While the CDC has relaxed mask guidance, the mask wars are not over.
The CDC says vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks in most cases, but unvaccinated should continue to wear masks. Of the total population of the U.S., there are 37.8% currently fully vaccinated — 47.9% of those 18 and older, and 73% of those 65 and older.
Rochelle Walensky said studies showed vaccines protect more than 90% of recipients against any symptoms of COVID-19, prevent nearly all serious disease and death, and even block most asymptomatic cases.
But a USA Today survey showed that about 60% of those asked said they will still wear a mask while shopping, because they don’t trust others.
Readers said they are worried about breakthrough infections and variants, and protecting children who can’t get vaccinated and those with weakened immune systems for whom the vaccine may be less effective.
As of May 19, there have been 3.2 million cases of COVID-19 in children, according to the CDC. That is about 12% of cases. But statistics show hospitalization and death are uncommon in children. As of Wednesday, there had been 390 deaths of children from COVID-19. The percentage of deaths for 0- to 4-year-olds is less than 0.1%; for 5- to 17-year-olds, it’s 0.1%.
“The chances of a child contracting and spreading the virus is a lot lower than it is for adults,” said Cole Beeler, medical director of infection prevention at IU Health University Hospital. “Children just haven’t been affected in the same way older people have.”
And yet parents are struggling with allowing their unvaccinated children to mingle with unvaccinated adults.
“My husband and I are both fully vaccinated, but we have children too young to receive the vaccine,” wrote Erin Eilskov, 43, mom to two kids ages 10 and 8. “While the risk of them contracting a serious case of COVID-19 is low, there is still a chance. Wearing a mask seems like such a small task to help keep them safe. Plus, I wouldn’t want to confuse them by forcing them to wear a mask in a store, but me not do it.”
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