Ron Paul criticized the recommendation of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky that children should wear masks while playing. Walensky’s reason is to ensure that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is not spread by “heavy breathing” of children near each other.
In his weekly column published Monday, May 10, at Ron Paul Institute website, the former Texas representative accused Walensky of ignoring the science, noting that wearing a mask while exercising or playing sports has negative health effects.
“Dr. Walensky’s recommendation is one more example of COVID authoritarians’ refusal to listen to the science,” wrote Paul, who worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist from the 1960s to the 1980s.
He said that Walensky’s most outrageous disregard of science is ignoring the fact that children are statistically unlikely to be at risk of either spreading or becoming sick from the virus. “Many children have had their physical and mental health damaged because they cannot go to school, play with their friends, or even have a birthday party because of the lockdowns,” wrote Paul.
CDC wants children as young as two years old to wear mask
According to the CDC, children two years and older should wear “cloth face coverings”when they are “in the community setting” to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The CDC has also indicated that masks are an important part of reopening schools for all children. While the guidance is not “mandated” by the organization, Walensky told NBC News that masking and social distancing are part of a “road map” of “what we believe are the next best steps” toward reopening.
“So much of getting back to school safely is really about how much disease is in the community, because most of what comes into the schools is coming in from the community,” Walensky said.
Dr. Deborah Gilboa, a family physician and child development expert, said children should wear masks as much as possible, especially in congregate settings like a school classroom or on a playground.
“We do a lot of good when we say, ‘Hey, in addition to washing your hands, and please stop licking things, we’d also like you to wear a mask,’” Gilboa told TODAY Parents. “We really want to slow and stop the spread of this.”
Dr. Jamie Macklin, a pediatric hospitalist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, stressed the importance of not allowing babies and children two years old and below to wear masks.
“Babies and young toddlers have smaller airways,” Macklin said. “Breathing through a mask can be harder for them. Using a mask on an infant can increase their risk of suffocation.”
Gilboa agreed that babies and toddlers should not wear masks that “could be a choking hazard,” telling parents to make sure that the material and strings do not pose risks to little ones.
Macklin said the CDC also tells people not to put masks on anyone who may not be able to remove the mask by themselves, providing yet another reason why babies should not be masked.