“Our kids have been in masks all day, seven hours a day in school,” Donoho, who has a 10-year-old and twin 8-year-olds, said on Thursday. “The only break that they get is to eat or drink and that is it.”
She noted that children have not had breaks from wearing masks even during recess and physical education, which often take place outdoors.
“It’s been 90 degrees outside for the last two months,” she stressed, noting that the rule has recently been lifted, but if children are within about six to eight feet of each other “masks have to go on.”
Donoho and other parents in Gainesville who are concerned about the potential harm of prolonged mask wearing sent six face masks to a lab at the University of Florida for analysis and the resulting report found that five of them were contaminated with bacteria, parasites and fungi, including three with dangerous pathogenic and pneumonia-causing bacteria, according to RationalGround.com.
“Masks that are in hospitals that we’re using every day are meant to be changed every 20 minutes,” Donoho argued, noting that children have been wearing them every day while they are school for seven hours a day.
In a statement from Alachua County Public Schools in Gainesville, Fla., Public Information Officer Jackie Jonson said, “Alachua County consistently had one of the lowest rates of COVID infections among children in Florida.”
“We attribute that success to the wide variety of mitigation strategies including testing, social distancing, contact tracing, quarantines and masking,” she added.
Donoho was joined by Fox News medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday, who discussed the risks of wearing masks for prolonged periods and argued that “the benefits of mask wearing in children” no longer outweigh the “inherent risks.”
She acknowledged that face masks “have had their utility when it has come to the fight against the pandemic.”
“Absolutely when transmission is high and you are in small, congregated indoor areas, before the vaccines, they did help lower transmission,” Saphier said, noting that masks “are not 100%, but they do lessen the transmission and when we had no weapons to protect us against this virus.”
She added that “now we are in a very different situation than we were a year ago.”
“As our wall of immunity has grown through vaccines and the existing natural immunity from infection, viral transmission in our country is low in the majority of areas,” she said. “So now we have to look at what’s the benefit and risk analysis of our children wearing face masks? Because there are risks to wearing it, yes.”
Saphier said that some of those risks include “poor dentition from increased biofilm,” chapped lips, increased sinus infections and acne as well as other skin problems.
“The whole universal campaigns for children to continue to wear masks until they’re eligible for their vaccines do not make sense anymore,” she said, adding that “not only do they have these physical implications, but we know from a mental and emotional standpoint they also affect their development socially, mentally, and emotionally.”
“It’s time for children to come out of face masks as a whole,” Saphier added.