“The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published a February 2021 MMWR report entitled “Decline in COVID-19 Hospitalization Growth Rates Associated with Statewide Mask Mandates — 10 States, March–October 2020.” This report focused on 10 sites that had been included in the Covid-19 Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network.
This CDC report described a decrease in hospitalization rates of growth of up to 5.6% in adults (18-65 years old) and attributed this to the use of masking and/or the introduction of mask mandates in the various sites. These rates were compared to those obtained from a 4-week period of time prior to the introduction of mask mandates. In so doing, and by way of regression analysis, the reduced rates of hospitalization were attributed to the introduction of statewide mask mandates.
Firstly, the initial publication by the CDC (February 5/February 12th, 2021) was plagued with important inaccuracies that were then fortunately addressed in an updated erratum (February 26th 2021). We applaud the CDC for taking the steps required to correct these errors. Reporting done by the CDC, which is generally considered as the premier public health agency in the US, must be of the highest quality, particularly since advice rendered by the CDC is also relied upon worldwide.
En face, CDC’s conclusion on mandates might appear to make sense unless one is familiar with the scientific data pertaining to the ineffectiveness of masking for prevention of the spread of Covid-19 (e.g. references 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15) in which case the findings in fact contradict most of what is now known. The CDC’s conclusion might have made more sense if the real-world evidence we have about mandates did not actually exist (e.g. references 1, 2, 3, 4).
Does the CDC really think that masks prevent the wearer from getting Covid, or from spreading it to others? The CDC admits that the scientific evidence is mixed, as their most recent report glosses over many unanswered scientific questions. But even if it were clear – or clear enough – as a scientific matter that masks properly used could reduce transmission, it is a leap to conclude that a governmental mandate to wear masks will do more good than harm, even as a strictly biological or epidemiological matter. Mask mandates may not be followed; masks worn as a result of a mandate may not be used properly; some mask practices like double masking can do harm, particularly to children; and even if a mask mandate results in some increased number of masks being worn and worn properly, the mandate and the associated publicity may reduce the public’s attention to other more effective safeguards, such as meticulous hygiene practices.
Read the full article here AIER: The CDC’s mask mandate study debunked