Mask mandate changes cause of concern as COVID cases rising


(NewsNation) — While some Americans are celebrating the end of most mask mandates, there’s also growing concern for populations still vulnerable to the COVID19 virus —  particularly the immunocompromised and the littlest Americans who don’t have an FDA-approved vaccine or booster yet.

Klaudia Czaplinska and her little girl Dahlia, who flew into Atlanta on Tuesday, chose to keep their masks, even though they’ve both have already gotten the jab.

“I wouldn’t be flying with her if she wasn’t vaccinated. I think it’s a risk, regardless of masking or not,” Czaplinsksa told NewsNation’s Janel Forte on Tuesday’s “Rush Hour.”

Another passenger and her little one chose to ditch the face coverings on their flight Tuesday morning, though not without some misgivings.

“It was cool ’cause I didn’t have to wear a mask so I could breathe,” she said. But she added that with rising COVID-19 cases, “I don’t think it was right to (remove the mask mandate) right now.”

The removal of the mandate comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended the federal mask mandate for public transportation until May, citing the rising seven-day average for COVID-19 cases since March.

The new Ba.2 omicron subvariant is responsible for the vast majority of thoes cases.

Jerome Adams, the former Trump administration surgeon general, blasted the decision in a tweet Monday saying that if he were writing a headline announcing the news, it would read, “federal judge says kids under 5 with chronic illnesses, stay home, or you’re on your own!”

While not echoing the same level of distress, Dr. Kristin Englund — an infectious disease specialist — told NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” on Tuesday that concern regarding some travelers is warranted.

“I think parents with children under the age 5, as well as well as a number of people who have weakened immune systems — maybe elderly — may have a number other health issues that put them at higher risk for getting a severe case of COVID, all have a right to be concerned at this point in time,” Englund said.

“It’s important for them to always keep a mask in their pocket, if not on their face, so that if they get into a situation where they’re uncomfortable, they can put their mask on,” she continued.

Only time will tell what the implications of this ruling will be. In the meantime, parents are going to have to make a decision if the risk is worth making those trips.

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