On Masking and Child Development

 

Throughout the pandemic (and before) one of my favorite commentators on parenting has been Emily Oster, an economist with an eye on data and parenting. She uses her expertise to analyze how to best make parenting decisions, and her books on pregnancy and parenting from an evidenced-based perspective are invaluable. As too have her contributions been during the COVID-era, much to the chagrin of COVIDians.

Oster writes a newsletter on data and parenting in addition to her books and opinions pieces across the journalism world. Today’s tackled an interesting study on a drastic decline in IQ for babies born admid the pandemic, which I haven’t spoken about it because, like Oster, I was wary of the dramatic conclusions it reached.

On its face, the results in this study are very concerning. The researchers do a number of analyses, but the top line is there are large negative effects of the pandemic on cognitive performance. In one of their main analyses, the reduction in IQ scores is 27 to 37 IQ points (on a mean of 100).

This effect can also be stated as a two-standard-deviation reduction in IQ. This is a very significant change. One way to frame it: this change would move a child from having an average IQ to the 5th percentile. Or another: this is about twice as large as the measured impact of being born at an extremely low birth weight (less than 2.2 pounds).

Given these findings, it is reasonable to be concerned. If they are correct, I’d go beyond that to say we should be literally panicking. But are they right? (Spoiler: no.)

Again, taken at face value, these results are worrisome. However — and I cannot stress this enough — they are completely implausible. There is absolutely no way that there was a reduction in IQ of 82 points as a result of being born during the pandemic. In fact, there is also no way there was a reduction of 27 IQ points. Even 15 seems impossible. IQ is just not malleable in this way. Extremely low birth weight is among the most significant reducers of IQ, and even that is a fraction of the size of these effects.

What I think is a more likely explanation is masks. The tests during the pandemic were done with the testing staff wearing masks. I’m not anti-masking! But it seems extremely plausible that infants and toddlers in a lab setting would have more trouble following verbal instructions and facial cues from a masked interviewer than an unmasked one. This is probably especially true since these babies would have mostly interacted with unmasked adults (i.e. their parents), so the masking may have been even more of a factor than it would be for an older child who was more used to it.

The authors mention this in the conclusion but do not make much of it. It might have been helpful to see a more detailed breakdown of the results by measures that could or could not have been impacted by masking. For example, some of the measures are things like whether the child can sit or roll over, which are likely less affected.

Maybe it’s not masks! I don’t know. That strikes me as the most obvious explanation, but without getting into the data, I cannot tell precisely. What I can tell you, based on what we know about IQ, is that the pandemic did not lower baby IQ by 82 points. It just didn’t.

You may ask: Could the pandemic affect the IQ of babies or children? Absolutely. Certainly we have seen learning losses in school-age children, and it’s possible there could be some developmental effects in babies. Or not — it is less obvious we’d see these effects than school-age learning loss. It’s a question we should continue to ask and evaluate. My point is simply that we do not learn about it from this paper.

I agree with Oster’s conclusion that the results are likely affected by the researchers masking. I differ with her dismissal of all of the study’s conclusions because of it. These results show a real effect of masking on child development. Oster is correct that it likely swayed these conclusions; but we then have to admit: Masking has an impact on child development, and it’s significant and measurable. It’s not out of the question to assume that that effect might have long-term implications for children spending their days, the majority of their waking hours, around masked caregivers.

Instead of dismissing these conclusions as improbable outliers, it would be nice to admit that there is something statistically significant happening to child development during the pandemic, and behave accordingly. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) dismissed the possibility of a developmental impact recently:

Well, now we have a study. If they still care about children, they’ll choose to investigate instead of just dismiss the notion out of hand due to the prevailing winds of the day.

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  1. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    This is must listen on the non-efficacy of masks. They don’t do a damn thing at the aggregate level.

     

     

     

     

    • #1
  2. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    What did women do before economists graphed out their pregnancies and gave them advice? The experts will – at the very least – quantify our extinction. 

    • #2
  3. James Salerno Coolidge
    James Salerno
    @JamesSalerno

    There’s definitely plenty to be worried about. If you look at school shooters, or similar cases of sadistic behavior in teens, the underlying causes are always the same:

    History of isolation

    No social support groups – friends, sports, clubs

    No human interaction, but plenty of screen time.

    Poor social skills

    We’re sacrificing an entire generation in the name of this madness. Parents really don’t care about their kids. I used to think that was an exaggerated conservative talking point, but I now realize it’s true. The consequences for this will be severe.

    • #3
  4. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    “There are no studies to support this concern.”

    Try to get your new drug or medical device approved by telling the FDA that there are no studies demonstrating that it is harmful..While you’re at it, you could try to get your new airplane design certified by telling the FAA that there are no studies showing that it is unsafe.

     

    • #4
  5. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Infant and toddler development is affected by interactions with humans.  The more positive interactions, the more positive the development curve. In addition to mask mandates, children lost contact time with grandparents, cousins, friends, neighbors. Parents were more stressed, isolated, fearful.  Less overall interaction, less positive interactions, more stressful interactions.  All these lead to lower developmental curves. 

    It is my suspicion that there was a decline in child development curves overall during this lockdown, and that masks were merely a contributing factor.  I hope that the test results were horrifically skewed by test administrators  wearing masks, to reflect more of a decline than actually occurred.  I hope. 

    • #5
  6. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Mask mandates have had no measurable effect anywhere on the planet. Kids are at very low risk from COVID infection and at even lower risk of being transmitters. Mandating a demonstrably ineffective NPI which kids will not implement properly which will certainly fail to reduce a tiny risk by even a tiny amount is beyond stupid and rapidly approaching evil.

    We will injure kids solely to preserve the illusion that experts and politicians are Doing Something About It and to continue to foster the climate of fear necessary to justify intrusive bad policy. A lot of people in official positions need to suffer for this. This cannot be forgiven. It is no longer possible to presume good faith behind this.

    • #6
  7. Connie the Cat Member
    Connie the Cat
    @ConnietheCat

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Mask mandates have had no measurable effect anywhere on the planet. Kids are at very low risk from COVID infection and at even lower risk of being transmitters. Mandating a demonstrably ineffective NPI which kids will not implement properly which will certainly fail to reduce a tiny risk by even a tiny amount is beyond stupid and rapidly approaching evil.

    We will injure kids solely to preserve the illusion that experts and politicians are Doing Something About It and to continue to foster the climate of fear necessary to justify intrusive bad policy. A lot of people in official positions need to suffer for this. This cannot be forgiven. It is no longer possible to presume good faith behind this.

    I completely unreservedly agree.  This is child abuse.

    • #7
  8. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    This is must listen on the non-efficacy of masks. They don’t do a damn thing at the aggregate level.

     

     

     

     

    Outstanding.  Thanks.

     

    • #8
  9. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    This is must listen on the non-efficacy of masks. They don’t do a damn thing at the aggregate level.

     

     

     

     

    Rep. Murphy is spot on. We are doing all this ineffective nonsense just to appear to be Doing Something About It.

    • #9
  10. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    Instead of dismissing these conclusions as improbable outliers, it would be nice to admit that there is something statistically significant happening to child development during the pandemic, and behave accordingly. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) dismissed the possibility of a developmental impact recently:

      As a former pediatrician and member of the AAP, there is almost nothing that they espouse that I believe.

    • #10
  11. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Connie the Cat (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Mask mandates have had no measurable effect anywhere on the planet. Kids are at very low risk from COVID infection and at even lower risk of being transmitters. Mandating a demonstrably ineffective NPI which kids will not implement properly which will certainly fail to reduce a tiny risk by even a tiny amount is beyond stupid and rapidly approaching evil.

    We will injure kids solely to preserve the illusion that experts and politicians are Doing Something About It and to continue to foster the climate of fear necessary to justify intrusive bad policy. A lot of people in official positions need to suffer for this. This cannot be forgiven. It is no longer possible to presume good faith behind this.

    I completely unreservedly agree. This is child abuse.

    @oldbathos

    There was some type of scientific paper that  was released in  England recently that indicated the entire purpose of this new and very intense drive to insist on masking up our school children had to do with the Elites desire to convince everyone to be masked up and willing to observe whatever damn number of vaccines that are being planned for our new and extended future.

    After all, if parents can send out  8 year old Tiffany and Kyle to school in masks, maybe we parents and grandparents should wear them too? And if the parents are not compliant, who better than an eight year old to let the teacher know how greatly they are  fearful that since Mommy and Dad don’t wear masks, maybe harm will come to them?
    This is a “gentler and kinder version” of Hitler youth, but in the end it is about a transformation of our society that will lead to very horrible events.

     

    • #11
  12. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    It strikes me that children can have an actual childhood only if the parents behave as actual adults.

    • #12
  13. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    1)kids IQs drop every summer- missing a year of school would predictably drop IQ as much or more without any masks involved. Many studies report drops in kids achievement during the summer-just one:

    https://www.jstor.org/stable/1170523

    2)there is plenty of data masks work-you just have to be willing look for it. A few are listed below-      NB-NO flu studies!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/09/01/masks-study-covid-bangladesh/

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/dishashetty/2020/12/06/german-study-finds-face-masks-reduce-new-covid-19-infections-by-45/?sh=4f6157534bb2

    https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7010e3.htm.   this report is frequently mischaracterized as showing little effect-but during a viral pandemic the growth effects are similar to compound interest-over time the effects become significant

    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0249891

    https://gh.bmj.com/content/5/5/e002794?ijkey=225a4ea627ba226c12e32b4ecc65d40157231c2a&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15030685/

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.01.20087064v1

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/medrxiv/early/2020/04/06/2020.04.01.20049528.full.pdf

     

    none of this means we need mask mandates but ignoring data that doesn’t support your position isn’t a winning strategy

    • #13
  14. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    MiMac (View Comment):

    1)kids IQs drop every summer- missing a year of school would predictably drop IQ as much or more without any masks involved. Many studies report drops in kids achievement during the summer-just one:

    https://www.jstor.org/stable/1170523

    2)there is plenty of data masks work-you just have to be willing look for it. A few are listed below- NB-NO flu studies!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/09/01/masks-study-covid-bangladesh/

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/dishashetty/2020/12/06/german-study-finds-face-masks-reduce-new-covid-19-infections-by-45/?sh=4f6157534bb2

    https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7010e3.htm. this report is frequently mischaracterized as showing little effect-but during a viral pandemic the growth effects are similar to compound interest-over time the effects become significant

    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0249891

    https://gh.bmj.com/content/5/5/e002794?ijkey=225a4ea627ba226c12e32b4ecc65d40157231c2a&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15030685/

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.01.20087064v1

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/medrxiv/early/2020/04/06/2020.04.01.20049528.full.pdf

     

    none of this means we need mask mandates but ignoring data that doesn’t support your position isn’t a winning strategy

    I keep waiting for evidence that a mandate actually makes a difference in real data. These projections and modeling claim 45, 50% drops! And yet when masks are used in great numbers, the case curves are always effing identical to similar jurisdictions that did not.

    Masks were going to work in India. The Swedes should not have had the same curves as Germany. And how can Bangladesh have a 10% case drop with 28% mask use when we don’t see even a fraction of that benefit in places with vastly more usage. I think those numbers need a closer look when that is peer-reviewed.

    You once touted the Kansas study which we now know with certainty is crap. I yet I still see it cited by authors (and the CDC) who expect to be taken seriously.

    ”Studies” which are meta reviews of cherry-picked articles are a joke. And the one paper you listed that looked the most serious in comparing states had to subjectively dance around seasonality so much it was almost useless.  To their credit, they actually noticed seasonality which seems to escape so many.

    Instead of defending the party line in this new arena of politicized science, please, please deal with the fact that any honest look at real outcomes shows zero difference between masked and unmasked counties, states and countries. Start there and explain that specifically. Explain why we don’t see even the alleged Bangladesh sized drops in infections and then come up with a reasonable explanation as to how and where masks could make a difference when of a certain type or in a programmed use instead of affirming the nonsense that me in my dirty mandated surgical mask and the guy with the bandana behind me in the checkout line are making a difference when there is absolutely no reason to expect those devices are blocking anything.

    Real science would deal with the canyon-sized gap between expectations based on modeled and small-group reports and actual outcomes. Instead, we keep getting publications that tell us masks work by large significant margins that just don’t happen to appear in the aggregate actual outcomes. It’s almost as if the mission is not to find solutions but to show up deplorable critics of the NPIs.

    Tackle the real issue, the question that matters. 

     

    • #14
  15. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    1)kids IQs drop every summer- missing a year of school would predictably drop IQ as much or more without any masks involved. Many studies report drops in kids achievement during the summer-just one:

    https://www.jstor.org/stable/1170523

    2)there is plenty of data masks work-you just have to be willing look for it. A few are listed below- NB-NO flu studies!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/09/01/masks-study-covid-bangladesh/

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/dishashetty/2020/12/06/german-study-finds-face-masks-reduce-new-covid-19-infections-by-45/?sh=4f6157534bb2

    https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7010e3.htm. this report is frequently mischaracterized as showing little effect-but during a viral pandemic the growth effects are similar to compound interest-over time the effects become significant

    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0249891

    https://gh.bmj.com/content/5/5/e002794?ijkey=225a4ea627ba226c12e32b4ecc65d40157231c2a&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15030685/

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.01.20087064v1

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/medrxiv/early/2020/04/06/2020.04.01.20049528.full.pdf

    none of this means we need mask mandates but ignoring data that doesn’t support your position isn’t a winning strategy

    I keep waiting for evidence that a mandate actually makes a difference in real data.

    Tackle the real issue, the question that matters.

    You have claimed they are all “modeling studies” before-but the studies aren’t modeling studies-they are real world data-the USA, Germany, China, Bangladesh etc. There is other aggregate data that doesn’t show masks having significant effectiveness-but much of it is of poorer quality (since there was no control of other factors done) than the positive studies. It may be the masks aren’t working well in many jurisdictions b/c of poor compliance-but rather than trashing masks maybe we should trash poor compliance-especially by our “elites” when at bars or restaurants….

    • #15
  16. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    1)kids IQs drop every summer- missing a year of school would predictably drop IQ as much or more without any masks involved. Many studies report drops in kids achievement during the summer-just one:

    https://www.jstor.org/stable/1170523

    2)there is plenty of data masks work-you just have to be willing look for it. A few are listed below- NB-NO flu studies!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/09/01/masks-study-covid-bangladesh/

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/dishashetty/2020/12/06/german-study-finds-face-masks-reduce-new-covid-19-infections-by-45/?sh=4f6157534bb2

    https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7010e3.htm. this report is frequently mischaracterized as showing little effect-but during a viral pandemic the growth effects are similar to compound interest-over time the effects become significant

    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0249891

    https://gh.bmj.com/content/5/5/e002794?ijkey=225a4ea627ba226c12e32b4ecc65d40157231c2a&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15030685/

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.01.20087064v1

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/medrxiv/early/2020/04/06/2020.04.01.20049528.full.pdf

    none of this means we need mask mandates but ignoring data that doesn’t support your position isn’t a winning strategy

    I keep waiting for evidence that a mandate actually makes a difference in real data.

    Tackle the real issue, the question that matters.

    You have claimed they are all “modeling studies” before-but the studies aren’t modeling studies-they are real world data-the USA, Germany, China, Bangladesh etc. There is other aggregate data that doesn’t show masks having significant effectiveness-but much of it is of poorer quality (since there was no control of other factors done) than the positive studies. It may be the masks aren’t working well in many jurisdictions b/c of poor compliance-but rather than trashing masks maybe we should trash poor compliance-especially by our “elites” when at bars or restaurants….

    German compliance (and Minneapolis for that matter) reportedly is in the low 90% range. Sweden and Wisconsin ought to be radically different in outcomes.

    The data I look at is not from “poor quality” studies but the reported numbers of cases by date and location. I have rather obsessively pored over that since being stuck at home last year during the failed lockdowns. What the data says is that COVID infections rise and fall in strict adherence to large region-wide patterns regardless of NPIs—including mask mandates—I can’t find an NPI in any state that changed those curves in any way.

    Maybe find a study comparing masked jurisdictions with different outcomes to identify the problem with mask use such that the expected benefits occur in one but not the other.

    • #16
  17. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    1)kids IQs drop every summer- missing a year of school would predictably drop IQ as much or more without any masks involved. Many studies report drops in kids achievement during the summer-just one:

    https://www.jstor.org/stable/1170523

    2)there is plenty of data masks work-you just have to be willing look for it. A few are listed below- NB-NO flu studies!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/09/01/masks-study-covid-bangladesh/

    SNIP 

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/medrxiv/early/2020/04/06/2020.04.01.20049528.full.pdf

     

    none of this means we need mask mandates SNIP 

    I keep waiting for evidence that a mandate actually makes a difference in real data. These projections and modeling claim 45, 50% drops! And yet when masks are used in great numbers, the case curves are always effing identical to similar jurisdictions that did not.

    Masks were going to work in India. The Swedes should not have had the same curves as Germany. How can Bangladesh have a 10% case drop with 28% mask use when we don’t see even a fraction of that benefit in places with vastly more usage. I think those numbers need a closer look SNIP 

    You once touted the Kansas study which … is crap. SNIP 

    ”Studies” which are meta reviews of cherry-picked articles are a joke. And the one paper you listed that looked the most serious in comparing states had to subjectively dance around seasonality so much it was almost useless. SNIP

    Instead of defending the party line in this new arena of politicized science, … deal with the fact that any honest look at real outcomes shows zero difference between masked and unmasked counties, states and countries. Start there SNIP  Explain why we don’t see even the alleged Bangladesh sized drops in infections and then come up with a reasonable explanation as to how and where masks could make a difference when of a certain type or in a programmed use instead of affirming the nonsense that me in my dirty mandated surgical mask and the guy with the bandana SNIP  are making a difference when there is absolutely no reason to expect those devices are blocking anything.

    Real science would deal with canyon-sized gap between expectations based on modeled & small-group reports & actual outcomes. Instead, we keep getting publications that tell us masks work by large significant margins that just don’t happen to appear in the aggregate actual outcomes. It’s … as if the mission is not to find solutions but to show up deplorable critics of NPIs.

    Tackle the real issue, the question that matters.

     

    Well, this individual is looking to Jeff Bezos’ owned Washington Post.

    Jeff-y Boy has owed the Democrats big time, ever since the Dem majority in House and Senate during the Spring of 2007 went and awarded Jeff-y all the privileges of owning the US post office and none of the liabilities.

    • #17
  18. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    We are ruled by some real geniuses. lol

     

    The medical experts that appear on mainstream media continue to move the COVID goalposts to somewhere North of Sweden. Although a bit of progress was made in that somebody finally appeared on CNN to admit that masks and face coverings don’t work,his ‘remedy’ was something much more burdensome.

    Dr. Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota adjunct professor who was a member of Biden’s transition team, delivered the news to CNN’s viewers on Tuesday.

     

    “And if I could just add a nuance to that, which hopefully doesn’t add more confusion, is we know today that many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out,” Dr. Osterholm continued.

    https://beckernews.com/new-medical-expert-on-cnn-concedes-masks-face-coverings-dont-work-but-hes-got-something-more-burdensome-in-mind-40691/

     

     

    • #18
  19. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

     

     

     

     

     

    • #19
  20. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    “And if I could just add a nuance to that, which hopefully doesn’t add more confusion, is we know today that many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out,” Dr. Osterholm continued.

    Ya think? No duh, doc.

    Osterholm was an early architect of Gov. Walz heavy-handed interventions. He amazed me by predicting 10-14 weeks of COVID horror two days after Minnesota’s caseload had already peaked last November.  I remember wondering how the hell the state’s top expert (a) can’t read a graph and (b) is apparently oblivious to the rather fundamental concept of seasonality.

    Why are so many credentialed people committed to policies they have to know won’t have much if any effect? Why do they so desperately need the drama of posing as the Voice of Science opposing imagined hordes of ignorant rubes? Why are voices like Scott Atlas so rare and so reviled?

    • #20
  21. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    1)kids IQs drop every summer- missing a year of school would predictably drop IQ as much or more without any masks involved. Many studies report drops in kids achievement during the summer-just one:

    https://www.jstor.org/stable/1170523

    2)there is plenty of data masks work-you just have to be willing look for it. A few are listed below- NB-NO flu studies!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/09/01/masks-study-covid-bangladesh/

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/dishashetty/2020/12/06/german-study-finds-face-masks-reduce-new-covid-19-infections-by-45/?sh=4f6157534bb2

    https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7010e3.htm. this report is frequently mischaracterized as showing little effect-but during a viral pandemic the growth effects are similar to compound interest-over time the effects become significant

    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0249891

    https://gh.bmj.com/content/5/5/e002794?ijkey=225a4ea627ba226c12e32b4ecc65d40157231c2a&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15030685/

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.05.01.20087064v1

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/medrxiv/early/2020/04/06/2020.04.01.20049528.full.pdf

    none of this means we need mask mandates but ignoring data that doesn’t support your position isn’t a winning strategy

    I keep waiting for evidence that a mandate actually makes a difference in real data.

    Tackle the real issue, the question that matters.

    You have claimed they are all “modeling studies” before-but the studies aren’t modeling studies-they are real world data-the USA, Germany, China, Bangladesh etc. There is other aggregate data that doesn’t show masks having significant effectiveness-but much of it is of poorer quality (since there was no control of other factors done) than the positive studies. It may be the masks aren’t working well in many jurisdictions b/c of poor compliance-but rather than trashing masks maybe we should trash poor compliance-especially by our “elites” when at bars or restaurants….

    German compliance (and Minneapolis for that matter) reportedly is in the low 90% range. Sweden and Wisconsin ought to be radically different in outcomes.

    The data I look at is not from “poor quality” studies but the reported numbers of cases by date and location. I have rather obsessively pored over that since being stuck at home last year during the failed lockdowns. What the data says is that COVID infections rise and fall in strict adherence to large region-wide patterns regardless of NPIs—including mask mandates—I can’t find an NPI in any state that changed those curves in any way.

    Maybe find a study comparing masked jurisdictions with different outcomes to identify the problem with mask use such that the expected benefits occur in one but not the other.

    There is no doubt that Americans are unlikely to comply with mandates at the German level (for both good and ill). The data you cite is poor b/c it is gross aggregate data with no attempt to control for other factors-it doesn’t mean it didn’t reflect what happened but it is hard to use it for guidance b/c there are so many reasons why it looked poor(perhaps we can never get a large per cent of Americans to wear masks properly & should give up trying- or we should work harder at education- but I can’t tell from the data you quote). That is why I do not back mandates but I also believe you can’t say masks never worked- when they did in several places. I have no problem with people opposing mandates but do not do so b/c “masks never work”-they have- but  you can argue “we will never get masks to work” and should redirect our efforts elsewhere.

    • #21
  22. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    I am so impressed that Bangladesh achieved deep reductions in COVID with a fraction of the percent mask usage in Germany or US cities where there was no comparable detectable drop in COVID. I also know the Bangladesh study waslike totally unbiased and detached from the politics of COVID NPIs by the flood of in-your-face, take that you anti-vaxxer, anti-mask trogs comments accompanying its announcement.  (Wonder if the team included any of the totally non-political science guys who routinely find polar bears almost extinct from climate change.)  After years as a practicing lobbyist, one develops a nose for highly result-oriented “expert” studies.

    PRACTICE TIP: If you want to produce numbers that show masks work, always select a time period when the numbers are relatively low and declining (e.g., CDC’s infamous Kansas “study”). Then it’s gonna be simpler to attribute the drop to whatever it is you are touting.

     

    Unlike Bangladesh, India mandated masks under penalty of law then by fines almost everywhere later, and yet there did not seem to be much of a change in trajectory.  (If somebody has a source for regional COVID data in India, I would love to take a look.)

     

    Why haven’t masks worked?  That is the question that an actual scientist would start with instead of this tiresome partisan fantasy that masks really are working but we are just too dumb to notice. Instead of trying to scrape up evidence to refute the numbers in front of our own lying eyes, why don’t mask advocates ever honestly set out to determine why the benefits of masking are so low to non-existent and then tell us how it could work.  

    If masks only block or delay certain large-sized particles, why should we expect any difference in outcome?  It cannot be possible at this stage in the pandemic to believe that large droplets from coughs and sneezes (that could be blocked at least temporarily by a mask) comprise a significant share of transmission events.  So what exactly does a mask prevent?  Is there some protocol, some manner of use that would actually help?  What is the measurable difference in use that proved valuable somewhere?

     

     

    • #22
  23. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Why haven’t masks worked?  That is the question that an actual scientist would start with instead of this tiresome partisan fantasy that masks really are working but we are just too dumb to notice. Instead of trying to scrape up evidence to refute the numbers in front of our own lying eyes, why don’t mask advocates ever honestly set out to determine why the benefits of masking are so low to non-existent and then tell us how it could work.  

    I’d like to know why the shot isn’t working in New Mexico. At least that’s what I take from the governor’s reimplementation of the indoor mask mandate regardless of vaccination status. The state keeps pushing for people to get the shot but takes away the carrot by mandating masks. I don’t understand what message they are trying to get out. One pushback I received on Twitter was, “you don’t use seat belts and brakes?”. The masks will never go away if some tyrants get their way.

    • #23
  24. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Why haven’t masks worked? That is the question that an actual scientist would start with instead of this tiresome partisan fantasy that masks really are working but we are just too dumb to notice. Instead of trying to scrape up evidence to refute the numbers in front of our own lying eyes, why don’t mask advocates ever honestly set out to determine why the benefits of masking are so low to non-existent and then tell us how it could work.

    I’d like to know why the shot isn’t working in New Mexico. At least that’s what I take from the governor’s reimplementation of the indoor mask mandate regardless of vaccination status. The state keeps pushing for people to get the shot but takes away the carrot by mandating masks. I don’t understand what message they are trying to get out. One pushback I received on Twitter was, “you don’t use seat belts and brakes?”. The masks will never go away if some tyrants get their way.

    The shot was never going to make COVID go away, just slow the spread a bit and vastly reduce symptoms and death.  The idiocy of testing to scare us with big case numbers while at the same time setting the goal as zero cases while also having to pretend what was mandated before actually made a difference is where we are.  We can live with COVId but not a lot of governors.

    • #24
  25. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Why haven’t masks worked? That is the question that an actual scientist would start with instead of this tiresome partisan fantasy that masks really are working but we are just too dumb to notice. Instead of trying to scrape up evidence to refute the numbers in front of our own lying eyes, why don’t mask advocates ever honestly set out to determine why the benefits of masking are so low to non-existent and then tell us how it could work.

    I’d like to know why the shot isn’t working in New Mexico. At least that’s what I take from the governor’s reimplementation of the indoor mask mandate regardless of vaccination status. The state keeps pushing for people to get the shot but takes away the carrot by mandating masks. I don’t understand what message they are trying to get out. One pushback I received on Twitter was, “you don’t use seat belts and brakes?”. The masks will never go away if some tyrants get their way.

    The shot was never going to make COVID go away, just slow the spread a bit and vastly reduce symptoms and death. The idiocy of testing to scare us with big case numbers while at the same time setting the goal as zero cases while also having to pretend what was mandated before actually made a difference is where we are. We can live with COVId but not a lot of governors.

    For a few weeks, our electronic highway signs included this nonsense “Delta cases are rising // Get tested”. Why should I get tested if I don’t have any symptoms? Maybe they finally realized their folly as that line disappeared from the rotation.

    • #25