NYC making COVID masks optional for younger kids in schools, day cares

COVID-19 update for NYC
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City announced Thursday that masks will be optional for 2- to 4-year-old children in schools and day care centers beginning Monday, June 13.

"I have always said that the science will guide us out of the pandemic, and because we have followed the data, which shows that cases are steadily falling, we've beaten back the latest COVID-19 surge," Mayor Eric Adams said. "New Yorkers stepped up when we needed them most and have put us on the path to lower risk."

Masks are still recommended for kids of all ages.

"Throughout the current wave, schools have remained the safest places for our children," Adams said. "We still strongly recommend that New Yorkers of all ages continue to wear masks indoors and, we will continue to make masks available for any child or school staff member who wishes to continue wearing them."

Adams said the city will continue to follow the science and that he stands with parents.

"I'm with New York City parents, and New Yorkers can trust this administration to continue to make the proper public health decisions to keep our kids safe," Adams said.

Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan says officials believe the city is past the peak of the current wave, which led to the school and day care announcement.

"After a two-month sustained increase of COVID-19 transmission, we are finally past the peak of this wave," Dr. Vasan said. "Cases have fallen since May 23, giving us confidence that we have passed the peak, and we are heading into a safer environment. There will be a lot to learn from this wave, such as how the ratio of cases to hospitalizations and death did not follow the same patterns as the past, and how treatment and vaccine-induced immunity influenced that trend."

Gov. Kathy Hochul said a decision on mask mandates for public transportation could be made soon.

"We're heading to a place where we should be able to have those conversations soon," she said. "But I also want people to feel safe and secure, safety wise, but also feel health wise, so we're going to have the conversation soon about that."

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