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Doctor has opposing view on face mask debate in schools

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 7:43 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama boards of education are continuing to grapple with the spread of the Delta variant and looking for ways to slow its spread. Many school districts are debating mandating face masks, but some in the medical community believe face coverings do more harm than good.

The CDC, the Alabama Department of Public Health, and the Jefferson County Department of Health are all asking people and students to wear masks.

WBRC FOX6 News was contacted by a Dr. Jordan Vaughn, a CEO of Medhelp in Birmingham, who believes mask wearing increases the anxiety of children who are mandated to wear masks.

But other health leaders said that is not true.

Alabama health leaders are urging everyone to wear masks as one of the key ways to slow the spread of the very contagious Delta variant.

“Wear the masks so if you are indoors everybody should be wearing a mask regardless of your vaccination status,” said Dr. David Hicks with the Jefferson County Department of Health.

Dr. Hicks said the CDC has found studies where even vaccinated people can spread the virus. The Alabama Department of Public Health believes there are a number of studies that show wearing a mask can reduce the spread of the virus.

“Masks are effective. Masks do work. Certainly that data is there,” said Dr. Karen Landers with ADPH.

Dr. Landers said she can point to eight different studies that support wearing face coverings.

As for concerns about children mandated to wear masks impacting their mental health or creating additional anxiety, Landers said, “I do not see anything in the pediatric literature and I follow this literature that indicates this particular mitigation is harmful to children.”

There are studies that have shown that mask wearing has reduced the number of students getting infected. One example is Georgia schools, another is Wisconsin. The CDC also points to multiple studies where mask wearing has increased the protection of people who mask up.

Dr. Vaughn said he has others in the medical field who agree with him and he is not convinced there is enough data to show the benefits over the potential harm.

Landers says there is no debate, masks work.

Here is a list of studies provided by JCDH:

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