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Several Democrat-led states are finally screwing down on masking demands with reference to declining COVID-19 case numbers for the changes rather than scientific evidence that they are not necessary.
“We felt like a four-week runway, based on our fall in cases, hospitalizations, school transfers, increase in vaccinations, God wants children under 5 to be eligible sooner rather than later, a little warmer weather a month from now “That combination has allowed us to take this step,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy told MSNBC earlier this week. Murphy repeals his state’s mask mandate for schools and day care centers with effect from March 7.
Corresponding Connecticut removes its nationwide mandate by February 28, leaving it to local school officials to decide what is best for their students. Governor Ned Lamont, like Murphy, also pointed to case numbers and vaccinations.
“Connecticut is experiencing a dramatic drop in cases caused by the Omicron variant, and children over the age of 5 have had the ability to be vaccinated for more than three months now,” Lamont said in a statement Monday. “With this in mind, I think we’re in a good position to phase out the requirement for masks to be worn in all schools across the country and move the decision on whether or not to require this to the local level.”
‘Much better place’
IN Delaware, the state-wide school mask mandate expires at the end of March. For other indoor public places, masks will no longer be required from February 11th.
“We’re a much better place than we were several weeks ago,” Governor John Carney tweeted, adding, “We have the tools to protect ourselves and each other. Get vaccinated. Get your booster. It’s especially important for children., where we continue to see low vaccination rates. “
Relaxation of restrictions
California and New York is not lifting schoolmask mandates yet, but they are easing restrictions elsewhere. Golden State is expiring its mandate for the indoor mask next week for those vaccinated. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) pointed to lower rates of proliferation and hospitalizations since the height of the omicron variant, as well as the existence of pharmaceutical options.
“Omicron has loosened its grip on California, vaccines for children under the age of 5 are just around the corner, and access to COVID-19 treatments is improving,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, California Public Health Officer, in a statement. “With things moving in the right direction, we are making responsible changes to COVID-19 prevention measures, while continuing to develop a more long-term action plan for the state.”
Masks were “effective” in explaining why the school requirement remains in force, CDPH still maintained.
“California’s common sense policies like masking have resulted in some of the lowest COVID rates and closures,” the agency told Fox News. “Schools, unlike other settings, do not have requirements for testing or vaccine confirmation, and as such, indoor masking remains an effective way to reduce proliferation.”
New York Governor Kathy Hochul also pointed to downward trends in cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations in support of her decision to lift a mask mandate for indoor businesses.
“This is heading in a very, very good direction,” Hochul said at a news briefing on Wednesday.
Asked why colleges where there are high levels of vaccinations are treated differently from companies, Hochul said students are in “a very concentrated environment” without much freedom of movement, and “adults can make their own decision.”
The above states point to trends in infection rates and hospitalizations as well as the existence of vaccines and treatments that have been around for months or longer. Fox News asked California, Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware if their decisions were based on new data. Only California responded, only to say that “the state has experienced a 65% drop in the case rate,” without mentioning data specifically dealing with masks.
A recent study published by Johns Hopkins University indicates that pandemic restrictions such as lockdowns and non-pharmaceutical interventions such as mask mandates had “little or no effect on COVID-19 mortality.”
In addition, the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated in January that drug masks, often worn by many Americans, provide minimum amount of protectionThat Mayo Clinic said in late December that patients and visitors could no longer only wear a fabric mask and must have a medical-grade face mask. While acknowledging that some fabric masks could provide adequate protection, many commonly used types did not.