Masks and Children
I have been very concerned about mask wearing in children. As I listen to parents and read concerns on social media, I am struck by the very real fear that some parents have about their children being safe. I have gathered studies and articles with pertinent information about the detrimental effects that mask wearing could have for everyone, especially children in school wearing masks for many hours in the day.
I will excerpt from each article/study and encourage anyone interested to read the source material that I have gathered.
The Science of Masking Kids at School Remains Uncertain
by David Zweig in New York Magazine
I added this article 10-20-21 even though it was published in August. If you read just one article, this well-researched article says it all:
“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. . . . 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.“
“Many of America’s peer nations around the world — including the U.K., Ireland, all of Scandinavia, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy — have exempted kids, with varying age cutoffs, from wearing masks in classrooms. Conspicuously, there’s no evidence of more outbreaks in schools in those countries relative to schools in the U.S., where the solid majority of kids wore masks for an entire academic year and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. These countries, along with the World Health Organization, whose child-masking guidance differs substantially from the CDC’s recommendations, have explicitly recognized that the decision to mask students carries with it potential academic and social harms for children and may lack a clear benefit. To date, the highly transmissible Delta variant has not led them to change this calculus.”
” . . .their parents and political leaders owe it to them to have a clear-sighted, scientifically rigorous discussion about which anti-COVID measures actually work and which might put an extra burden on vulnerable young people without meaningfully or demonstrably slowing the spread of the virus. In that context, the best practices for mask use in schools — elementary schools in particular — are much less obvious than CDC guidance and news headlines about keeping schools safe might have you believe. The study published by the CDC was both ambitious and groundbreaking. It covered more than 90,000 elementary-school students in 169 Georgia schools from November 16 to December 11 and was, according to the CDC, the first of its kind to compare COVID-19 incidence in schools with certain mitigation measures in place to other schools without those measures. . . . “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.”
Elissa Schechter-Perkins, the director of Emergency Medicine Infectious Disease Management at Boston Medical Center, said: “But the world has changed, there are real downsides to masking children for this long, with no known end date, and without any clear upside.” Lloyd Fisher, the president of the Massachusetts chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics says “It is important for children to see facial expressions of their peers and the adults around them in order to learn social cues and understand how to read emotions.” “Reading faces is critical for social emotional learning. And all children are actively learning language the first five years of life, for which seeing faces is foundational,” an anonymous pediatrician said.
Please read the entire article. We are hurting our vulnerable children with this unscientific masking. It needs to stop!
The Kids Are Alright: Why now is the time to rethink COVID safety protocols for children — and everyone else.
By David Wallace-Wells in New York Magazine.
This article is worth reading in its entirety. “According to the CDC the mortality risk for those 85 and above is 610 times higher than for 18-29 year olds. And the risk of children is dramatically smaller still than that CDC baseline; according to one, much-cited paper the infection fatality rate for those aged 5 to 9 is less than 0.001%.” Pdf of study below.
Age-specific mortality and immunity patterns of SARS-CoV-2 (pdf)
Children have a much higher chance of dying in a car accident than from Covid.
Letter to School Board by Emily Burns – The Smiles Project
“Emily Burns has crafted a masterful letter to her school board about kids and masks. It is chock-full of great details, charts, links to studies, and more.”
“The policy response to COVID—particularly as applied to children—has been wickedly inept. We now have nearly a year-and-a-half’s worth of data. Not to use that data to craft better policies and create better outcomes for our children would be simply wicked.”
That data tells us several key things that argue strongly against masking children. To wit (all of these claims are supported with data and links in the sourced letter):
- Children are at extremely low risk from death, hospitalization, or other adverse events due to COVID-19. They face a 3-4x higher mortality risk from flu vs. COVID and a 10x risk of suicide.
- Even with Delta, children are at extremely low risk, with some data suggesting that pediatric hospitalization rates for Delta are less than half what they were for earlier variants.
- Children are NOT super-spreaders. They are not the reservoir of COVID-19 that is “prolonging the pandemic.” Multiple contact tracing studies have shown that the R0 for children is actually BELOW one, meaning it is mathematically impossible for them to drive this epidemic. They are epidemiological dead ends.
- Mask mandates–especially in schools–do not reduce school or community transmission.
Pediatricians: Masking and social distancing impacting child development
“Forcing kids to constantly wear face masks and not physically interact with each other is producing verifiable negative impacts on their early development.”
“We’ve seen some language delays and more social anxiety. The inability of a child to leave their parent and go play with other children,” said System Chair of Pediatrics at AHN, Dr. Joseph Aracri.”
“Normal interactions between kids involve physical contact (hugging, wrestling, playing tag, etc.). A lot of communication is nonverbal and involves reading the expressions on people’s faces. The pediatricians interviewed for this report pointed to instances of delays in the development of language skills and heightened levels of anxiety.
We’ve already been assured repeatedly by the CDC that transmission rates in schools are low and very few children experience severe effects if they do manage to contract COVID. They need to be able to play and sing and just be children. Masking and social distancing is hurting our kids.”
Do Masks Work – A Review of the Evidence
by Jeffrey H. Anderson published in City Journal
“Hiram Powers, the nineteenth-century neoclassical sculptor, keenly observed, “The eye is the window to the soul, the mouth the door. The intellect, the will, are seen in the eye; the emotions, sensibilities, and affections, in the mouth.” The best available scientific evidence suggests that the American people, credulously trusting their public-health officials, have been blocking the door to the soul without blocking the transmission of the novel coronavirus.”
Read this sourced article for many citations and documentation of his points.
Masks do nothing to stop the spread of COVID and are harming children
by John H. Bryan / Civil Rights Attorney
“The nation’s leading industrial hygiene expert, Stephen E. Petty, P.E. CIH., C.S.P. of EES Group, Inc., is an actual expert in the use of masks. The science shows the reason that the virus spreads in total disregard for widespread mask usage: because masks do nothing to stop the spread of the virus.”
“The science shows that COVID-19 virus particles are less than 1 micron in size, which is 4,000 times smaller than the diameter of a single human hair. These particles, which infect people through inhalation into the lungs, are so small, that when exhaled into an indoor room, it will take hours, and most likely days, to drop the five feet from one’s mouth to the floor.”
Read the entire sourced article for more documentation and information, and to read Stephen Petty’s credentials.
The Case against Mask Mandates in Schools
by John H. Bryan / Civil Rights Attorney
Liberty and freedom aside, mask mandates in schools are pointless, from a common sense perspective, as well as a scientific perspective. And as Galileo said, “In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.”
- Children play almost no role in spreading COVID
- Children are at extremely low risk
- Masks don’t stop the spread of COVID in schools
- Forced masking harms children
See the sourced article for documentation to back up his four points.
Is a Mask That Covers the Mouth and Nose Free from Undesirable Side Effects in Everyday Use and Free of Potential Hazards?
This is a compilation of studies on the safety of wearing masks. Many citations and documentation.
“In our work, we focused exclusively on the undesirable and negative side effects that can be produced by masks. Valid significant evidence of combined mask-related changes were objectified (p < 0.05, n _ 50%), and we found a clustered and common occurrence of the different adverse effects within the respective studies with significantly measured effects (Figure 2)”. . . .
“Our review of the literature shows that both healthy and sick people can experience Mask-Induced Exhaustion Syndrome (MIES), with typical changes and symptoms that are often observed in combination, such as an increase in breathing dead space volume, increase in breathing resistance, increase in blood carbon dioxide, decrease in blood oxygen saturation, increase in heart rate, increase in blood pressure, decrease in cardiopulmonary capacity, increase in respiratory rate, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, headache, dizziness, feeling hot and clammy, decreased ability to concentrate, decreased ability to think, drowsiness, decrease in empathy perception, impaired skin barrier function with itching, acne, skin lesions and irritation, overall perceived fatigue and exhaustion (Figures 2–4).”
“For changes that do not exceed normal values, but are persistently recurring, such as an increase in blood carbon dioxide, an increase in heart rate or an increase in respiratory rate, which have been documented while wearing a mask (Figure 2), a long-term generation of high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease and of neurological diseases is scientifically obvious. This pathogenetic damage principle with a chronic low-dose exposure with long-term effect, which leads to disease or disease-relevant conditions, has already been extensively studied and described in many areas of environmental medicine.”
“Extended mask-wearing would have the potential, according to the facts and correlations we have found, to cause a chronic sympathetic stress response induced by blood gas modifications and controlled by brain centers. This in turn induces and triggers immune suppression and metabolic syndrome with cardiovascular and neurological diseases. We not only found evidence in the reviewed mask literature of potential long-term effects, but also evidence of an increase in direct short-term effects with increased mask wearing time in terms of cumulative effects for: carbon dioxide retention, drowsiness, headache, feeling of exhaustion, skin irritation (redness, itching) and microbiological contamination (germ colonization).“
“In our view, further research is particularly desirable in the gynecological (fetal and embryonic) and pediatric fields, as children are a vulnerable group that would face the longest and, thus, most profound consequences of a potentially risky mask use. . . .The described mask-related changes in respiratory physiology can have an adverse effect on the wearer’s blood gases sub-clinically and in some cases also clinically manifest and, therefore, have a negative effect on the basis of all aerobic life, external and internal respiration, with an influence on a wide variety of organ systems and metabolic processes with physical, psychological and social consequences for the individual human being.”
Is a Mask That Covers the Mouth and Nose Free from Side Effects (pdf)
Study on Face Masks and Carbon Dioxide
Effect of Wearing Face Masks on the Carbon Dioxide Concentration in the Breathing Zone (pdf)
Un-masking Children – a 4 part series by Emily Burns
This is an excellent series that includes most everything I’ve written about (and more) with citations and documentation.
- Un-masking Children: Part 1 of 4. The Role of Children in COVID-19 Transmission in Schools
- Un-masking Children: Part 2 of 4. Understanding Relative Risk
- Un-masking Children: Part 3 of 4. Mask (In)Effectiveness in Limiting COVID-19 Transmission
- Un-masking Children: Part 4 of 4. An Action Plan
Thank you for reading. My hope is that this will give someone ammunition and courage to fight this masking of our children in your schools, preschools, extracurricular activities, etc. There are many, many professionals and parents who know that this isn’t healthy for their kids, and want to do something about it. Many times one person can be the catalyst. I hope that by gathering all of this information in one place it will make it easier to read, study and act.
UPDATED August 28, 2021 to add a new study:
Experimental investigation of indoor aerosol dispersion and accumulation in the context of COVID-19: Effects of masks and ventilation
“The results show that a standard surgical and three-ply cloth masks, which see current widespread use, filter at apparent efficiencies of only 12.4% and 9.8%, respectively. Apparent efficiencies of 46.3%and 60.2% are found for KN95 and R95 masks, respectively, which are still notably lower than the verified 95% rated ideal efficiencies. Furthermore, the efficiencies of a loose-fitting KN95 … provides a negligible apparent filtration efficiency (3.4%)…
Based on the apparent filtration efficiency, tests performed with no mask at an air-change rate of 1:7 h_1 (and higher) outperform cases with high-efficiency masks (KN95 and R95) and no room ventilation. However, at these low ventilation rates, a notable particle concentration is still present at a 2m distance, which is indicative of higher ventilation rates needed to ensure negligible aerosol build-up over prolonged occupancy…
The results also suggest that, while higher ventilation capacities are required to fully mitigate aerosol build-up, even relatively low air-change rates (2 h_1) lead to lower aerosol build-up compared to the best performing mask in an unventilated space.”
COVID-19 – Effects of masks and ventilation (pdf) – this document has the entire study with graphs and pictures. The link above is the online study, which includes videos of the masks performing.
Added: November 5, 2021: Masks Don’t Stop Viruses and Could Harm You: The Latest Research by Stephen Schumacher, Port Townsend Free Press. “On Nov. 18, 2020 was unveiled the first-and-only real-world, randomized, controlled trial “to assess whether recommending surgical mask use outside the home reduces wearers’ risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection”, concluding “the difference observed was not statistically significant” between the masked and control groups.” Read the entire post for more info, lots of links to research and studies.