New Study Challenges CDC Evidence on School Masking

Across the COVID-19 epidemic, adults have placed a significant burden on children. McKinsey & Co. An analysis of this shows that school dropouts and hybrid education have significantly reduced student achievement due to the epidemic, costing students $ 49,000 to $ 61,000 in future lifetime earnings. In addition to the loss of mental health, the results show that school closures and various restrictions have had significant consequences for students.

The schools ended as soon as the country lifted the masking ban. The students wore masks for months after the business and citywide mandate disappeared. Now large school districts like Philadelphia are reintroducing the mask mandate in response to growing lawsuits.

School districts justify these orders based on observational research produced by the CDC. The most influential of these studies is “Pediatric Covid-19 Case in County and Without School Mask – United States, July 1-September 4, 2021”, by Budgin et al.

Surprisingly, the authors found that “child COVID-19 case rates increased more after the start of school in counties that did not require school masks than in those counties where school masks were required.” However, one must now remember the over-used phrase: interpersonal causality is not equal.

However, a new re-analysis of the data used in the study, produced by Ambareesh Chandra and Tracy Hague, shows that masking in school is not related to the rate in children.

The analysis of the Moon and The Hague, which uses a larger population and longer intervals, is more comprehensive than that of the CDC. Their results show no correlation between making masks compulsory in schools and the rate of covid cases among students. The authors also highlight the problems of early CDC studies, including the context of pervasive bias in CDC medical journals and related scientific publications.

Study methods and results

The authors believe that their study serves two purposes: first, to replicate and expand the original study, and second, to illuminate the problems of the observational study. Their second objective is important for public health policy, as observational studies using limited data have been used by the CDC to justify numerous public health interventions.

Using the same methods and criteria as the CDC study, they expanded the sample size by analyzing “data from three weeks before school opening to six weeks after opening” as opposed to the two-week period used in the original study. Further, the authors used data from a recent release (October 25) to create an extra-large sample set of counties that they used to evaluate the validity of their results.

They found that “using the same method and sampling criteria as Budgin et al, but extended the time for a larger sample size and analysis, we failed to identify a significant relationship between the school mask mandate and the pediatric COVID-19 case.” “

The authors argue that the differences between the two studies are the result of oversupplying of CDCs in southern state schools, which began in August. In contrast, their paper includes northern states that start school in September.

CDC bias

The new study also highlights the issue of bias in CDC research. For example, the CDC’s own journal, The Weekly reports of illness and death (MMWR) refuses to disclose the work of Moon and The Hague. It is intriguing, given that the authors have copied the CDC’s own paper with additional data and firmly. As they explain,

Some journals can only publish results that match their preferences, as was the case with our analysis; The expanded version of our original Budzyn et al publication was not adopted for publication by MMWR despite using the same method, but with an increased population and time frame. This biased “science” may be a self-fulfilling prophecy rather than a neutral pursuit of truth.


The results of this study, with more data and conviction than CDC’s own paper, prove that school masks are an ineffective tool against COVID-19. The CDC’s decision not to publish the study in their journal only further disrespected the agency. Not surprisingly, the CDC is only abusing our children by promoting policies that could do more harm than good.

David Waugh

David Waugh joined AIER in 2020 and currently serves as managing editor. He has previously worked as a partner in S&P Global Market Intelligence.

David is a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College where he received a BA in Economics. While in Hampden-Sydney, he was a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Political Economy and served as a teaching assistant in the Department of Economics. He is a Don Lavoie Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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