As our children return to schools, some to public schools where they can learn to be good little social justice warriers but nothing else, we are going to see endless pandemic porn about cases among children, masking, etc. We already had one this morning in the Minneapolis paper about a school district that, horror of horror, failed to require masks. Somehow schools in Europe are fine without masks, social distancing, sending every child home if one is infected or anything else like that. But here in the US we are in complete panic mode. Wonder what is different here? Couldn’t have anything to do with one party being completely owned by political contributions from teachers’ unions, could it?
So here again, I am going to turn to the research to see what we can learn. The CDC has thoroughly disgraced itself by conducting and/or publishing research which is blatantly twisted to fit desired messages, massaging study time periods, ignoring obvious findings to highlight obscure and misleading ones, and so on. It is a completely politicized agency and then it can’t figure out why it has no credibility. Here is another example, a new “study” which the agency is pimping as proving everyone needs to mask up in school. (CDC Study) Except that here is the major fact that everyone should notice first–all the students were masked. Here is what supposedly happened. A teacher was not masked at all times in a school in California, probably properly feeling a mask inhibited his ability to teach. The teacher was not vaxed. So here we are abusing children by forcing them to be masked and terrorizing them about normal socializing, but letting unvaxed adults teach them. The teacher further had been symptomatic for two days and kept working during that time before getting tested. How can you punish children when adults act so stupidly. The study took place in May, so no excuse for not vaxing. In any event, the teacher tested positive and then supposedly infected a large number of students. Now I say supposedly because here is a weird thing, somehow a sample from the teacher could not be found for sequencing to compare to the virus sequence in the students. Hmmm, that seems almost impossible. 12 of 22 tested students were positive. Despite being masked at all times. Yep, masks work great. And the students were all separated by 6 feet. Students closer to the teacher were more likely to be infected. Some students in other classes also became infected, as did 8 people outside the school. Now, note carefully, three of the 8 outside cases were people who were vaccinated. Also note that even the authors say the study does not appear to reflect significantly greater transmissibility of Delta. Out of 27 total cases, 80% had symptoms, but all the cases were mild, with none requiring hospitalization, despite the fact that they were all from the Dread Pirate Roberts, i.e., the Delta variant. So let’s see, what lesson should we take from this–students shouldn’t go to school? students and teachers should wear diving helmets to protect them in school? or maybe that it is fine if we just let kids go to school, unmasked, and tell them and staff to stay home if they have symptoms, otherwise, don’t worry about it, it is barely even a cold.
Now here is a second CDC study, which has received far less hype, for reasons that will soon be obvious. (CDC Study) The study looked at case rates after LA County schools returned to in-person non-education and compared those among the students going to school with those for children of that age in the county as a whole. Among those students doing in-person education (or lack thereof, especially in California), case rates throughout the study period were much lower than the total case rate for this age group in the county. And even the school staff had a somewhat lower rate than in their comparable group for the county as a whole.
And this study from Wales examined the effects of mitigation measures among schools in that area. (Medrxiv Paper) Staff wearing masks was not associated with lower case spread, but was associated with more cold symptoms. Have I mentioned that masks are virus collection devices. Maintaining social distancing was also not associated with lower case spread. Teachers reported that these measures inhibited their ability to teach effectively.
I reported on this study earlier as a preprint; it has now been reviewed and published in a journal. It showed that neither mask mandates nor mask use had any significant association with case rates or case growth rates. (IRJPH Article)
And that is it on this topic for now. We all know what the right thing to do is, but everything is so politicized in the US, including our supposed public health experts, and so many students will be in for another year of child abuse and neglect. Meanwhile China forges ahead.