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Your child should wear a mask if they’re this age, WHO warns

The World Health Organization said children should wear masks if they’re 12 years old or older

SHARE Your child should wear a mask if they’re this age, WHO warns
A youth wears a protective face mask amid the new coronavirus pandemic as he plays his violin during free music lessons from Narciso Ernesto Pichardo at the Culture Center in La Pastora neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020.

A youth wears a protective face mask amid the new coronavirus pandemic as he plays his violin during free music lessons from Narciso Ernesto Pichardo at the Culture Center in La Pastora neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020.

Matias Delacroix, Associated Press

Should your child wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic? Yes, according to the World Health Organization.

What’s going on?

The World Health Organization released new guidelines for face masks on children as students across the world beginning returning to the classroom. The new guidelines explain at what ages kids are required to wear masks.

  • Those 5 and younger should not be required to wear masks.
  • Children between 6 and 11 years old should wear masks based on local infection rates, if an adult can help them or if they’re exposed to elderly people or with a condition.
  • Children 12 years old and up should wear masks at the same level as adults do.

Children may be spreading the virus

Last week, a new study from doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital and Mass General Hospital for Children found children may spread the novel coronavirus more than previously thought, saying they could be more contagious than adults, which I wrote about for Deseret.com.

  • 49 out of 122 children in the study tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • 18 of 122 experienced COVID-19 symptoms afterward.

The study said children who tested positive for COVID-19 had a higher viral load than adults who tested positive, meaning they could be carrying the virus without everyone knowing it.

I was surprised by the high levels of virus we found in children of all ages, especially in the first two days of infection. I was not expecting the viral load to be so high. You think of a hospital, and of all of the precautions taken to treat severely ill adults, but the viral loads of these hospitalized patients are significantly lower than a ‘healthy child’ who is walking around with a high SARS-CoV-2 viral load. — lead study author Dr. Lael Yonker, director of the MGH Cystic Fibrosis Center

The study — titled “Pediatric SARS-CoV-2: Clinical Presentation, Infectivity, and Immune Responses” — was published in the Journal of Pediatrics.