Biden won’t be happy about this.
Several Blue states are cutting back on their masking requirements, citing a reduction in COVID-19 cases for the shift instead of scientific evidence that reveals they are unnecessary.
In the last week, California, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Oregon have announced a change in their masking policies for various segments of the population or in certain locations.
On March 7, New Jersey’s mask mandate for schools and daycares will be lifted. Governor Phil Murphy cited the four-week preparation period, a drop in “cases, hospitalizations, in-school transmission, increasing vaccinations 一 God willing the under-5 kids being eligible sooner than later 一 a little bit warmer weather” as the reason the state was able to take this step.
Connecticut will be dropping its statewide mandate by February 28, transferring the decision-making on mask requirements to local school officials.
In a statement released on Monday (February 7), Governor Ned Lamont referenced the declining case numbers and increased vaccinations, saying the “dramatic decline in cases caused by the Omicron variant, and children over the age of 5 have had the ability to get vaccinated for more than three months now” as the reason the state was “in a good position to phase out the requirement that masks be worn in all schools statewide and shift the determination on whether to require this to the local level.”
In Delaware, Masks will no longer be required as of February 11 for indoor public places, and for schools, that mandate will expire at the end of March.
In a tweet, Governor John Carney mentioned that the state was “in a much better place than we were several weeks ago” before encouraging people to “Get vaccinated. Get your booster. That’s especially important for children, where we continue to see low rates of vaccination.”
New York and California have not removed the mask requirements for schools in the state but are pursuing eased restrictions elsewhere.
In California, vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to wear masks indoors.
In a statement, the state’s public health officer, Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, pointed to Omicron loosening its hold on California “vaccines for children under 5 are around the corner, and access to COVID-19 treatments is improving,” which had allowed the state to modify its “COVID-19 prevention measures.
Referencing why masks were still in place, the California Department of Public Health said, “California’s common-sense policies like masking have resulted in some of the lowest COVID rates and closures,” adding that, “Schools, unlike other settings, do not have testing or vaccine verification requirements.”
In New York, it was much of the same, with Governor Kathy Hochul pointing to downward trends as the reason the state was lifting mask mandates for indoor businesses.
Announcing during a news briefing on Wednesday, Hochul said numbers were “trending in a very, very good direction.”
But when questioned why high schools, where there had been high levels of vaccinations, were being treated differently to businesses, Hochul pointed to students being in a “very concentrated setting,” adding that “adults can make their own decision.”
While the above states point to decreasing COVID infection rates, a study by John Hopkins University reveals that the pandemic restrictions, including lockdowns and non-pharmaceutical interventions like mask mandates, had “little to no effect on COVID-19 mortality.”
This follows a January announcement by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that stated cloth masks, the mask most commonly worn by Americans, provided the least protection.