By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

Two new studies add additional evidence indicating that wearing a mask is effective for preventing COVID-19. In these investigations, the authors found more cases of COVID-19 in areas without mask policies vs. areas that did require masks for students and staff.

In one study, the authors studied data for 520 U.S. counties gathered between July 1 and Sept. 4, 2021, regarding reported pediatric COVID-19 cases (number of cases per 100,000 population younger than age 18 years). Counties with school mask requirements reported fewer COVID-19 cases (16.32 cases per 100,000 children and adolescents younger than age 18 years per day) vs. counties without such requirements (34.85 per 100,000 per day).

The second report was more narrowly focused — namely, the two most populous counties in Arizona (Maricopa and Pima). These authors studied data reported between July 15 and Aug. 31, 2021, regarding COVID-19 outbreaks in K-12 public noncharter schools open for in-person learning. Investigators made a key distinction on masking policies: early (a policy in place before the school year started) vs. late (a policy implemented after the school year started). During the study period, 191 school-associated outbreaks occurred, 16 in schools with early mask requirements, 62 in schools with late mask requirements, and 113 in schools without a mask requirement.

For more on this and related subjects, be sure to read the latest issues of Hospital Infection Control & Prevention and Infectious Disease Alert. For more Relias Media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, please click here.