In a recent interview with New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the leader was pressed on what he would say to a young child that still has to wear a mask, while a hypothetical older sibling gets to go without.
"If you were talking to a four-year-old and they’re trying to explain why they have to keep their mask on but their six-year-old brother doesn’t, what is your explanation to that four-year-old?" asked Spectrum News NY1 host Pat Kiernan.
"Have you said that because when I was in Rockaway in the St. Patrick's Day parade? I did just that. A group of parents brought me, and talk to their children and explain to them, I told them, 'you're going to be taking off your mask like your big brothers and sisters are doing now, you know, when you have big brothers and sisters, sometimes they do things first to make sure it's safe for you,'" Adams responded.
"And those children, they understand it because they trust their parents and they trust the leadership. They're not tainted, like adults. They still feel that we have to make the right decisions for them," Adams added. "And I'm with the parents. I want those masks off. I said it in January, but I have to do it right to make sure our city protects its children and don't close down the city again."
The question comes after Adams announced that week that vaccine requirements and school mask mandates would be dropped in the city for everyone, except those between the ages of three and four would still be required to don their masks.
"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," Adams said, despite saying that schools have remained "among the safest places in the city throughout this pandemic, with record low numbers of infections."
Pediatric cases have remained low throughout the pandemic, with children between birth and the age of four generally having some of the lowest case numbers.
During the peak of the omicron surge at the beginning of this year, there were 906.6 cases per 100,000 people, peaking one week later than the majority of the population at 962.7 cases per 100,000 people, according to CDC data.
This is compared to the next age group of, ages five to 11, which peaked at 1427.9 cases per 100,000 people.
Hospitalization rates for this age group have remained among the lowest in the general population throughout the pandemic, with only the five to 17 age group coming in lower.
During the omicron surge, hospitalizations peaked at 14.6 per 100,000 people, according to CDC data.
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