The Scientific Benefit of Masking Kids at School Remains Unprovable

The headline was actually uncertain, but, the reality is the science is unprovable: unable to be demonstrated by evidence or argument as true or existing.

It cannot be demonstrated or verified. Read on.


At the end of May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a notable, yet mostly ignored, large-scale study of COVID transmission in American schools.

CDC study accessible here

A few major news outlets covered its release by briefly reiterating the study’s summary: that masking then-unvaccinated teachers and improving ventilation with more fresh air were associated with a lower incidence of the virus in schools. Those are common-sense measures, and the fact that they seem to work is reassuring but not surprising. 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. 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.

Cast doubt on most common mitigation measures including distancing, hybrid models, classroom barriers and most notably requiring students to wear masks- NOT EFFECTIVE. NOT HAVING A STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT BENEFIT

In the realm of science and public-health policy outside the U.S., the implications of these particular findings are not exactly controversial. 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. To date, the highly transmissible Delta variant has not led them to change this calculus. (Many experts I spoke with told me that while the Delta variant represents a major and concerning new development in the Covid pandemic, it probably shouldn’t change our thinking on a mask requirement for schools.)

Because this is about politics not science. Like much of the big pandemic experiment.

The extreme political heat around the issue of masks in schools is making it hard to have a coherent conversation about the science. At the risk of generalizing, much of blue-state America is strongly in favor of masks in schools, while much of red-state America is opposed. In Florida, Tennessee, and elsewhere, local school-board meetings are verging on violence as parents and officials fight over the question. 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.

Follow the science. So we’re told. Except when the science and political machinations are at odds- Then we follow the political games and to heck with the well being of children. Right? That’s how it looks!

The study published by the CDC was both ambitious and groundbreaking. It covered more than 90,000 elementary-school students in 169 Georgia schools from November 16 to December 11 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. Scientists I spoke with believe that the decision not to include the null effects of a student masking requirement (and distancing, hybrid models, etc.) in the summary amounted to “file drawering” these findings, a term researchers use for the practice of burying studies that don’t produce statistically significant results. “That a masking requirement of students failed to show independent benefit is a finding of consequence and great interest,” says Vinay Prasad, an associate professor in University of California, San Francisco’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. “It should have been included in the summary.” “The summary gives the impression that only masking of staff was studied,” says Tracy Hoeg, an epidemiologist and the senior author of a separate CDC study on COVID-19 transmission in schools, “when in reality there was this additional important detection about a student-masking requirement not having a statistical impact.”

Repeating.. “when in reality there was this additional important detection about a student-masking requirement not having a statistical impact.”

After the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics issued their student-mask guidance last month, I contacted both organizations asking for the evidence or underlying data upon which they had based their recommendations. The AAP did not respond to multiple requests. The CDC press office replied that since children under 12 cannot be vaccinated, the agency “recommends schools do universal masking” and included links to unrelated materials on vaccines and a recent outbreak among adults. Over the course of several weeks, I also corresponded with many experts — epidemiologists, infectious-disease specialists, an immunologist, pediatricians, and a physician publicly active in matters relating to COVID — asking for the best evidence they were aware of that mask requirements on students were effective. Nobody was able to find a data set as robust as the Georgia results — that is, a large cohort study directly looking at the effects of a mask requirement

A year ago, I said, ‘Masks are not the end of the world; why not just wear a mask?’” Elissa Schechter-Perkins, the director of Emergency Medicine Infectious Disease Management at Boston Medical Center, told me. “But the world has changed, there are real downsides to masking children for this long, with no known end date, and without any clear upside.” She continued, “I’m not aware of any studies that show conclusively that kids wearing masks in schools has any effect on their own morbidity or mortality or on the hospitalization or death rate in the community around them.”

Schechter-Perkins is just one of a number of top experts calling for this type of discussion — and raising questions about the CDC’s recent recommendations and what has become accepted conventional knowledge. “We lack credible evidence for benefits of masking kids aged 2 to 5, despite what the American Academy of Pediatrics says,” Jeffrey Flier, former dean of Harvard Medical School, wrote recently. While there are models, and simulations on mannequins with masks, “mechanistic studies are incapable of anticipating and tallying the effects that emerge when real people are asked to do real things in the real world,” Vinay Prasad of UCSF wrote in a critique of the CDC’s child masking recommendation. “The CDC cannot ‘follow the science’ because there is no relevant science.”

The CDC cannot “follow the science” because they have none. They are playing politics

This question of “relevant science” is what makes the Georgia study worth careful consideration. Over and over, studies and reports on children in schools with low transmission rates claim in their summaries that masking students helped keep transmission down. But looking at the underlying data in these studies, masks were always required or widely worn, and implemented in concert with a variety of other interventions, such as increased ventilation. Without a comparison group that didn’t require student masking, it’s difficult or impossible to isolate the effect of masks. (This is the error made by Duke University researchers who wrote a report about North Carolina schools, later summarized in a New York Times opinion piece.) I reviewed 17 different studies cited by the CDC in its K-12 guidance as evidence that masks on students are effective, and not one study looked at student mask use in isolation from other mitigation measures, or against a control. Some even demonstrated that no student masking correlated with low transmission. In a number of the studies cited by the agency there was universal masking combined with other measures, such as ventilation, so, as noted, there was no way to know whether a mask mandate contributed to mitigating case rates or not. One study cited was of child-care centers with limited secondary transmission, yet children were not required to wear masks. Another was of a hair salon. One study, in Switzerland, was of schools with low transmission rates where young children were not required to wear masks. Finally, one study was of an Israeli school outbreak where the students weren’t wearing masks. Except students all over that country were exempt from masks at the same time, yet this was the only noted outbreak. If anything, that could seem to suggest a lack of benefit of masking students. Moreover, the windows were closed and it was only grades 7-12.

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. Though the CDC says that layered mitigation in schools is effective, without studying each of the layers individually, it cannot know which of those measures work, and to what degree, and which don’t. For example, several experts told me, it’s entirely possible that open windows or fresh-air ventilation accounts for nearly all the mitigation benefit in a classroom and other “layered” interventions may contribute only a marginal benefit or none at all.

While the protective value of a mask mandate for children in school seems, at best, uncertain, experts have concerns about the potential downsides of them in a learning environment.

“Mask-wearing among children is generally considered a low-risk mitigation strategy; however, the negatives are not zero, especially for young children,” said Lloyd Fisher, the president of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “It is important for children to see facial expressions of their peers and the adults around them in order to learn social cues and understand how to read emotions.” Some children with special needs, for example those with articulation delays, may be most affected, he suggested. Fisher stressed his opinions are not to be perceived as contradicting AAP’s stance for universal masking of students but said he wanted to discuss some of the potential harms and the importance of using evidence and data to drive decisions on when to eliminate mask usage.

“There are very good reasons that the World Health Organization has repeatedly affirmed their guidance for children under 6 to not wear masks,” said a pediatrician who has both state and national leadership roles in the AAP but who wished to remain anonymous because they did not want to jeopardize their roles in the organization. “Reading faces is critical for social emotional learning. And all children are actively learning language the first five years of life, for which seeing faces is foundational,” the pediatrician said.

One troubling aspect of the CDC and AAP’s guidance for masking children in school, nearly every expert I interviewed said, is that it has no endpoint or specific metrics.

So, there is more to read at the link provided. Bottom line masking children does more harm then good. It’s child abuse.

Ties in quite nicely with the earlier report:

Cloth & Surgical Masks ONLY 10% Effective

10 replies on “The Scientific Benefit of Masking Kids at School Remains Unprovable”

Here’s an Unlimited Hangout article about elite capture of the teacher’s union explaining their acceptance of COVID measures, to shift kids to online ed and charter schools for the benefit of big tech.

I saw a video the other day of a little girl standing on her porch with the school bus in the background. She didn’t want to go to school because she didn’t want to wear a mask all day. She wasn’t throwing a tantrum, she was just sad and defeated. It’s so infuriating. People talk about messing with children being some kind of red line, at which point people will ‘lose it’ if crossed, but as we’ve seen, that line itself is imaginary.

Superhuman, no, posthuman tricks will be needed for me to “consent” to my son being enrolled in any public indoctrination camp. Or Australian KGB style coercion. I think the line might not be imaginary. Rather quiet. More than a handful I know who have withdrawn their children from the System, begun homeschooling. Others before This Most Unrivalled Of Unprecedented Times, and to boot, a few after. In some ways I think this bothers the system more, quiet withdrawal is harder to turn into a red herring or strawman than the bloviating PTA Meeting parent you can call a drunk and a supremacist of some stripe. Also, I like your username.

Yeah, the stuff I share on here revolves around the elements of those who wish to rule over this planet and it’s people. They have a multi-pronged attack… consolidation of power, of wealth and of resources. They use censorship, surveillance and geopolitical conflict to accomplish it

It’s a Grug take. But I’ve been saying this from the start: if the use of the goddamned hospital masks, now near standard issue, cannot prevent me from sawdust inhalation in my day job as a carpenter… Save me from the unpleasantness of drywall dust… Or even spare me the ravages of the smelly gentlemen ahead of me in line at the Hannafords… Than why ever should I assume a mask would shield me from the Sickness To End All Illness in This The Most Unprecedented Of Times Imaginable By Man EVER? Wouldn’t the Covidicus Rex strain be much smaller and therefore indefatigable than, say, drywall particulates? Makes you think somedays…

Ah, there is nothing quite like drywall dust!
Hubby and I are do it yourselfers and drywall dust is one of the worse- your comment brought back many memories? annoyances? Whatever.
” Sickness To End All Illness in This The Most Unprecedented Of Times Imaginable By Man EVER?”
I actually know of someone who contracted covid, positive pcr, was not sick but was so happy they survived the ‘most deadly disease on the planet” And I’m like… “ever hear of Ebola?”

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