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Should kids go trick-or-treating? CDC director says: ‘If you’re able to be outdoors, absolutely’

UF Health Jacksonville pediatric infectious disease specialist recommends making a mask part of the costume

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said that children should be able to trick-or-treat safely this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky said that children should be able to trick-or-treat safely this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that children should be able to trick-or-treat safely this Halloween as long as they’re outdoors and in small groups.

On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Walensky was asked: “Should kids go trick-or-treating on Halloween? Is it safe?”

“I certainly hope so. If you’re able to be outdoors, absolutely,” Walensky replied. “Limit crowds. I wouldn’t necessarily go to a crowded Halloween party, but I think that we should be able to let our kids go trick-or-treating in small groups, and I hope that we can do that this year.”

Many parents are already preparing for the big holiday, including mother of three Erin Martinko, who told News4Jax that costumes have already been picked out in her household.

“We really try to take precautions. We do the hand sanitizer and, you know, being outdoors. We just want our kids to be able to partake in the holiday tradition,” said Martinko.

Last year, the CDC encouraged people to stay away from many Halloween activities. Dr. Mobeen Rathore, UF Health Jacksonville pediatric infectious disease specialist, explained how this year is different than last.

“I think a lot more people are immunized for one thing. I want people to be sure to understand there’s still a risk. I think the risk is lower,” said Rathore.

However, Rathore still recommends making a mask part of the costume and taking other precautions like social distancing.

While children under age 12 are not yet eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, that could change soon. Pfizer announced Monday that it’s ready to ask the Food and Drug Administration to review its vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

“I think we are going to submit this data pretty soon. It’s a question of days, not weeks,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

But until that happens, Rathore said, celebrating Halloween is fine as long parents do smart trick-or-treating.

Will your children be trick-or-treating this year? Do you have any concerns? Let us know below.


About the Author:

Lauren Verno anchors the 9 a.m. hour of The Morning Show and is the consumer investigative reporter weekday afternoons.