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Dr Anthony Fauci says 'hopefully' making children wear face masks will not have a 'lasting negative impact' on them

 Dr Anthony Fauci said on Monday making children wear face masks 'hopefully' will not have any 'lasting negative impact' on them amid rows over whether face coverings' safety benefits outweigh potential harmful effects on youngsters.

With COVID-19 once again on the rise due to the Indian Delta variant, Fauci, who serves as President Joe Biden's chief medical advisor, said it was important to keep 'an open mind' about masks and their safety benefits for children. 

'It's not comfortable, obviously, for children to wear masks, particularly the younger children,' said Fauci, speaking on Monday to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

'But you know, what we're starting to see, Hugh, and I think it's going to unfold even more as the weeks go by, that this virus not only is so extraordinarily transmissible, but we're starting to see pediatric hospitals get more and more younger people and kids not only numerically, but what seems to be more severe disease.

'Now we're tracking that, the CDC is tracking that really very carefully, so it's going to be a balance that we would feel very badly if we all of a sudden said OK, kids, don't wear masks, then you find out retrospectively that this virus in a very, very strange and unusual way is really hitting kids really hard.

'But hopefully, this will be a temporary thing, temporary enough that it doesn't have any lasting negative impact on them.' 

Dr Anthony Fauci, Joe Biden's chief medical advisor, on Monday said he hoped that wearing face masks would not cause any long-term impact for children. The CDC two weeks ago updated its guidance to recommend face masks for all students in school

Dr Anthony Fauci, Joe Biden's chief medical advisor, on Monday said he hoped that wearing face masks would not cause any long-term impact for children. The CDC two weeks ago updated its guidance to recommend face masks for all students in school

Children as young as two should wear face masks under the new CDC guidance

Children as young as two should wear face masks under the new CDC guidance

Fauci did not speculate about what that 'lasting negative impact' could be.

Hewitt disagreed, and mentioned a Wall Street Journal article in which the authors pointed out that, for the week of July 31, the rate of hospitalization with COVID of U.S. children aged five to 17 was 0.5 per 100,000 - which would amount to roughly 250 patients.

The authors wrote: 'Some children are fine wearing a mask, but others struggle. Those who have myopia (short sightedness) can have difficulty seeing because the mask fogs their glasses. Masks can cause severe acne and other skin problems. The discomfort of a mask distracts some children from learning. 

'By increasing airway resistance during exhalation, masks can lead to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. And masks can be vectors for pathogens if they become moist or are used for too long.'

Hewitt told Fauci: 'Facial expression are integral to human connection, particularly for younger children who are only learning how to signal fear, confusion and happiness.


'Covering a child's face mutes these nonverbal form of communications, can result in robotic and emotionless interaction.

'So, doctor, what did you base it on? Why?'

Fauci replied that the data in the Wall Street Journal 'dates back to the alpha variant, not necessarily all the most recent data on Delta,' because the full impact of Delta is only being felt now.

'Delta is different,' he said. 'We'd better go back and make sure those data are really solid the same way you're asking me, and I will.

'I'll go back to the CDC and make sure that the data that they're talking about is really solid. So let's do both.

'Let's just check both those things out and make sure we're really talking about apples and apples and not apples and oranges, and make sure we're talking about transmissibility of delta as we're seeing what it's doing right now.

'So I'll just keep an open mind,' he added.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) two weeks ago recommended that unvaccinated children aged two and older wear masks.

Students should wear masks in all K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status, the CDC said. 

Governors of states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona have issued orders forbidding mask mandates in schools - although some school boards are defying them.

School districts in Arizona are taking the governor to court, and on Monday the Dallas school district announced that it would require students and staff to wear face masks starting Tuesday. 

The Houston school district already announced a mask mandate for its students and staff later this week if its board approves. 

The governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, said last week that all school districts in his state must impose full mask mandates. 

Fauci on Monday spoke to radio host Hugh Hewitt (pictured) and discussed the face mask rule

Fauci on Monday spoke to radio host Hugh Hewitt (pictured) and discussed the face mask rule

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