Our Chicago: Clearing up mask confusion, keeping younger kids safe

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After months of being told to wear masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently changed its guidance to say fully vaccinated Americans can go without a mask in most settings.

The CDC director said science was behind the decision.

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While the CDC loosened restrictions regarding masks, some people are concerned about the changes.



Dr. John Coleman, a pulmonologist and critical care physician at Northwestern Medicine has spent the last year treating COVID-19 patients. He acknowledges some people may feel anxious but he said things have changed.

"We have science now proving the efficacy of the vaccines, we know that it decreases the transmission rate, we know that it decreases the risk of getting critically ill. On top of that, we know that the prevalence of COVID in the community has significantly declined," Dr. Coleman said.

However, Dr. Coleman points out, part of the anxiety is because people cannot always be certain who is vaccinated and who is not. He said people need to do what they are most comfortable with.

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People are concerned about unvaccinated children as CDC loosens its guidelines for COVID-19.



When it comes to children, ages 12-through-15 just recently became eligible to receive the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine.

However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden, said this past week that it will likely be the end of the year before children younger than 12 can get the shot.

When thinking about how young children can stay safe, Dr. Andrew Kreppel, an associate professor of Clinical Pediatrics at UIC, said he reflects back to something his mentor told him.

"Winks and waves instead of kisses and hugs, and that was long before COVID, but it's still very true," Dr. Kreppel said. "Those same behavioral adaptations, if you will, are really the tried and true methods for preventing all sorts of respiratory infections."
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