The removal of federal and public transportation masking shows the U.S. is increasingly relying on individuals to manage their own risk appetite for COVID-19 — and choose their own precautions as a result.
Dr. Anthony Fauci’s decision to avoid attending the annual White House Correspondent’s Dinner, which returns to in-person this year, is a high-profile example.
“Things are looking better on a population level, but on an individual level we need to make up our own minds. He’s made up his mind that the White House Correspondent’s Dinner is not a place for an 80-year-old man to be,” Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams told Yahoo Finance Live.
This week, Fauci said the country is out of the pandemic phase, causing a stir among health experts. Adams said it’s prompted a repeat of the debate that occurred at the beginning of the pandemic.
“We had a debate two years ago about when we would declare a public health emergency a pandemic,” Adams said.
The implications for immunocompromised, older, and more vulnerable individuals — such as young children — has been a cause for concern as things return to “normal.”
Adams, executive director of Purdue’s Health Equity Initiatives, said the relaxed rules are causing anxiety among parents of young children and other vulnerable populations. That’s why he’s contradicting the Florida judge’s ruling to overturn mask mandates and the Biden administration’s relaxed mask guidance.
In particular, he said, because the virus’s more transmissible variants warrant the need to wear better masks such as N95 and KN95, and some individuals — and children under 5 — can’t wear them or don’t have good options available.
“These masks aren’t readily available for children, so they can’t protect themselves, which is why we need adults around them to protect them by wearing masks or getting vaccinated,” Adams said.
“You still have many people out there who still can’t protect themselves,” he added.
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