The left's coming defeat in the mask wars

Although there are still some holdouts who believe so-called remote learning was a necessary and costless mitigation strategy, it is now widely acknowledged to have had grievous educational costs with no public-health rationale. Jonathan Chait of New York magazine wrote a retrospective on the schools debate the other day headlined, “School Closures Were a Catastrophic Error. Progressives Still Haven’t Reckoned With It.”

The mask mandates will fare almost as poorly, and the political and intellectual backlash is building, with huge fights over mandates in Virginia and New York State.

A notable piece in the Atlantic by three public-health experts eviscerated the case for school mask mandates. It related how a randomized trial in Denmark found no significant effects from masks on reducing transmission, and a study in Bangladesh found that surgical masks had some effect on reducing transmission. But importantly, the studies weren’t of children.

A Brown University study of schools in New York, Massachusetts, and Florida didn’t find any correlation between student case numbers and mask mandates. The same is true of a study in Science magazine. Analysis of the data from schools around the country points the same way.