NIH Director Francis Collins Calls for Vaccinated Parents to Wear Masks Indoors (UPDATED)


UPDATE 4:40 p.m. EST: National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins has walked back his comments made on CNN Tuesday morning.

“Let me clarify the masking message that I garbled on @NewDay this morning,” he wrote in a tweet. “Vaccinated parents who live in communities with high COVID transmission rates should mask when out in public indoor settings to minimize risks to their unvaccinated kids. No need to mask at home.”

See the original story on his comments below.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins is recommending parents wear masks even in their own homes in order to protect children from the coronavirus.

Collins appeared Tuesday on New Day, where he fielded numerous questions taken from the public as the United States witnesses a case surge because of the highly contagious delta variant of Covid. The NIH director was asked whether the delta variant has increased the risk for young children, and whether kids should not be taken indoors out in public.

“It’s clear that this variant is capable of causing serious injury in children,” Collins answered. “You have heard those stories coming out of Louisiana pediatric ICUs where there are kids as young as a few months old who are sick from this. That is rare, certainly younger people are less likely to fall ill, but anyone that tried to tell you ‘you don’t have worry about it if you’re a young, healthy person,’ there’s many counterexamples all around us now.”

Collins went on to stress that the current recommendation is for kids under the age of 12 to avoid places where they might contract the virus.

“Which means,” Collins said, “recommendations of mask-wearing in schools and at home. Parents of unvaccinated kids should be thoughtful about this and the recommendation is to wear masks there as well. I know that’s uncomfortable, I know it seems weird, but it is the best way to protect your kids.”

John Berman followed up by asking Collins to clarify whether the delta variant is making children sicker than they were from other versions of the coronavirus. Collins answered that preliminary data suggests that the delta variant is “not just more contagious, but more serious in various age groups,” which Berman acknowledged as a new development.

“Before, the big concern was that kids could get it, pass it to others, but by and large, they weren’t becoming ill in great numbers, in any kind of numbers that were causing deep concern,” Berman said. “Now you’re saying they can get sick enough that this is a worry.”

Watch above, via CNN.

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