CDC squelched its own study showing masks ineffective for kids in schools. Answers needed. – Wirepoints Quickpoint | Wirepoints


Friday’s column in New York Magazine is a must-read for those following the controversy over masks in K-12 schools.

In May, as the column says, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a large-scale study of COVID transmission in American schools. It concluded that masking then-unvaccinated teachers and improving ventilation with more fresh air were associated with a lower incidence of the virus in schools. “The fact that they seem to work is reassuring but not surprising,” as the column says.

But it’s what the study found that the CDC didn’t tell us that’s important. The CDC’s published summary of the study did not include its findings that certain other common mitigation measures in American schools don’t work. Distancing, hybrid models, classroom barriers, HEPA filters, and, most notably, requiring student masking were each found to not have a statistically significant benefit.

“In other words, these measures could not be said to be effective,” as the New York Magazine column says.

Finding that masks on school kids don’t work should come as no surprise because that’s “not exactly controversial,” for reasons the column explains:

Many of America’s peer nations around the world — including the U.K., Ireland, all of Scandinavia, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy — have exempted kids, with varying age cutoffs, from wearing masks in classrooms. Conspicuously, there’s no evidence of more outbreaks in schools in those countries relative to schools in the U.S., where the solid majority of kids wore masks for an entire academic year and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. These countries, along with the World Health Organization, whose child-masking guidance differs substantially from the CDC’s recommendations, have explicitly recognized that the decision to mask students carries with it potential academic and social harms for children and may lack a clear benefit.

Scientists the author spoke with believe that omitting the null effects of a student masking requirement amounted to “file drawering” — sticking what you don’t like in a drawer and forgetting about it.

The author challenged the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics to put up their evidence that masks on school kids work since they both recommend it. Both struck out. The CDC provided an evasive answer and the AAP didn’t respond at all.

What evidence could other scientists point to supporting the recommendation of masks in schools?

Nobody the author talked to was able to find a data set as robust as the CDC results, “that is, a large cohort study directly looking at the effects of a mask requirement.” It was indeed a major study, “both ambitious and groundbreaking,” says the column. It covered more than 90,000 elementary-school students in 169 Georgia schools and was, according to the CDC, the first of its kind to compare COVID-19 incidence in schools with certain mitigation measures in place to other schools without those measures.

CDC squelched its own study showing masks ineffective for kids in schools. Answers needed. – Wirepoints Quickpoint | WirepointsBut CDC deep-sixed the key conclusions. Read the whole New York Magazine column.

The CDC obviously has some explaining to do, but so do officials in states like Illinois that blindly follow CDC guidance. Maybe reporters here will start asking: “What’s your ‘science’ behind masking kids in schools, and please don’t point to CDC guidance?”

COVID remains a deadly risk for certain groups, primarily the elderly and the obese, and case counts are rising. Is it too much to ask whether measures being taken actually work? America is tired of being lied to.

-Mark Glennon