The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that children over 12 years of age use the mask “in the same circumstances as adults” during the pandemic. This is specified in the guide published this Friday by the agency together with the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) with different specifications for the use of masks in the youngest.
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The document recommends for this age group that the “WHO recommendations for the use of masks in adults and / or national guidelines on their use” be followed. It does not, however, advise the use of masks for children under the age of five or for those with “severe cognitive or respiratory disabilities who have difficulty tolerating the mask.”
The use of this element, remember, requires a certain autonomy and motor capacity. For these minors, it offers other alternatives such as protective masks. In addition, remember that the transmission of the coronavirus is minimized by maintaining an interpersonal distance of one meter, educating children to maintain “correct and frequent hand hygiene” and limiting the number of students per class in schools.
With regard to minors between the ages of six and eleven, the WHO asks that different factors be taken into account, such as “local epidemiology”, the intensity of COVID-19 transmission, the possibility of maintain social distance and ventilation capacity of indoor spaces.
The guidance document also recalls the importance of social equity when establishing protection protocols against the virus, and therefore suggests that governments make free masks available to children who live in vulnerable homes or localities.
The director of the Department of Health Emergencies of the WHO, Mike Ryan, defended during a press conference this Friday the usefulness of masks to “break the transmission chains” of the coronavirus, although there is no scientific consensus on the transmitting role of the children.
Studies collected by the WHO show that adolescents may play a more active role in transmission than children, however, the international body recognizes that a greater number of studies on the incidence of COVID-19 in minors are needed to understand better virus behavior.