COVID: Parents of unvaccinated children upset about new mask rules

Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 12:40 PM MST
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LOS ANGELES (CNN) - A federal court ruling has recently struck down the travel mask mandate, and parents of young children are saying they felt blindsided by such a ruling when it comes to their future travel plans.

Erin Goulder, a mother to a 6- and 3-year-old, said she has done everything to keep her children safe from COVID since the start of the pandemic.

“We’re pretty COVID conscious. We’re probably the strictest people that we know,” Goulder said.

The family said they have been to parks, nature reserves and zoos, but they won’t be getting on an airplane anytime soon.

“If people aren’t wearing masks, then we’re definitely going to come up with a different plan,” Goulder said.

The Goulders said they had planned to fly to California and Europe over the summer, but now they’ve scrapped all that after the sudden end of masking requirements on planes.

“I don’t understand what the big deal about a mask is. When you’re in an enclosed space with that many people coming from that many different places,” Goulder said.

Fellow travelers wearing masks was an important layer of safety for the whole family.

Goulder, her husband and her older daughter are vaccinated, but they know they could still get COVID. And their younger daughter is too young to be vaccinated so, she’s completely unprotected.

“My biggest worry is the long COVID and also the unknowns,” Goulder said.

Dr. William Schaffner, a vaccine adviser to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said different families will make different decisions about flying in planes.

“I wouldn’t think that going on a plane exposes them to any more risk than they might be exposed to in the community in everyday activities,” Schaffner said.

If parents are worried about their child’s safety on a plane, he said to consider driving if that’s possible. And if it’s not, do everything to minimize the risk, such as mask-wearing and as much social distancing as possible.

Overall, children are less at risk of severe disease with COVID, but Schaffner emphasizes it’s not zero.

According to the World Health Organization, the number of new COVID cases was down globally by 24% last week.

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