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"We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms ("asymptomatic") and that even those who eventually develop symptoms ("pre-symptomatic") can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms," the CDC states on its website.
Because of this, the CDC recommends children ages 2 and older wear a face mask when in public.
"Kids are much more likely to be asymptotic carriers or presymptomatic carriers, so ... 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,'" Dr. Deborah Gilboa, a family physician and youth development speaker, told Today Parents. "We really want to slow and stop the spread of this, and we're seeing in data from other countries that kids are actively involved, entirely accidentally, in spreading this."
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Babies and children younger than 2 have smaller airways, however, so masks might make it too difficult for them to breathe.
"Using a mask on an infant can increase their risk of suffocation," Dr. Jamie Macklin, a pediatric hospitalist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, told Today.
In addition, strings or elastic bands on masks could pose a choking hazard.
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