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Biden’s Education Secretary Cites Study to Enforce Masking Students, But Author of the Paper Steps In and Takes Him to School

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Education Secretary Miguel Cardona was reprimanded on Twitter for not following the science when he tried to push the Biden administration’s policy of forcing students to wear masks in school.

Cardona seized upon a study published on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website as evidence that wearing masks in school reduced transmission of the coronavirus.

“A Wisconsin study found that schools that required masking had a 37% lower incidence of COVID-19 than the surrounding community,” he wrote in a Twitter post last week.

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A Wisconsin study found that schools that required masking had a 37% lower incidence of COVID-19 than the surrounding community. https://t.co/hGN5eX3Bau

— Secretary Miguel Cardona (@SecCardona) September 27, 2021

The 2020 study, which examined 17 Wisconsin schools over three months last fall, found that in those schools in which masking, social distancing and other steps were taken to minimize the spread of the virus, the percentage of positive coronavirus cases was in fact lower than the community at large.

But Tracy Heeg, an author of the study, objected to it being misrepresented for political purposes.

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Although the study showed there was apparently high mask-wearing and low incidence of virus transmission, there was nothing to show one caused the other.

Further, Heeg noted, one of the basics of the scientific method was lacking.

Secretary Cardona, I was the senior author of this study. Our study is not able to give any information about the role masks played in the observed low in-school transmission rates. We had no control group so don’t know if the rate would have been different without masks.

— Tracy Høeg, MD, PhD (@TracyBethHoeg) September 28, 2021

“Secretary Cardona, I was the senior author of this study. Our study is not able to give any information about the role masks played in the observed low in-school transmission rates. We had no control group so don’t know if the rate would have been different without masks,” she tweeted.

That led some to note that the administration that promised to follow the science might have wandered afield.

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Secretary Cardona, I was the senior author of this study. Our study is not able to give any information about the role masks played in the observed low in-school transmission rates. We had no control group so don’t know if the rate would have been different without masks.

— Tracy Høeg, MD, PhD (@TracyBethHoeg) September 28, 2021

— Jay Knower (@jcknower) September 28, 2021

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In fact, the published study said there were seven limitations on its result, which relied on surveys for its data.

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For instance, the study noted that the level at which students actually wore masks might not have been all it was cracked up to be.

“First, mask use was assessed using a survey that was not validated, dependent on voluntary teacher response and subject to recall and social desirability biases,” the study reported.

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“The actual mask-wearing rate might have been different because only approximately one half of teachers participated in the study. Teachers with lower masking compliance in their cohort might have been less likely to complete the survey, which limits the reliability of this measure,” the student said.

The study also noted that there was no independent verification of whether teachers and other staff actually wore masks as much as they said they did.

“Third, it was not possible to determine the specific roles that mask-wearing and other disease mitigation strategies played in the low rate of disease spread, and information on school ventilation systems was not obtained,” the study said.

@SecCardona⁩ claims WI study proves masks in schools work. Physician author of study says study proves no such thing.

Education Secretary Touts Mask Study—Gets Rebuked by Senior Author of the Study – Foundation for Economic Education https://t.co/RWBQ1Cn383

— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) October 3, 2021

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The study’s purpose, as explained on the CDC site, was to determine – at a time when many schools were closed – whether schools could reopen without spreading the virus, and not whether masks were essential.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues


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