NYC health commissioner sets off outrage saying kids under 5 need to be masked ‘indefinitely’

(Video: CBS News)

The New York City health commissioner called masking children an “indefinite” prospect just one day after New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) promised angered parents he’d get rid of the mask mandates.

Dr. Ashwin Vasan, the 44th health commissioner of NYC, was speaking at a COVID-19 briefing in Queens Friday where he attempted to balance his concerns as a parent with his understanding as a doctor, CBS News reported. Without approval to vaccinate children under five years old, Vasan doesn’t see another way forward.

“I think it’s indefinite at this point. People who have tried to predict the future in this pandemic have had egg on their face, and I’m not going to do that today,” Vasan said, suggesting that even now, with the known minimal risk faced by children, he would be unwilling to rescind the mandate.

“As a father of a two-and-a-half-year-old and two other older kids,” Vasan attempted to relate, “I want to keep them as safe as possible. I would love nothing more than to send my son to daycare without a mask. But as a scientist, and as a doctor, and an epidemiologist, I want to keep him safe because he’s not eligible for a vaccine.”

All students in New York over the age of five had their mask mandate lifted on March 2 and Adams had said, “If we don’t have a spike, we’re going to lift for your babies as well. I want them taking their mask off.”

He affirmed those remarks Thursday when confronted during a St. Patrick’s Day event.

CBS spoke with parents in Middle Village who expressed their frustration at the ongoing mandates with remarks like, “We don’t want to wear them. And we have immune systems. This is what we’re designed to do. We’ll fight it,” and “Children under five should be able to breathe and have fresh air, not stay with masks indoors all day long.”

Vasan mentioned concerns over a new subvariant of Omicron, saying, “We’re keeping a close eye on the numbers, and we’ll continue to let you know what they tell us. At the same time, we know the increase in cases in other parts of the world can be worrisome.”

Though he claimed the number of juvenile hospitalizations to support the need for ongoing masking, he did not cite any data that supported the claim that unvaccinated children are somehow at a higher risk than vaccinated adults from the virus.

This aligns with the current narrative out of the White House where White House press secretary Jen Psaki argued that “we don’t know” whether older people are at greater risk from the virus despite data showing a mere fraction of total deaths attributed to COVID is among children.

Vasan has proven himself more interested in political science than the actual science on multiple occasions. In fact, in the hours following his event on COVID where he pushed for indefinite masking of children, he stated his priority was in pushing for “health equity” in NYC.

His agenda is not sitting well as opponents to his woke ideology were quick to point out how his plans were not only in direct contradiction to leading medical bodies like the WHO and CDC but that they were harmful to immigrant children who will struggle to learn English encumbered by masks.

The Daily Mail also noted Vasan’s outspoken support for Critical Race Theory and Black Lives Matter in tweets where he wrote, “First they came for Critical Race Theory, now they’re coming for mental health and suicide prevention programs when we are literally in the midst of a national children’s mental health emergency? Absurd doesn’t begin to define this logic.”

Vasan has continued to promote resources for mental health. However, he refuses to remove one of the largest contributing factors to the crisis plaguing the youth of New York.


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