Eric Adams, the new mayor of New York City, rode into office on a wave of popular discontent with his predecessor. Part of his pitch to voters was that he would “revisit” Bill de Blasio’s draconian vaccine mandates.
The mayor promised on Wednesday to find a mutually satisfactory solution with Major League Baseball to get unvaccinated players back in the game. The season-opening is just around the corner, starting on April 7 for the Yankees and April 15 for the Mets.
“We are going to do an analysis,” Mayor Adams explained at Wednesday’s press conference. “Baseball season is not tomorrow. It’s not next week. We are going to work this out, where we will ensure the safety of New Yorkers without continuing the spread of COVID.”
The mayor also expressed, in somewhat vague terms, his desire to consult with Major League Baseball as well as his medical advisors before arriving at some sort of a solution.
“We are going to continue to peel back,” Adams said at the press conference while making it clear that he wasn’t fast-tracking the MLB issue. “I’m not going to be rushed based on a season schedule. I’m going to do this right for the people of this city, and I’m not focused on one individual. I’m focused on 9 million people.”
The latest from NYC Mayor Eric Adams during a press conference in Queens earlier today: “I’m not looking at one person. I’m looking at my city not closing down again and not having to deal with this crisis again – I’m not going to be rushed in based on a season schedule …” pic.twitter.com/HfwAwD4oJr
— Chris Milholen (@CMilholenSB) March 16, 2022
Under the provisions of former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate, the Mets and Yankees—in common with all private employers in New York City—required their employees to be vaccinated before they can come to work. And while Adams’ willingness to work with the MLB on the vaccination issue is certainly welcome news to those wishing to curtail the mandates, the selective nature of his concerns has drawn the ire of New York City’s long-suffering parents.
That’s because Adams has shown no interest in lifting the city-wide masking mandate for children under five. The stated reason for keeping this mandate in place is that COVID vaccines have not yet been approved for the under-five age group.
But many see this requirement as illogical and unscientific. The CDC, for instance, has demonstrated that the risk of a serious infection in that age group is exceptionally low. Out of the nearly one million Americans who have died of COVID since the onset of the pandemic, only 347 children in the under-five age group have died, the Daily Mail reported. In addition, no less an authority than the World Health Organization has recommended that children in that group shouldn’t wear face coverings at all. Not only are they considered ineffective, but they can also reportedly lead to developmental delays by making it more difficult for children to read and interpret facial expressions.
Many New York City parents have become frustrated with the continued need to mask their young children. In the absence of clear and consistent medical guidance, the mandates have come to be seen as arbitrary and largely theatrical. All this has prompted thousands of parents to sign their names to an online petition to New York state health commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett, asking for the removal of the masking policy altogether.
“We ask you to join surrounding states and end mandatory masking in schools and daycares now,” the petition reads. “ALL children but especially those with speech delays, learning disabilities, social anxieties, sensory issues and on the spectrum deserve better…There are now growing calls for children to learn with optional masking, as there is no clear evidence to show that masking children indefinitely has curbed this pandemic and kept schools ‘safe.’ With most adults now vaccinated, our state of New York boasts an 84.3% completed vaccination series, the time is now to advocate for children who remain naturally protected against severe illness and death from COVID-19.”
All that remains now is to see whether Mayor Eric Adams will be as responsive to parents’ concerns as he appears to be to those of Major League Baseball.
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