Pediatricians with the American Academy of Pediatrics and a child advocacy organization are weighing in on the importance of wearing mask-wearing, even children. According to the AAP, children above the age of two should be wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This guidance mirrors state guidance of wearing face coverings as a required mitigation effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the commonwealth.
“We saw cases rise recently in Allegheny County and due to all of us wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, and hand hygiene cases are coming back down,” said William Keough, MD, MSc, FAA, Co-Chair, PA Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, Advocacy Committee, Medical Director, UPMC Health Plan.
“For everyone over 2 years of age, wearing a face covering when outside your home along with hand and cough hygiene and physical distancing are decades old, scientifically proven ways to slow the spread of infection. Please, for the health of everyone, do your part to slow the spread of this deadly virus.”
“A recent brief communication in the scientific journal Nature reviewed the use of face masks to prevent transmission of respiratory viruses in over 245 children and adults,” said Trude Haecker, MD, FAAP, President, PA Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics and general pediatrician in Philadelphia.
The randomized study concluded surgical face masks can prevent transmission of corona and influenza viruses. The PA-AAP recommends that face masks be worn by all children age 2 and older at any location where social distancing cannot be maintained. These include shopping, going to the pediatricians’ office or attending school, explained Haecker.
“As dangerous as this virus is, we are all very fortunate that we can beat this killer with simple, low cost and painless solutions like face masks and hand washing,” said Donna Cooper, Executive Director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY).
"Tragically some pre-school-aged children’s lives were already taken by this determined killer. For their sake, and the lives of those around them, children over two should be masked when in contact with those outside their family. First-hand experience also tells us at PCCY that children also take comfort when they see they can play a role in protecting their family and community from COVID.”
Pediatricians are not the only ones coming out in support of masking; U.S. Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado have also formed a bipartisan team to encourage people to wear masks when they leave their homes. The pair has introduced a Senate Resolution emphasizing evidence that wearing a mask indoors can help prevent the transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
"Wearing a mask should not be controversial. Study after study affirms that wearing a mask reduces the spread of coronavirus," says Senator Toomey, "As our economy continues to reopen and until a vaccine is available, wearing a face mask when you venture out is the most practical and cost effective manner in which we, as Americans, can do our part to protect one another. Please, for the benefit of your neighbors, friends, and those who live in your community, wear a mask."
Sen. Bennet adds, "The science is clear and consistent—when we wear a mask, we significantly limit transmission of the virus. We should take personal responsibility and remember that my mask protects you and your mask protects me."
The Senate Resolution may be read in its entirety here.