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Officials urge New Yorkers to get 2nd COVID booster amid latest surge, mask mandate for kids under 5 extended

NYC Parents fed up with mask mandate for kids under 5 02:10

NEW YORK -- There are new concerns over rising COVID cases in New York City.

Some officials are urging New Yorkers to get another booster, and the city's controversial mask mandate for kids under five years old, which was set to be lifted Monday, is staying in place.

Mayor Eric Adams extended the mask mandate for a week and said he'll reevaluate based on the numbers, but some parents said toddlers shouldn't be singled out, CBS2's Dick Brennan reported.

Fed-up parents rallied at City Hall to demand relief from the school mask mandate for kids under five.

"Like other parents, I was totally willing to go with it at first, but I'm not willing anymore," said Alexandra Zelman Doring, who said her children Cy and Fia don't need to cover up.

Other parents said it's tough with little ones.

"She's almost two. Look at this face. You want to put a mask on her? She's not gonna wear it properly. It's always off, there's always gaps, it's always wet," said Lexi Kasper, who hopes her daughter Sadie can stop wearing a face covering.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Adams extended the mask mandate for a week as cases ticked up and because toddlers are too young to be vaccinated.

"There's a new variant. The numbers are increasing. We're going to move at the right pace and that's the role I must so. That's what I stated, I'm living up to my promises," Adams said.

"The biggest burden is falling on our little children," said parent Afsi Khot, a concerned parent and part of the anti-mask group "Mask Like a Kid." 

The group's latest effort is warning those who moved out of the city to continue to stay away, since the coalition believes toddlers are treated differently here. 

"It's the issue of being forced. We want choice. We as parents want the choice to decide what is best for our child," Khot told CBS2's John Dias.

Parents react to NYC's latest mask ruling for toddlers 02:02

The New York City Health Department's latest numbers show the seven-day positivity rate is increasing. It's up to 2.89 percent, but the city's alert level is still green.

"If you just look at Manhattan, we're already over the CDC threshold to move to yellow, which is medium risk, and that should serve to motivate people in Manhattan and frankly around the city, because probably Manhattan is just a leading indicator," Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said.

Some parents said they go by the numbers.

"From my perspective, data rules and I think the data says masks work," said parent Jonah Barnett, from the Upper West Side.

"Cases are on the rise. I think yeah protect our kids, protect the teachers," said parent Lauren Schaffer, from the Upper West Side.

Pediatrician Dyan Hes told CBS2 she disagrees with putting masks on kids at this stage of the pandemic. 

"They're the last ones to get hospitalized, or you know, the numbers are way down. Even with cases going up in New York city, hospitalization rates and deaths down," Hes said. 

Monday, Gov. Kathy Hochul got her second COVID booster, hoping to inspire people over 50 to do the same.

"Now that we have this booster, this second booster available, this is the suit of armor we're asking New Yorkers to suit up in," Hochul said.

Gov. Hochul receives 2nd COVID booster shot 00:13

Another concern is only 37 percent of city residents have gotten their first booster.

"I'm not calling for drastic shutdowns or really restrictive measures. I'm calling for resources and attention and messaging so that we do push to get people their booster shots," Levine said.

Levine said he wants New Yorkers to be more cautious and recommends masks in public places if the vaccination status of people around you is unclear.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical advisor, has weighed in on certain adults getting a second booster shot. 

"As a physician, would recommend that if it's available to them," he told CBS2 in an interview Friday

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