Blue states cite falling COVID-19 cases, not new studies, to justify mask mandate
More Democrat governors are scaling back mask mandates
Several Democrat-led states are finally scaling back on masking requirements, citing declining COVID-19 case numbers for the changes rather than scientific evidence that they are not needed.
In recent days, New Jersey , New York , California, Connecticut, Oregon and Delaware have all announced new masking policies for at least some places or segments of the population.
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“We felt with a four-week runway, based on our dropping in cases, hospitalizations, in-school transmission, increasing in vaccinations, God willing the under-5 kids being eligible sooner than later, a little bit warmer weather a month from now — that combination has allowed us to take this step,” New Jersey Gov.Phil Murphy told MSNBC earlier this week.Murphy is lifting his state’s mask mandate for schools and day cares effective March 7.
Similarly, Connecticut is eliminating its statewide mandate by Feb.28, leaving it up to local school officials to decide what is best for their students.Gov.Ned Lamont, like Murphy, also pointed to case numbers and vaccinations.
“Connecticut is seeing a dramatic decline in cases caused by the Omicron variant, and children over the age of 5 have had the ability to get vaccinated for more than three months now,” Lamont said in a statement Monday.
“With this in mind, I think we are in a good position to phase out the requirement that masks be worn in all schools statewide and shift the determination on whether to require this to the local level.”
‘Much better place’
In Delaware , the statewide school mask mandate will expire at the end of March.For other indoor public places, masks will no longer be required as of Feb.
“We’re in a much better place than we were several weeks ago,” Gov.John Carney tweeted before adding, “We have the tools to keep ourselves and each other safe.Get vaccinated.Get your booster.That’s especially important for children, where we continue to see low rates of vaccination.”
California and New York are not lifting school mask mandates yet, but they are easing restrictions elsewhere.The Golden State is letting its indoor mask mandate expire next week for those who are vaccinated.The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) pointed to lower rates of spread and hospitalizations since the height of the omicron variant, as well as the existence of pharmaceutical options.
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“Omicron has loosened its hold on California, vaccines for children under 5 are around the corner, and access to COVID-19 treatments is improving,” Dr.Tomás J.
Aragón, California’s public health officer, said in a statement.”With things moving in the right direction, we are making responsible modifications to COVID-19 prevention measures, while also continuing to develop a longer-term action plan for the state.”
Masks were “effective” in explaining why the school requirement remains in effect, the CDPH still maintained.
“California’s common sense policies like masking have resulted in some of the lowest COVID rates and closures,” the agency told Fox News.”Schools, unlike other settings do not have testing or vaccine verification requirements and as such, indoor masking remains an effective way to reduce spread.”
New York Gov.Kathy Hochul also pointed to downward trends in cases, positivity rate, and hospitalizations in support of her decision to lift a mask mandate for indoor businesses.
“This is trending in a very, very good direction,” Hochul said at a Wednesday news briefing.
When asked why high schools, where there are high levels of vaccinations, are being treated differently from businesses, Hochul said students are in “a very concentrated setting” without much freedom of movement, and “adults can make their own decision.”
The above states point to trends in infection rates and hospitalizations as well as the existence of vaccines and treatments, which have been in existence for months or longer.
Fox News asked California, Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware if their decisions were based on any new data.Only California responded, only to say that “the state has experienced a 65% decrease in case rates,” with no mention of data specifically dealing with masks.
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A recent study released by Johns Hopkins University indicates that pandemic restrictions like lockdowns and non-pharmaceutical interventions like mask mandates had “little to no effect on COVID-19 mortality.”
Additionally, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated in January that cloth masks, commonly worn by many Americans, provide the least amount of protection , The Mayo Clinic said in late December that patients and visitors could no longer wear only a cloth mask and must have a medical-grade face covering.While they recognized that some cloth masks could provide sufficient protection, many commonly worn types did not..