A Duke study found that mask mandates were effective in schools, reports Charles Duncan of Spectrum News. Making masks obligatory resulted in Covid-19 transmissions being reduced by 72% compared to schools that didn't impose this rule. A closer calculation, factoring in school district sizes, indicated that masking lowered transmissions by up to 87%. When looking at primary versus secondary infections, meaning transmission of the virus outside and inside schools, the study found that districts with mask mandates had a 3.6% lower transmission rate than those that didn't. This policy has been shown to make a major difference in stopping Covid-19.
Mask mandates were not an effective policy, argues John Tierney of City Journal. When examining the data on infections in states that enforced mask mandates and those that didn't, one can see clearly that infection rates were very similar. When New York introduced its mandate in the spring of 2020 it didn't prevent it from having the same uptick in infections that states that didn't impose these rules saw later that year. Overall, this policy wasn't effective at shielding communities from Covid-19. As the discussion around mask mandates became very politicized, perhaps they were supported not out of medical necessity but a political desire to take action against the virus.