Today, pediatricians with the American Academy of Pediatrics and a child advocacy organization are weighing in on the importance of wearing masks for all, including children older than two. This guidance mirrors that of Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine as a required mitigation effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

“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 two 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. “This randomized study concluded that surgical face masks can prevent transmission of corona and influenza viruses.

The PA-AAP recommends that face masks be worn by all children two years of age and older to all locations where social distancing cannot be maintained including shopping, going to the pediatricians’ office or attending school this fall depending on what the decision will be for their local school district.”

“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.”