Members of Congress Question Why CDC Recommends Masks for Children as Young as 2

A bicameral group of legislators is questioning why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children as young as 2 wear masks.

The CDC first recommended that children aged 2 years or older wear masks in March 2020, advice that many states based their masking rules on. In January, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that all airports, trains, and many buses follow the CDC’s masking recommendations.

“The implementation of these recommendations has had serious consequences for some Americans. Multiple parents of young children have been removed from flights, and in some instances, permanently banned, from future travel on the airline they were flying due to their toddler’s refusal to wear a mask,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and the other lawmakers wrote to the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

“These unfortunate events have occurred despite the parents’ best attempts to have their child cooperate with the mask requirement, which is a struggle millions of parents have faced this past year. For parents of children with disabilities, compliance has proved almost impossible, resulting in increased social isolation and negative mental health consequences,” they added.

The CDC’s advice is among the most strict in the world. In a number of European countries, children under 11 years old do not have to wear masks.

Legislators noted that scientists and studies have repeatedly noted the lower rates of COVID-19 infection and transmission among young children.

Given that evidence, they asked Walensky to provide the basis for the CDC’s recommendations, including specific studies the agency used, and asked if there were plans to update its recommendations on mask wearing as new information emerges.

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Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) speaks during a hearing in Washington on Nov. 17, 2020. (Bill Clark/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Thirty-two Republican lawmakers signed the letter, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), and Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.).

The CDC did not respond to a request for comment.