New York City insists toddlers need masks to avoid ‘irreparable damage’

by mcardinal

Lauren Moye, FISM News


New York City mayor will continue masking toddlers in public daycare facilities, even though the city has abandoned several other pandemic restrictions as cases around the country have drastically dropped. The announcement came after a higher court overturned an earlier decision allowing the age-targeted mandate to remain in place.

On Friday, NYC mayor Eric Adams announced that a mandate requiring children ages 2-4 to mask during child-care settings would be extended. The same mask requirement is optional for older school children. The mandate has made Adams a target of ridicule as no other age group in the city is subjected to mandatory masking, including the teachers of toddlers.

Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said the mandate extension was due to a “slight uptick” in positive COVID-19 cases.  He added about the toddler group, “As we know in the past, cases and hospitalizations have risen in this vulnerable age group, in line with wider community spread, usually lagging by a couple of weeks.”

Attorney Michael Chessa challenged the mandate on behalf of his Unmask our Toddlers. The judge sided with the parent group originally, temporarily halting the decision, but Adams immediately appealed.

In doing so, the city lawyers argued there would be “irreparable harm” if the mandate was repealed. The appeal judge overturned the earlier decision, allowing the mandate to stay in place. 

The mayor’s office has since been inundated with negative responses, saying that the mandate is illogical. Parents have pointed to research on the ineffectiveness of cloth masking, the relatively benign impact of COVID upon the age group, and the risk to the toddlers’ overall wellbeing as reasons why they believe the decision on masking toddlers should be left to parents. The Unmask Our Toddlers campaign was started by local moms whose children are most at risk of side effects like speech delays.

One heated New York Post opinion piece penned by a local toddler mom and writer Karol Markowicz attacked the argument presented by the city: “COVID hospitalizations for kids under 18 are 0.5 per 100,000 and have been for months. Meanwhile, the over-70 set is at 4.7 per 100,000.” 

She later added, “New Yorkers should simply say no. No more patience and certainly no more grace. The commissioner doesn’t deserve it. His policies make no scientific sense, and in a saner time, New Yorkers would call for his firing.

New York governor hopeful and current U.S. congressman Lee Zeldin called the mandate “straight up child abuse.” He added, “Unmask our toddlers and end these unscientific COVID mandates today.”

Several others also took to social media to voice their frustration with the court ruling.

“Please thank these brave pandemic warriors, carrying the burden no one else is required to,” said Daniela Jampel, who identifies herself as a founding member of the #keepNYCschoolsopen social media movement.

Maud Maron, a Democratic state congressional candidate, made a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that toddlers should just wear as sticker saying “go away Covid,” saying that it would be “just as effective.”

A freedom rally is planned for Monday afternoon with the Unmask the Toddlers attorney as the primary speaker. Chessa also has until April 11 to submit his appeal.