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New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Friday that masking will continue in “all settings with children under 5 years of age,” including in classrooms.
Adams previously announced that masking would no longer be required for children in schools K-12 starting March 7.
“Schools have remained among the safest places in the city throughout this pandemic, with record low numbers of infections,” he said on Twitter.
The mayor also revealed a new COVID-19 “alert level” system, which concludes that New York is currently at low-risk for community spread.
“Masks will continue to be required for all settings with children under 5 years of age, including programs contracted by the New York City Department of Education with 3- and 4-year-old children as well as 3K and 4K classrooms in district schools,” he said on Twitter. Political commentators and personalities were quick to criticize the decision.
Many on Twitter said the decision was “child abuse.” Fox News’ Janice Dean gave the announcement a thumbs down and noted that it was over for everyone else except for young children.
Joel Petlin, a school superintendent who has been outspoken on the matter, pointed to World Health Organization (WHO) guidance that came out 18 months ago, which said that it was unnecessary to mask kids under the age of 5. He called on Adams to “unmask the preschoolers.”
Another said people should “escape from New York” while they still can.
Adams was sworn in as the Mayor of New York City in January after defeating Republican Curtis Sliwa.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently changed its mask recommendations after several Democrat-lead states decided to ease restrictions.
Under the new CDC guidance, most Americans no longer have to wear a mask indoors as most communities are deemed to be low risk.