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The World Health Organization advises children aged 12 and older to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus

The World Health Organization has has released its guidelines on facial masks for children, while students – at least in some parts of the country – return to their classrooms to start the new school year. Children 5 and younger should not be required to wear masks, WHO says, as most cannot put them on without assistance.

However, children 6 through 11 years of age must wear masks under certain circumstances, including local infection rates, whether an adult is available to help them, and whether they are exposed to the elderly or those with health conditions who are at higher risk for complications from the virus.

Children 12 and older should wear masks under the same conditions adults would wear them, following standard social distance guidelines, the WHO said in the release.

WHO worked with UNICEF, the International Pediatric Association and other health organizations and experts to develop the guidelines. Their findings emphasize that there is limited evidence on how coronavirus is transmitted in children, but there is some evidence that younger children “may be less prone to infection than adults,” but this may vary by age. According to the WHO, older children are more likely to spread the virus than younger children.

Furthermore, WHO recommends that the benefits of child masks wearing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 “should be weighed against the potential harms associated with masks, including feasibility and discomfort, as well as social and communication problems. “

According to the American Academy of PediatricsBetween July 30 and August 13, there were more than 75,000 new cases of the coronavirus in children, an increase of 24 percent of the total. Since last month more than 340,000 children had tested positive, about 9 percent of total cases in the US.

Medical experts say there are very few medical reasons to prevent most people from wearing a cloth face cover. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a July 14 update that “fabric face covers are a crucial tool in the fight against COVID-19 that can reduce the spread of the disease,” adding that “there is growing evidence that fabric face covers help prevent people with COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others . “