Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday declared that it was “child abuse” for children to wear face masks while playing outdoors, and he urged viewers to call the police or child protective services if they see it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Preventionrecommends that children older than 2 who can safely wear a mask should do so in public settings to prevent catching or spreading Covid-19. This would include when interacting with anyone they don’t live with indoors or outdoors, and is not a substitute for other preventive measures, such as staying 6 feet apart from others and washing their hands frequently.
Carlson, who has persistently trafficked in Covid-19 misinformation throughout the pandemic, was railing against a mask mandate in Colorado schools for children older than 10. The state will require masks in all schools, child care centres and indoor summer camps for the remainder of the school year in an effort to not jeopardise the return to in-person learning.
“People need fresh air. Especially children,” Carlson said. “Deprive them of fresh air and you hurt them. You knew that. We all knew that. It is obvious.”
Masks made according to medical guidance do not deprive you of oxygen, a concern that’s been debunked by pulmonary experts.
“As for forcing children to wear masks outside, that should be illegal,” he said. “Your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response when you see someone beat a kid in Walmart. Call the police immediately. Contact child protective services. Keep calling until someone arrives. What you’re looking at is abuse, it’s child abuse, and you’re morally obligated to attempt to prevent it.”
According to Carlson, America has allowed “power-drunk politicians” to “wreck the country” by enforcing rules to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Covid-19 has led to more than 570,000 deaths in the US.
He also claimed that masks “strip people of their identity as individuals,” “transform people from citizens into drones” and are “for the guilty, they’re signifiers of shame and submission.”
He urged viewers to approach strangers wearing masks in public and ask them to remove them. Disputes over masks, which needlessly became a political flashpoint early in the pandemic, have been the source of scores of public fights, some violent.
The CDC advises that fully vaccinated people can forgo wearing masks when visiting other fully vaccinated people or unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe Covid-19 disease. While health experts continue to assess the data, the CDC guidance for public settings is to continue to wear masks and practice physical distancing.