New York Magazine is burying the lede here. The “study suggesting no clear benefit from school mask mandates” for children was one done by — wait for it — the CDC:

Here’s the opener:

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. 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.

It also looks like the CDC intentionally buried the result on student masking by not putting this information in the summary of the study, a practice called “file drawering”:

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.”

As they say, read the whole thing it’s that good:

The author of the piece, David Zwieg, went on to question why we’re masking kids in the U.S. while other countries are not:

From the article:

But it’s not just this CDC study. There are no studies that Zwieg — or anyone — can find that “show conclusively that kids wearing masks in schools has any effect on their own morbidity or mortality or on hospitalization or death rate in the community around them”:

One glaring deficit on all of the studies is that they don’t look “at mask use in isolation from other mitigation measures, or against a control”:

But, alas, this is what the CDC is recommending:

What they did find is that adult mask use and vaccination does work:


Oh, and the terrifying part? None of the experts Zweig talked do can give him an end date when we’ll ditch the masks:


Tags: CDCmasks