LUBBOCK, Texas — The state of Texas announced at the start of July, all citizens ages ten and older would be required to wear face masks in public areas.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that those older than two years of age should wear them.
With the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Texas, some parents have expressed concern about how to best protect their kids.
“Because there’s a lot we don’t know right now about children transmitting this virus child to child, I think it’s always a good idea to wear a mask,” said Dr. Celeste Caballero, a pediatrician at Covenant Health. “Even for children as young as three to have a mask on for a few hours.”
This something some parents have already put into practice. One Lubbock mother explained why she feels it is important to have her toddler wear a mask.
“My biggest concern would be more her catching it from somebody or giving it to someone else if for some reason she gets it,” said Emily Wilkinson.
She said that she has planned to send her daughter to a Pre-k program in the fall, but is more concerned about her contracting the virus from an adult rather than another child. However, there is limited research available about transmission rates between children.
“I feel like a lot of extra adults around would be a bigger concern for me,” said Wilkinson. “I haven’t heard a lot of details yet so I know a lot of places are still really up in the air with what their plan is. And to hear that there’s some sort of research behind it, that they’ve talked to the doctor, that to me is the biggest thing.”
Health professionals have said there are studies showing that children under 12 years of age are less likely to develop or spread the virus. For those that have had the virus — which have been very few in Lubbock, according to Dr. Caballero — the cases haven’t been too severe.
“The younger the children, the school age children and toddlers as well as the teenagers that we’re seeing may have a runny nose, a little fever, and a little bit of diarrhea and poor appetite,” said Dr. Caballero. “But generally speaking, we’re not seeing severe illness among children here in Lubbock or worldwide.”
Wilkinson said she is most concerned about her daughter getting the virus and spreading it to her family, specially her older grandparents.
She explained that having her daughter wear a mask is the best way to keep everyone protected.
“It’s been shown in lots of different places that if people are wearing masks that we can get back to some sort of normalcy, ” said Wilkinson. “I’m happy to do that and to teach my daughter to do the same thing to help everyone get back to normal as best we can.”
Explaining the pandemic to her 3-year-old has also been a challenge, according to Wilkinson. However, she has been doing her best to set an example for her daughter, while recommending other parents do the same.
“You’re not wearing a mask just to keep yourself safe but you’re doing it for others and I think that’s the same concept as teaching kids to share,” said Wilkinson. “Sharing is not about the child it’s about the people so I think those two concepts go really well together and I think that if parents teach that, we could all get through this a lot better than we have been so far.”