BMJ review reveals mask mandates in schools harm children and don’t prevent infections
By Cassie B. // Dec 18, 2023

A new review confirms what many people have long suspected: mask mandates for children do not have any benefits – and they can even be harmful.

This is the finding of a systematic review that was published in Archives of Disease in Childhood, which is one of the journals in the British Medical Journal family. It involved 22 studies; while six of them determined an association between mask mandates and reduced rates of infection, 16 of them found no connection between mask wearing and reduced infections.

In addition, the studies that found that masks do not reduce infections were higher in quality than those that did not based on their risk of bias. Among the 16 studies that did not find a significant correlation between mask wearing and infection, only one had a critical risk of bias, while five of the six studies that did find a connection had a critical risk of bias.

There were several crucial differences that were identified as possibly being confounding factors in all six of the studies that found masks prevented infections, including differences in school sizes, differences in the number of instructional school days, and testing policies.

The researchers noted that all of the studies that came out in favor of masks with a critical risk of bias were carried out in North America, while those that have the lowest risk of bias were conducted in Europe.

One European study of note was conducted in Finland, where researchers compared rates of COVID-19 in children aged 10 to 12 with and without mask mandates. They found that when mask recommendations were expanded to apply to this age group, there was no reduction in case rates of coronavirus. Another study by the UK Department of Education found no significant association between children wearing masks to school and their risk of COVID-19.

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Meanwhile, a Spanish study that involved nearly 600,000 children found there was no significant difference between the number of cases of COVID-19 recorded in five-year-olds without masks and six year-olds who wore masks.

Masks aren't just ineffective – they're harmful

However, it is important to keep in mind that effectiveness is only one part of the equation. While one might argue that there is no harm in wearing a mask even if it doesn't end up preventing infection, several studies have shown that there are indeed dangers associated with mask wearing.

Some studies have shown that wearing masks can have the type of negative psychological effects one might expect on children, such as damaging their social-emotional learning. It can be particularly damaging for children who are autistic or have other types of special education needs because they depend on observing people's facial expressions to pick up on social cues. When these cues are not interpreted properly, these children may experience depression and anxiety. Indeed, children in schools that had mask mandates noted greater anxiety levels compared to those that were not forced to wear masks.

It also has a negative effect on children's communication and language learning and development. In addition to hindering the ability of teachers to demonstrate and evaluate speech, it reduced children's ability to identify words. Children, like adults, focus on a person's mouth when someone is speaking to them in a language other than their native language, making mask wearing problematic when studying foreign languages.

Another issue is a rapid increase in carbon dioxide content in inhaled air. This effect is more pronounced in children than it is in adults, and it gets worse when children physically exert themselves.

This review of studies shows that children are paying a price in terms of psychological well-being, language learning, communication and other physiological effects for no gain since masks are not actually preventing COVID-19 infection after all.

Sources for this article include:

DailySceptic.org

ADC.BMJ.com



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