Q&A: Doctor recommends kids keep wearing masks in light of new guidance

An infectious disease specialist discusses what the new CDC guidance means for kids.


New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Tuesday said fully vaccinated adults no longer need to wear a mask during most outdoor activities.

The CDC said people who are fully vaccinated can take off their masks when outdoors in a small group even if the entire group isn't vaccinated. Fully vaccinated can also dine outdoors with people from different households without wearing a mask and take part in outdoor sports and recreation.

But the guidance leaves out children under 16 who remain ineligible to get vaccinated.

People who are fully vaccinated are able to visit indoors with people from a single household who are low-risk, according to the CDC. That means a grandparent could visit their grandchild, even if the child isn't vaccinated.

Sister station KCRA spoke with infectious disease specialist Dr. Dean Blumberg at UC Davis Health about what the recommendations mean for kids.

Q: Do kids still need to wear masks?

Blumberg: Until children are fully vaccinated, they should continue to wear masks. We know that the recent uptick we've seen in the Midwest, as well as other places, has been occurring and been traced to sporting events for youth, where they’re not wearing masks.

Q: When could children be able to get vaccinated?

Blumberg: Mask wearing is going to need to be done by children for the foreseeable future until the ages of vaccination can decrease. We hope that within the next month or two, we’ll have recommendations from the FDA and the CDC to vaccinate down to 12 years of age. Maybe over the next several months, summer or early fall, we'll have data to support vaccinating younger children.

Q: Why do kids need to keep wearing masks?

Blumberg: They're still susceptible, they still may result in getting severe disease. And then we've also seen children transmit to other family members. The vaccines don't work 100% and so, really to limit transmission, everyone that's unvaccinated should continue to wear a mask.