US government plans to make high-quality masks available to children, White House adviser says

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The U.S. government plans to make high-quality face masks available to children, and “that process is ongoing,” Dr. White House.

“Already 230 million masks have been delivered to pharmacies and community health centers as part of the administration’s efforts to provide high-quality masks nationwide, and that process will continue,” Inglesby said during of a virtual briefing at the White House on Wednesday.

“We are now planning the distribution of masks for children, and we will have more to say about this in the days to come,” he added. “But there is a commitment to doing it.”

In January, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their advice on masks and respirators to recommend that anyone over the age of 2 “wear the most protective mask possible that fits well and that you will wear consistently”, noting that “some masks and respirators offer higher levels of protection than others”.
The agency describes tight-fitting respirators approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health — such as N95 masks — as offering “the highest level of protection.” Although NIOSH-approved N95 respirators may be available in smaller sizes, the CDC notes that they are generally designed for use by adults in the workplace and have has not been tested for wide use in children. Therefore, high quality children’s masks can be difficult to find.

Masks can be particularly important for children, as many children between the ages of 5 and 11 are not vaccinated and there is no Covid-19 vaccine authorized for children under 5.

The difference between N95, KN95 and KF94

There are three types of respiratorsor high quality masks, often advertised as offering the highest level of protection: N95, KN95 and KF94.
the difference between N95 and KN95 masks is where everyone is certified. The United States tests, certifies and regulates the N95s that public health experts recommend; manufacturers in China test KN95s, but the country’s government does not have a regulatory body that validates them.
About 60% of KN95 respirators that NIOSH evaluated during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 did not meet the requirements they were supposed to meet, According to the CDC.
Both the N95 and KN95 masks are designed to be at least 95% efficient in filtering particlesbut N95s feature headbands due to more stringent face seal requirements.

KF94 masks are Korean standard masks tested and regulated by the Korean Ministry of Food Safety and Drugs, and they are designed to be at least 94% effective in filtering particles.

“The problem in the United States is that we don’t have a respirator standard for children. We only have the NIOSH series of masks, the lowest of which is N95, and these are not designed for children”, Aaron Collins told CNN on Wednesday. Collins, a Minneapolis-based mechanical engineer with a background in aerosol science, tested and evaluated masks. He said he has been calling on the US government to make high-quality masks available for adults and children since the early days of the pandemic.

“In terms of supply, they’ve been very tight. There are options in the KN95, which is China’s mask testing standard, and the KF94 space, which is South Korea’s consumer mask standard. “, said Collins. He added that he would be interested to see what kinds of high-quality masks the US government plans to make available to children.

Overall, “I think it’s great,” he said of the government’s plan. “The question for me is, what kind of masks are they going to distribute?”

Parents struggle to find high-quality face masks for kids

Dr. Vivek Cherian knows first-hand the need for high-quality masks for young children – and how hard it is to find them.

5 ways to get your kids to wear masks
“Two of my children are between 2 and 4 years old – so in there – and I absolutely think there is a need because, for example, every time my wife and I find a good mask, it is constantly sold out. or constantly out of stock,” said Cherian, a Chicago-based internal physician and father of three children. Her third child, 7 months old, is too young to wear a mask.

“As a parent, I have encountered this problem many times while trying to get good, high-quality KN95 masks for children available,” Cherian told CNN on Wednesday, adding that he tends to search for masks. in line.

“When it comes to kids in particular, you want to find a mask that’s really comfortable and fits well. So it completely covers their nose and mouth and there’s no gaps – because when gaps happen, that’s where the air leaking happens too,” Cherian said. “And that’s also one of the biggest reasons, besides the filtration issue, that surgical masks aren’t as effective, because there’s usually has several shortcomings that occur when wearing ordinary surgical masks.”

Cherian looks forward to possible plans by the US government to roll out high-quality masks for children, he said.

“We should do our due diligence to give them the best masks possible,” he said. “And if they’re not eligible for vaccinations at this point, to make sure we surround those children with fully vaccinated adults and teachers.”

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