agency plans to change the guidelines anytime soon, though there are reports that this is being considered and changes could come as early as next week.
“We want to give people a break from things like wearing masks when those rates improve, and then be able to turn to them again if things get worse,” Walensky explained.
“If and when we update our leadership, we will communicate it clearly. And it will be based on data and science.
One of the key metrics the CDC is tracking is the daily death toll from the virus, a figure that is finally starting to decline after a long lag in cases. In the US, an average of 2,213 people die every day from Covid, an eight percent decrease from the last week.
Covid cases are down in 49 of the 50 states, with Maine the only state seeing an increase. However, Pine Tree State continues to record very low infection rates. Over the past two weeks, the number of cases has halved in 45 states.
The state of Kentucky alone has more than 100 cases of Covid every day for every 100,000 residents. However, in the past two weeks, Bluegrass State has recorded a 45 percent drop, to 114 for every 100,000 people per day.
The number of states still reporting more than one daily Covid death per 100,000 residents has also dropped to six. Each state also has a vaccination rate of less than 60 percent.
Mississippi still leads the nation in Covid deaths, with 1.52 out of every 100,000 residents dying from the virus every day. Magnolia State also has one of the lowest vaccination rates in America, with only 51 percent of residents receiving the vaccine.
West Virginia (1.32 deaths per day per 100,000 inhabitants; vaccination rate 57 percent), Arkansas (1.24; 53), Oklahoma (1.23; 56), Idaho (1.1; 53), and South Carolina ( 1.08; 55) make up the rest of the countries. group.