Although the political/media establishment from Joe Biden on down seems to consider face masks equivalent perhaps to some kind of a force field against COVID infection, a liberal publication may be departing from the conventional wisdom, at least at it pertains to student masking.
Citing a somewhat underpublicized study of Georgia elementary schools, a lengthy article in New York magazine headlined “The Science of Masking Kids at School Remains Uncertain” implies that media coverage of the May 2021 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report may have omitted key information.
“Other findings of equal importance in the study, however, were absent from the summary and not widely reported. These findings cast doubt on the impact of many of the most common mitigation measures in American schools,” the article continued.
“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,” the magazine claimed.
The principal conclusions of the above-referenced CDC report included that masking up teachers and staff reduced COVID incidence by 37 percent. Improved ventilation lowered the incidence by 39 percent.
The perhaps contrarian view offered in the progressive news outlet comes as the political elite have attempted to smear pro-freedom GOP governors like Ron DeSantis for opposing mask mandates in public schools.
Throughout the country, moreover, concerned parents have flocked to school board meetings to speak out against mask mandates and vaccine mandates or potential mandates (as well as critical race theory).
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 20, 2021
Parenthetically, scientists and others in the healthcare sector who have dissented from mask edicts or other bureaucratic proclamations have, at times, found themselves professionally ostracized or censored.
Current CDC guidelines recommend “universal indoor masking by all students (age 2 and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status” as well as three feet of social distancing between each student. The American Academy of Pediatrics also says that to make schools safe, everyone older than age two should wear a mask, regardless of whether they’ve received the jab.
The author underscores the various European nations that have exempted kids from the classroom mask requirement and “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.”
Those European countries apparently have not changed their policy even in the presence of the Delta variant.
Author David Zweig acknowledged that ideological divisions have emerged here in America over facial coverings.
But with tens of millions of American kids headed back to school in the fall, their parents and political leaders owe it to them to have a clear-sighted, scientifically rigorous discussion about which anti-COVID measures actually work and which might put an extra burden on vulnerable young people without meaningfully or demonstrably slowing the spread of the virus.
In that context, the best practices for mask use in schools — elementary schools in particular — are much less obvious than CDC guidance and news headlines about keeping schools safe might have you believe.
In this context, he asserted that some healthcare experts are “raising questions about the CDC’s recent recommendations and what has become accepted conventional knowledge.” Said one, “The CDC cannot ‘follow the science’ because there is no relevant science.”
The author also claims kids are at far lower risk for COVID and, as a result, it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario:
Children are less likely to have severe disease from SARS-CoV-2, and when infected less likely to be symptomatic, which correlates with lower contagiousness. Those facts alone may account for part of the reason why the Georgia study found no clear benefit for a masking requirement for kids in schools….While masks offer some protection for adults in many environments, as the adage in pediatrics goes, children are not little adults. Medicine is littered with examples of adult interventions that don’t translate to children….”
The New York magazine piece (which you can read in its entirety and draw your own conclusions) left open the possibility that a larger study down the road could determine that masks for kids provide a significant benefit but that “Several doctors…pointed out that the best way to shield children from COVID-19 exposure is through adult vaccination.”
Left-wing, mask-loving Twitter is very upset with New York magazine for challenging the narrative. But a few commenters spoke up in its defense, such as those below:
— Flying Camel (@flyingcamel43) August 21, 2021
Thank you @NYMag & @davidzweig for this great piece. So many children will benefit if decision-makers read this & use it to make better, more informed decisions. @BrianLehrer please ask every NYC elected why they support mask mandates when the harm is real & benefits unproven.
— Maud Maron (@MaudMaron) August 21, 2021
The irony of these comments is that these people who are mask worshippers call out anyone who disagrees by saying “you’re not a doctor” but then when doctors and scientists say masks may not work they go YOURE WRONG!! lol so ironic
— David Brain (@David_brain8) August 23, 2021
Interesting article with great info. The CDC needs to be more transparent if they want wide spread acceptance on their policies. I ask them – show me the research to support your policies. People are done being sheep and trust is gone. Show me the evidence.
— Fairport Craig (@craigdrigney) August 22, 2021
No child should be forced to wear a mask. Children need to breath fresh oxygen. Most kids do not wear their mask properly. Children are suffering academically, socially and physically for a virus that has little or no effect to them. It sad how common sense is no longer common.
— Erica (@EricaRod1014) August 22, 2021
Thank you for this accurate reporting. I have young children in public school. Dr. Schechter-Perkins (and team) were instrumental in getting CDC policy to shift from 6ft to 3ft. My hope is that we see a shift to end unnecessary and detrimental mandates imposed on our children.
— Stephanie Kokinos (@SKokinos) August 21, 2021
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