Kids Masking Up Prevented Daycares From Closing Up

Childcare programs that required children to be masked were associated with fewer closures at baseline and throughout the course of a year than those that did not, researchers found.

Programs that adopted early masking in spring 2020 were linked with a 13% reduced risk of program closure due to a COVID-19 case (adjusted RR 0.87, 95% CI 0.77-0.99), reported Thomas Murray, MD, PhD, of Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues.

And programs that reported continued masking in spring 2021 were tied to a 14% reduced risk of closure, which trended towards significance (aRR 0.86, 95% CI 0.74-1.00), the authors wrote in JAMA Network Open.

While they noted that masking is a part of “successful mitigation bundles that facilitate a safe return to in-person education” in kindergarten through 12th grade, the same research had not been conducted on children age 5 or younger in childcare programs.

“This gap in science is particularly problematic given current public debate regarding the benefits and risks of masking younger children not yet eligible for vaccination,” they wrote.

Murray’s group surveyed of childcare professionals at two time points: May 22-June 8, 2020 (baseline) and May 26-June 23, 2021 (follow-up), using a cohort from “various childcare professional national databases and state childcare professional registries” consenting to participate for the follow-up survey.

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