my data does not care about your virtue signaling.
at the helpful suggestion of my longstanding amigo phil @kerpen i took a cut at the EMILY OSTER DATA on US schools to see whether mask mandates there are having any effect. the answer is, plainly, no.
for this cut, i looked only at schools that were 30%+ in person (top 3 of 4 cohorts) as the only other category was “remote only” and that one seemed a poor proxy and lacked student case rates.
i then plotted the case rates and aggregated them over the full dataset for students, staff, and community.
this is the aggregate data.
students in masked schools had a 21% higher case rate than students in schools with no masks. masks do not look to protect your kids.
staff case rate was 23% higher in masked schools.
areas imposing masks had a 19% higher overall community case rate.
there is no evidence here that masking kids in school stopped spread and masking is associated with higher, not lower case rates. this might lead some to claim that masks are upping spread of covid, but i would caution against drawing that conclusion from this data.
the higher community rate is almost exactly the same as the increase in rate in kids and staff in masked schools. this suggests that masks were just useless and the rate variance is just reflective of baseline community variance. that could easily be driven just by a higher testing level (sample rate).
this is easy to see here. variance drops to 2% higher (kids) and 3% higher (staff) in masked schools. we’re almost certainly getting within the margin of error here.
of course, it’s also possible that districts that masked kids also masked community and that masking overall drove up infection rates. this is pure conjecture and i have no data to support such a claim. i raise this merely to round out the scenarios that would be consistent with this data. i very much doubt that it’s the case.
“masking children had no material effect on covid cases among students or staff in schools” looks like the strongest hypothesis here.
it’s tempting to claim that there may be some temporal shifting here but i am finding this notion to be pretty iffy despite the graphics.
while i cannot rule it out, i suspect this is unlikely to be a function of earlier infection and earlier herd immunity generation.
if this were so and masks delayed infection, you’d expect to see them have an effect on overall infection rates, yet they do not once one adjusts for baseline community infection rates.
additionally, i’m struggling to see a plausible pathway whereby masking delays but does not stop covid and am always leery of trusting correlations where you have no reason to suspect causality. that’s how you wind up thinking that the last redskins game of the season predicts electoral winners (which it did, flawlessly, for decades. datamining if weird stuff.)
i suspect the more likely culprit here is sample rate and higher testing levels in schools having cross correlation with mask adoption. it seems plausible that schools that are adopting aggressive policies of one sort will also adopt others.
this temporal variance does not appear to anything like the same degree in community data. combined with the mismatch in temporal shifting between kids and teachers, this makes me suspect a sampling artifact in schools.
masked schools have higher covid rates for kids
masked schools have higher covid rates for staff
adjusted for the community case rate baseline, masked an unmasked case rates are basically indistinguishable.
you can have correlation without causality, but material causality without correlation is extraordinarily implausible. the lack of correlation in outcomes to masking looks like pretty conclusive evidence that masking children in schools does nothing to affect covid outcomes.
it’s a policy with significant COSTS and RISKS that exhibits no visible benefits.
it’s a complete fail rooted in pseudoscience and talismanic superstition.
stop masking your kids. it’s not science. it’s just wrong.
Sometimes a bad flu will blow through a school or school district, and they will shut down for a few days or a week or so. Then, they go back to school. No one wears masks. No one socially distances.
According to the CDC, 277 children age 0-17 years have died of C19 from 01/01/2020 through 04/28/2021. I have heard most (if not all) of the children who died had significant co-morbidities or a terminal diagnosis. This virus is not dangerous for the overwhelming majority of children, which cannot be said of flu.
While children with pre-existing conditions list asthma have a greater risk from the influenza viruses, it is not unheard of for a perfectly healthy child to become sick and die from the flu. It happens every year. It can happen to healthy young adults as well. I personally know of two.
Both of my children had asthma growing up. Every time some parent sent their sick child to school with a "little fever" one my children, especially my daughter, had an infection with a two week flare requiring inhaled steroid, bronchial dilators, a couple of doctor visits, missed school, and maybe a course of antibiotics. The school didn't shut down for my children. We had to learn to adapt.
I can assure you that I wanted to punch more than one mother in the face when she admitted to sending her child to school with a fever. I suspect that the very same moms who sent their sick kids to schools are the ones "karening" the schools now.
We know for sure that the virus was here months before we had tests for it and months before we did anything to slow the spread. It's only logical to assume that as a group, children and school staff got it and got over it faster than anybody other than medical staff. For as long as I've been paying attention, school staff and kids have decreased infection rates compared to their community baselines.
Schools have been more or less open for a year in numerous places around in the world. Nowhere at all has there been a crisis in the school systems. Yet the places the teachers unions control are still balking. That's very telling.
Here we have yet another set of data showing that masks have no effect on covid outcomes. But the políticians will argue that your analysis must be wrong, because masks work. They use circular logic.
"possible that districts that masked kids also masked community and that masking overall drove up infection rates."
Mechanism conjecture: an obstruction makes it more likely you'd breathe through your mouth. Humid mouth-breathing releases more viral aerosol than nose-breathing.
There is a very important topic that has not usually been considered in the pro-mask/anti-mask debates:
While it is true that it takes a special kind of blindness to deny the failure of the biggest experiment ever (because masking the whole planet at the same time is as big a social-psychological experiment as global vaccination was), I find it VERY dangerous to focus on their inefficacy. It is only a matter of time that they invest enough money to make them actually work. This WILL happen. And then we´d be doomed.
Because it is not a matter of masks preventing airborne virus infections. It is a matter of moderation, common sense and understanding of what life has always been. Masking people with supposedly awesome masks that do work would be like closing beaches and swimming pools to avoid big drowning figures, or to fence off highways 5 hours a day to avoid car crashes, or only allowing people to go to the streets 3 hours a day to reduce the risks of...well, of living. And I am not even talking about the stupid short term-ism of reducing figures by turning life into a demented dream, into Howard Hugues wet dream, or the physical/mental/immunitary wreckage.
The fact that we still have to remark this turn us into the most stupid generation of all time. By far.
Masks are too porous to the .06 micron aerosol SARS CoV-2 RNA strand!
Add to that the uncovered mucous membranes in the eye socket........
Also observed for a susceptible individual (most healthy under 17 are not susceptible) a few strands is all it takes.....
Proper fitting of the mask is near impossible, continued fit during activity is hard, proper removal is also impossible with the mask types and lack of training.
Causation of mask failure in population are postulated, and should be refuted before you accept a mannequin's word.
To be 'effective' masks with eye covers will need the kind of support and training we provde to soldiers for the use of chem bio suits in combat training. I was trained with US Mil Spec M17A-1 gas masks in the early 80's.
Masks are a 'hint of virtue' compared to the PPE and decontamination applied in and around CLI wards!
I'm guessing the argument from the pro-mask side is going to be that masked schools have such high sample rates for testing that it is "masking" the effect of the masks, and that really if they all tested at the same rate then masked schools would do better. It's what I'd argue if I were chained to the pseudoscience and obligated to defend it.
Did you see this? In Arkansas apparently they worked https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7110e1.htm
All this masking turns generations currently in the basic social skills & communication learning phase into people who can't read other people properly.
That's very good for tyrants who want slaves who can't spot BS. Or perhaps be affected by discomfort in others' faces.
Masking indeed negates other effective ways to stop spread, like hand hygiene. There's old evidence of that, but I'm not going to search for the paper. Sorry-
This is great el gato.
What I'd like to see published widely is the fact that 'advisors' stopped flip flopping on masks and made them mandatory because the mask manufacturing lobbies were successful in convincing them they needed a boost on their bottom line.
The piece in med hypotheses from NCBI/NIH HAS BEEN RETRACTED! I sent it to the director of my son's school and he replied saying that it has been retracted. I need help with explaining to him that masking my four year old is detrimental to my son's health and wellbeing. Any pointers in this regard would be greatly appreciated.