The coronavirus pandemic has sickened over 149,000,000 people worldwide, killing more than three million. For many, the past year has been marked by loss, change, and isolation.

America is gaining steam in widespread vaccination, though. Nearly one-third of all eligible adults are fully vaccinated, while 43 percent have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Research has proved that handwashing, social distancing, and mask-wearing can help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Just as we're beginning to make progress against the pandemic, a conservative news host made irresponsible claims comparing mask-wearing to child abuse.

"As for forcing children to wear masks outside, that should be illegal," Tucker Carlson told his Fox News viewers. "Your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response to seeing 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 are morally obligated to attempt to prevent it."

He continued, "If it's your own children being abused, then act accordingly. Let's say your kids' school emailed you and announced that every day after lunch, your sixth-grader was going to get punched in the face by a teacher. How would you respond to that? That's precisely how you should respond when they tell you that your kids have to wear masks on the soccer field."

We would like to clarify: no, asking children to wear masks during a pandemic is not child abuse. Do not waste the valuable time and resources of law enforcement or child protective services officials with false reports of neglect or abuse.

The conservative host's rhetoric is just that—rhetoric designed to inflame and incite. It is not based on facts.

Here are the facts, mama.

Over 3.7 million American children have contracted COVID-19.

It does seem to be far less dangerous to kids—but they are still affected, especially children of color.

The CDC recently updated its mask wearing guidance, saying that fully vaccinated adults no longer need to cover their faces in public unless they are in large crowds. Unvaccinated people are still encouraged to wear face masks in public. That applies to our children since none of the COVID-19 vaccines in use are authorized for children under 16.

Children ages two and up are encouraged to wear masks. A well-fitted, two- or three-layer cotton mask will not impact your child's ability to breathe properly. They are safe to wear, even in the summer.

Should your child wear a mask? Dr. Dean Blumberg, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, Davis, believes so.

"Until children are fully vaccinated, they should continue to wear masks. We know that the recent uptick we've seen in the Midwest, as well as other places, has been occurring and been traced to sporting events for youth, where they're not wearing masks," he told KCRA.

"They're still susceptible, they still may result in getting severe disease," Blumberg continued. "And then we've also seen children transmit to other family members. The vaccines don't work 100% and so, really to limit transmission, everyone that's unvaccinated should continue to wear a mask."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, agrees, calling Carlson's comments are "bizarre."

"I think that's self-evident that that's bizarre," Fauci told CNN. "I don't want to get into a back and forth with Tucker Carlson, but it's almost self-evident."

"You're talking about child abuse, really?" Fauci added. "Come on."

We encourage you to listen to the experts, mama.