Although one principle mentioned in the debate over students wearing masks is that such a move will limit the spread of covid-19, the research that these recommendations rested on never came to this conclusion.
The torturous document trail of science was explored by David Zweig in NY magazine, starting with a May study given by the CDC.
Toward the close of the multi-page document concerning research of schools in Georgia, the report mentions elementary school students and masks.
“The 21% less incidence in schools that force masks among kids was not statistically significant when compared to schools where masks were optional,” the CDC said.
“This finding could be attributed to greater effectiveness of masks for adults, who are at a higher risk for getting infected but might also come from differences in mask-wearing among students who in classrooms with optional mask wearing.”
As Zweig noted in NY magazine, “With tens of millions of American children going back to school, their parents deserve a clear-sighted and deep discussion about which covid measures really do work and which could put more of a burden on them without meaningfully slowing the virus.”
To this end, he stressed that experts think the CDC’s May decision was very significant.
“That forcing masking on students did not show independent benefit, and this is a finding of great interest,” said Vinay Prasad, a professor at the University of California. “This should have been included within the summary.”
“The summary gives the feeling that only adult teacher masking was studied,” said Tracy Hoeg, who is an epidemiologist, “when there was really this additional detail about student-masking not having a real impact.”
Despite simulations, “Studies are incapable of predicting and tallying the effects that come when real people do real world things,” Vinay Prasad, of UCSF, said in a critique of the CDC’s recommendations for children, according to NY magazine.
“The CDC can not ‘follow the science’ since there is no science that is relevant.”
There are more issues to consider too.
“Mask-wearing for kids is generally considered a lower-risk strategy; however, the negatives do exist, especially for young kids,” Lloyd Fisher, from the American Academy of Pediatrics, stated.
“It is crucial for children to see the facial expressions of their adults and their peers around them to better learn social cues and know how to read emotions.”
Zweig said that there is no end to the great mask experience.
A 3,000 word deep dive into the evidence behind student mask mandates
Many countries around the world – with vax rates, case rates, and mortality above and below the US – do not require masks on students. Why does the US?
My latest for @NYMag https://t.co/r2nYIHVPNj
— David Zweig (@davidzweig) August 20, 2021
Author: Steven Sinclaire
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