U.S. Surgeon General advises parents with young children to mask up at home

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murtha advised in an interview with MSNBC on Friday that parents with small children should be wearing a mask even while at home amid rising cases of a new COVID-19 variant that does not appear to be infecting kids at any appreciable rate.

“So the people that we’re most concerned about are the unvaccinated,” Murthy further explained in response to a question from host Andrea Mitchell about the potential spread of the virus to people who are vaccinated.

“For example, if you happen to have a lot of interaction with folks who are unvaccinated, let’s say you’re a parent like me who has young children at home who are not vaccinated, that’s a circumstance where we’re being extra cautious and wearing that mask even if you’re fully vaccinated, wearing it outside, when you’re in indoor public locations, is an extra step to protecting those at home.”

“I want to emphasize though that if you are vaccinated the likelihood of having a breakthrough infection is still low because, again, the vaccines are working to help prevent infection, particularly serious infection. But in the unusual event that a breakthrough does happen, we know transmission can take place,” he noted further.

“So that’s why, especially when you have a lot of virus circulating in a community, it’s important to take that extra step, go that extra mile, wear that mask in indoor settings, outside the house, so you don’t contribute to transmission,” he said.

Murtha’s comments come following new guidelines issued earlier this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calling for new mask mandates even for vaccinated Americans in areas of the country where there are high transmission rates for the virus and especially the new Delta variant. Last week, CDC officials had told some media outlets there were no plans to update mask guidance at all.

The reversal has sparked confusion from Americans as well as anger from GOP lawmakers, governors, and a former president who say the science doesn’t justify the change and argue that requiring even vaccinated Americans to don a mask will undermine further efforts to get more shots in arms.

“We won’t go back. We won’t mask our children. Joe Biden and his administration learned nothing from last year. Brave Americans learned how to safely and responsibly live and fight back,” former President Donald Trump said in a statement earlier this week.

“Don’t surrender to Covid. Don’t go back! Why do Democrats distrust the science? Don’t let this happen to our children or our Country” he added, urging Americans to ignore the CDC’s guidance.

In response to the administration’s guidance, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) re-imposed a mask mandate on her chamber, leading to widespread protests from Republicans who vowed to defy it, even after the threat of arrest of their staff by Capitol Police.

“We have a crisis at our border and we’re playing footsie with mask mandates in the people’s house,” Roy, who attempted to adjourn the House twice during a fiery speech on Wednesday, railed.

Later, about 50 House Republicans marched towards the Senate without wearing masks to defy Pelosi.

Jon Dougherty

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