NBC News suggests children should wear two masks to prevent COVID: ‘You want to layer’

NBC News suggested Tuesday that kids should double mask as students return to school after winter vacation and the country grapples with the rise of the omicron coronavirus variant.

“I actually just sent my kids out the door, minutes ago, with two masks,” NBC investigative and consumer correspondent Vicky Nguyen said on “Today.” 

NBC News correspondent Vicky Nguyen demonstrates how to layer a surgical mask underneath a cloth mask for children. 

NBC News correspondent Vicky Nguyen demonstrates how to layer a surgical mask underneath a cloth mask for children. 
(NBC’s Today )

Nguyen said KN95 or N95 masks are preferred but it’s “really hard to find them in small kid sizes” so having children wear two masks was the next-best solution. 

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“The second-best option is to make sure you have a kid-sized surgical mask,” Nguyen said as she held up a child-sized mask. “You really want to make sure you have one that fits your child’s face, and you want to layer the cloth mask over that mask.”

Nguyen demonstrated layering the cloth mask over a surgical mask to ensure viewers got the message. 

“The surgical mask goes on first and then the cloth mask,” she said. 

Whether or not kids should be required to wear masks has been a polarizing topic thorough the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In July, a research letter published in JAMA Network by scientists from Poland, Germany and Austria stemmed from an analysis involving 45 children, who were 10 years old on average, with ages ranging from 6-17, found evidence of unacceptable carbon dioxide levels reached after three minutes of wearing. As a result, the researchers argued that kids shouldn’t be forced to wear a mask. 

Other researchers have argued kids should not wear face masks regardless of vaccination status due to a low risk of COVID-19 infection. An opinion piece published in the Washington Post, by Dr. Tracy Beth Høeg, epidemiologist and an associate researcher at the University of California at Davis, among others, cited exceedingly rare risks of poor outcomes like hospitalization and death following infection in kids.

Last month, a top Minnesota public health official told parents that masking their children is a “best practice” for mitigating the spread of COVID-19, but he appeared to contradict himself behind closed doors, reportedly telling staff that masking is among the “least effective” mitigation techniques. 

Bloomington Public Health Administrator Nick Kelley advises the Bloomington, Edina, and Richfield school districts on COVID-19 policies, which includes recommendations for the universal masking of students and school staff. 

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Whether kids should be required to wear masks has been a polarizing topic thorough the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Whether kids should be required to wear masks has been a polarizing topic thorough the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In August, he told parents during a “Return to School” webinar that in addition to getting their kids vaccinated, making them wear masks in the classroom is the next best practice for mitigating the spread of the virus. 

One month later, Kelley was heard telling Bloomington Public Health staff that masking is among the “least effective” mitigation techniques, Minnesota think tank American Experiment revealed, citing a recording of Kelley’s remarks.

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When asked for clarification, Kelley sent a statement to Fox News saying his agency “continues to advocate for a multi-layered approach to stop the spread of COVID-19, including vaccination, improving ventilation, social distancing, masking, getting tested when appropriate, staying home when you’re sick, and more.”

Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar and Kayla Rivas contributed to this report. 

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