Dr Hilary Jones has warned parents that young children could actually spread coronavirus by wearing face masks.
The TV doctor and health expert appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today to chat to hosts Ranvir Singh and Adil Ray for a discussion about whether school pupils should wear face coverings when they return to education in September.
It comes after it was made mandatory for secondary aged school kids to wear face masks at English schools in locations that are in local lockdown, meanwhile head teachers will be able to decide at their discretion if they are worn by students in secondary schools elsewhere.
Speaking about the changes, Dr Hilary, who recently urged the British public to continue following social distancing rules in order to stop a second wave, admitted that children in Year 7 and above wearing face coverings may be effective at offering some protection agains the spread of the virus but could have the opposite impact for younger pupils.
“It is sensible to say if you cannot socially distance as you can in a classroom in those corridors and communal areas where the children find it more difficult to socially distance, it makes sense to take the precaution of wearing a face covering,” he said.
“We don’t know what level of protection it offers, but the consensus is it’s going to offer some protection for age groups aged 12 years and above.
“There’s some evidence that younger children could actually spread the virus more by wearing a mask because of the way they use masks.”
Explaining further, Dr Hilary went on, “So we need to get away from the concrete thinking. There is no right or wrong. Nobody really knows what level of protection wearing a face-covering alone is going to make, but it does make sense.
“I think on the balance of what we know – for those corridors and communal areas –to make it mandatory.”