National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins did the right thing by clarifying his comments that parents should wear masks at home to protect their children from COVID-19, rather than allowing how he misspoke to continue as public health information, Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, told Newsmax Wednesday.
"The communication in all of this has just been complicated, and so what we need to do is we need to clear it up," Jha told Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "We're going to have scientific officials misspeak on TV. I've misspoken on television. No one gets it right perfectly. The right thing to do is acknowledge it, quickly correct it, and then make sure you re-emphasize the correct answer."
Collins told CNN Tuesday that there are recommendations that masks be worn when around children under the age of 12, and when it comes to wearing masks at home, he knows that would be "uncomfortable" but "that's the best way to protect your kids."
Later in the "New Day" segment, when asked to clarify his position, Collins repeated that parents may want to "consider wearing masks for families at home to reduce this risk as long as the kids are unvaccinated, especially if you're in a community that has very high transmission at the present time."
Collins, however, posted on Twitter that he had "garbled" his message. "Vaccinated parents who live in communities with high COVID transmission rates should mask when out in public indoor settings to minimize risks to their unvaccinated kids. No need to mask at home," he tweeted.
Jha told Newsmax that the correct answer is "certainly" that parents don't need to wear their masks at home around their children.
"Hanging out with your kids at home, you do not need to be masked up," said Jha. "I mean, I have a nine-year-old at home who is not vaccinated. No one in my house wears a mask."
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration is reportedly expected to give the Pfizer vaccine its full approval within four weeks, but Jha said he doesn't expect that to stir demand for that vaccine over the offerings from Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.
"My guess is Moderna is going to follow in the next month or so," said Jha, noting that the whole matter is about timing. Pfizer was the first to get emergency use authorization for its vaccine and was followed by Moderna a few weeks later, said Jha, so he thinks the Moderna vaccine will follow that one shortly.
The doctor also commented about New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's announcement that the city will require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for workers and customers at indoor restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues, saying he expects other places to follow, as private companies are already requiring proof of the shots.
"In San Francisco, you've had a coalition of bars and restaurants saying, 'hey, we want to keep our places safe, and so we're going to require this," said Jha. "You know, I am very comfortable when private businesses do this for their own spaces because it's a private business and they should be able to do it."
He also said he understands why de Blasio has issued the order, and that "mandates make some sense at this point where the delta is surging across the country. I see versions of this happening in many places."
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