Science

Mask protects school children from COVID, despite claims by anti-scientific politicians

On July 30, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Executive order Local school districts have banned students from requiring masks, claiming that the mandatory masks at school lack “well-founded scientific justification.” Leon County, Florida serves as judge on August 27 Suspending the governor’s ban, DeSantis’ office claims that there is no evidence that masks prevent school infections, statement The ruling was “not based on science and facts.” (The order is currently being appealed.)

DeSantis is wrong. So does Texas Governor Greg Abbott. He banned schools in the state from requesting masks, Suing some school districts To oblige them. Multiple evidences from a variety of disciplines, including materials science, infectious diseases, pediatrics, and epidemiology, show that masks help prevent children and teachers from becoming infected with COVID at school.

To begin with, laboratory experiments have shown that masks block respiratory droplets and aerosols that transmit SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID.of One testDavid Rothamer, a mechanical engineer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his team used a classroom machine to deliver particles the same size as those carrying the virus. Researchers placed several CPR dummies wearing masks around the room and measured the extent to which the aerosol penetrated the mask.Surgical mask paired with Soft frame that fits snugly Reduction According to the statistical probability model, the chances of invasion and infection are 382 times higher than when maskless. According to Rothamer, masks significantly reduce viral infections, even if they occur in small numbers in real-world situations.

In its real world, some epidemiological studies have also shown that school masks work.Researcher ABC Science Collaboration We collected data from more than one million kindergarten to high school students and staff in North Carolina. This required school masking from August 2020 to July 2021. autumn, winter Or a few months in the summer. In the out-of-school community, incidents remained low despite varying levels of COVID cases and changing mitigation strategies. “The presence of masking in schools seems to be a unified theme for all these periods,” said Ibukun Kalu, a member of the group and medical director of pediatric infection prevention at Duke University. “If you look at the cases where masking is done, that is, if you are masking students, staff, and all students from kindergarten to high school, the spread rate in school drops to 1%.”

In schools in other states where masks are not used consistently Georgia When FloridaThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports on the occurrence of COVID in both 2020 and 2021.This spring, in California, an unvaccinated elementary school teacher read with the mask off several times. Trigger for students Outbreak of highly contagious delta mutants, According to another CDC study. A total of 26 people, including 12 out of 24 students in the teacher’s class, were infected, with a horrifying rate of 50 percent. The infection spread to six students in different grades elsewhere in the building, affecting eight families of affected students across schools. The viral genomes of infected people are the same or very similar to the virus analyzed by the teacher, indicating that the individual is the source of the infection. The outbreak occurred even though people followed physical distance guidelines, used highly efficient particulate air (HEPA) filters in the classroom, and left doors and windows open for ventilation.

Masks, in combination with other preventative efforts, reduce the risk of students bringing the virus back to their parents and other relatives. This is a major concern as adults are more likely to develop severe COVID. NS Online survey Of the 2.1 million Americans, researchers at Johns Hopkins University, households with children attending school have been shown to have a 38% increased risk of COVID-related illness. However, the risk diminished as the number of school-based mitigations increased, such as mask mandates, daily symptom screening, and cancellation of extracurricular activities. With seven or more steps, the increased risk disappeared. Experts have been for a long time Depends on multiple layers of protection addedSome protect individuals and others protect groups, but we recognize that a single intervention cannot be a silver bullet.

Studies conducted in a wider community beyond schools show the strongest real-world evidence that masks prevent the spread of COVID. An international team of researchers conducted randomized controlled trials of approximately 350,000 people in 600 rural villages in Bangladesh. Half of the village got free cloth or surgical masks and promotional campaigns to encourage their use. I didn’t do the other half. Researchers have found that interventions significantly reduce coronavirus infection, especially in villages that receive surgical masks.Survey results in early September Preprint paper It is currently under consideration for publication by the journal Chemistry..

No matter how good it is, it is unlikely that a single study will completely calm the denialist, Cal says. “I think there are denialists, even if we get there, until we get this done,” she says.

However, Rothamer points out that the effectiveness of masks in schools is supported by many different studies and tests, not just one. “The best evidence in science,” he says, comes from many studies that “most of them show the same thing.” Rothamer summarizes the steady flow of research done so far, saying that the accumulation of evidence draws the same conclusion when there are more than 12 studies other than those cited here. The mask works.



https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/masks-protect-schoolkids-from-covid-despite-what-antiscience-politicians-claim/ Mask protects school children from COVID, despite claims by anti-scientific politicians

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