House Republicans Press CDC On ‘Unnecessary’ Mask Mandates For Kids Based On ‘Fear,’ Not Science

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky Wednesday seeking clarification on the agency’s masking guidance for COVID-19.

The letter, led by Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, expresses concern over the CDC’s recent flip-flop on mask guidance undermines the American peoples’ confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and public public health, the committee’s Republicans said. The member argue the CDC is not using the best available science to form its guidance, and is instead playing to “fear.”

The CDC changed its guidance in July to recommend that even vaccinated individuals wear face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The agency is also recommending that all K-12 kids wear masks when they return to school.

“We are particularly concerned with how the CDC put case reports and data in context, whether the CDC is considering other data that may suggest vaccinated people do not present the same transmissibility risk after infection as unvaccinated people, and that the CDC is apparently ignoring other considerations relevant to children,” the lawmakers’ letter reads. “COVID-19 and the new Delta variant present significant health challenges for our country, but it is incumbent upon us to ensure public health decisions are made based on science and data, not fear.”

The members point out that the CDC used some questionable data to fuel its guidance, including a non-peer-reviewed study from India. The letter also criticizes the CDC for no longer thoroughly tracking breakthrough infections. (RELATED: Even With Breakthrough Cases, The Data Doesn’t Seem To Support Mask Mandates For Vaccinated People)

The lawmakers provide a list of fifteen questions for Walensky to answer by Sep. 15. They include asking the CDC for the specific data it is using to base its children’s mask guidance on, and how the CDC determines what an area of “high-transmission” is for its mask guidance.

In addition to Rep. McMorris Rodgers, the letter is signed by Texas Reps. Michael Burgess and Dan Crenshaw, Florida Reps. Gus Bilirakis and Neal Dunn, Ohio Reps. Bob Latta and Bill Johnson, Kentucky Rep. Brett Guthrie, Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith, West Virginia Rep. David McKinley, Missouri Rep. Billy Long, Indiana Reps. Larry Buschon and Greg Pence, Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin, North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson, Georgia Rep. Buddy Carter, Michigan Rep. Tim Walberg, South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan, Alabama Rep Gary Palmer, Utah Rep. John Curtis, Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko, Pennsylvania Rep. John Joyce and North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong.