The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a strong statement about the effectiveness of vaccines when it decided that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks in most circumstances. But it left some parents concerned about how the change might affect children too young to be vaccinated.
For children in particular, the risk of serious consequences from COVID-19 is the same magnitude as the risk they face from the flu, she says. But many parents seem more worried about the new and less familiar disease. That anxiety is heightened by the new guidelines on mask-wearing. But experts urge parents to try not to worry too much.
“If you stop going into stores because you’re terrified you’ll run into an unmasked person, that’s probably overreacting,” says Gretchen Chapman, a psychology professor who studies health conundrums like this at Carnegie Mellon University.
It’s understandable why parents would feel that way, she says. Though these risks are very low, they’re not zero. And people struggle to conceptualize the difference between small risks — for example, something that’s 1 in 1,000 versus 1 in 1 million.