The false claim that three children have died from wearing face masks in Germany has been circulating online.
One iteration of the unsubstantiated claim appears in a video by Dr Bodo Schiffmann, who has previously spoken about his opposition to coronavirus measures in online videos (here) .
“I know now for certain that a third child has died,” Schiffmann tells the camera. “Children are dying! Because they are wearing masks against an illness that doesn’t exist.”
On Oct. 1, the Lower Franconia Police released a statement that rumours of a six-year-old girl dying after wearing a mask were false.
“Since Tuesday (Sept. 29), false reports have been spreading on social media about the alleged death of a 6-year-old girl in #Schweinfurt . The posts say the child died because of having to wear a mask. We know of no such case in the whole of Lower Franconia, specifically in the Schweinfurt area. Please don't believe this #fakenews and don’t share it under any circumstances,” the police force said via Facebook (here).
Reuters could not find any evidence, such as reports from the police or government, to support the claim that other children had died from wearing a mask.
As a previous Reuters fact check found, masks are safe for both children and adults to wear, though exemptions apply to very young children and people with certain health conditions (here) .
The World Health Organization advises that children aged five and under should not be required to wear masks, based on the “safety and overall interest of the child” and the “capacity to appropriately use a mask with minimal assistance” (here) .
Reuters has debunked claims that masks cause a range of health conditions, including the lung condition pleurisy, cancer and antibiotic-resistant pneumonia (here) (here) (here) .
False. There is no evidence that three children have died in Germany from wearing masks. Masks are safe for both children and adults to wear. Very young children and people with certain health conditions are usually exempt.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.