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Should unvaccinated kids have to wear masks outside or at camps?

Do unvaccinated kids need masks at summer events and camps?

The CDC has given guidance about vaccinated people losing the mask, but what about young kids who can’t get vaccinated?

CLEVELAND — As summer events and activities ramp up all over northeast Ohio, the CDC has given guidance about vaccinated people being able to drop their masks. However, should you worry about having your kids wear one?

The CDC says fully vaccinated children can get back to normal. So for those over the age of 12 who have been vaccinated, sports, events and camps can resume without masks or social distancing. When it comes to younger kids, who haven’t been vaccinated, it’s a little trickier.

“So, I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old,” says Dr. Amy Edwards, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals. “Generally speaking, if my children are outside, I do not mask them.”

Dr. Edwards says outdoor events are fine for unvaccinated kids or people to drop the masks. The only caveat is if it’s not too crowded.

“The Covid definition of crowded is if the person standing next to you can sneeze on you, you’re too close,” says Edwards. “It comes down to virus transmission. You cannot have a virus hanging in the air for hours. One, the wind is going to blow it away. Two, the sun is going to kill it. A droplet is the only way that you can catch Covid from somebody in an outdoor setting.”

When it comes to indoor events and kids, Dr. Edwards says this is where it gets situational. Each parent needs to think about how big the venue is, the air flow, how many people there are vaccinated, their personal family situation and if the child has asthma or another condition.

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Dr. Edwards says, “The overall incidence is decreases, more and more people are protected, but there’s still a lot of Covid in circulation so people are really going to have to look at their own families and make those risk stratifications for themselves.”

While these risk assessments and precautions will remain until those under 12 can start getting vaccinated, Dr. Edwards says there really wouldn’t even be a need for kids to get the shot, if adults did it for them.

“If every single person who is eligible for the vaccine, so 12 and up, got vaccinated in the state of Ohio, we wouldn’t even have to worry about the kids under the age of 12 because Covid would be gone,” says Edwards. “So, go get your vaccine and enjoy your summer.”

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