Herrera Beutler presses CDC director on mask guidance
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, pressed the director of the Centers for Disease Control this week on whether young kids should wear face masks.
In a recorded House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing Wednesday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky reaffirmed the importance of mask-wearing despite what Herrera Beutler called a “muddle of information” surrounding the best practices.
“It causes some real challenges on, how do we provide leadership in our communities with regards to what to do?” Herrera Beutler said, adding that children under 4 years old have accounted for just 1.3 percent of recorded COVID-19 cases.
“Science is our base… I believe that. But the science doesn’t show that our children are at high risk,” Herrera Beutler said. “Why are we making the kids bear this burden?”
Current CDC guidance recommends that children older than 2 years old wear face masks in public places and around people who aren’t in their households. Those younger than 12 aren’t eligible for vaccinations.
Herrera Beutler added she was concerned about how mask wearing impacts their social and emotional development.
“They’re at low risk for getting it, they’re at even lower risk for hospitalizations, they’re at low risk for spreading it. So why are we making them mask?” Herrera Beutler asked.
Walensky replied that COVID-19 transmission rates are complex, and that recommendations have been evolving based on the best information available.
“Things that we knew a year ago are different now,” Walensky said.
Based on current studies, Walensky said, young children wearing face masks is still the safest practice.
“There are still transmissions associated with young children. They have been vectors of transmission for older people,” Walensky said.
Herrera Beulter posted the full exchange to her Facebook page.