Fact Check: ‘Masks do more harm than good’ is not based on scientific evidence

Published: Feb. 14, 2022 at 10:23 AM CST
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(KWQC) - As Illinois leaders, parents, and school districts battle over mask mandates in schools, Esther Joy King, Republican candidate for Illinois’ 17th Congressional District released a statement claiming masks “do more harm than good.”

Following a temporary restraining order from a Springfield judge against 145 district enforcing COVID-19 mitigations, the Pritkzer administration filed a notice to appeal the court’s ruling.

TV6 reached out to King by email and phone, asking her to provide us with the research and evidence she is citing to make her claim that masks do more harm than good. She did not respond to our requests.

However, Janet Hill, COO of the Rock Island County Health Department, said King’s “assertions are not based in scientific evidence.”

In fact, Hill said there’s “no scientific evidence showing masks harm children or anyone” and cites several studies showing masks work and help curb cases in the classroom.

One of which was released in September 2021, which showed counties without universal masking requirements in schools were more likely to have COVID-19 outbreaks. The study also showed counties without masking requirements saw pediatric cases increase nearly twice as quickly.

Another study, released in December, shows mask use is safe and not associated with significant impacts on breathing, under most circumstances, except intense exercise.

“The limited available data indicate no clear evidence that masking impairs emotional or language development in children,” Hill said.

Finally, a study released last week and highlighted in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report showed N95 and KN95 masks lower the likelihood of getting sick from COVID-19 by 83%, surgical masks by 66%, and a cloth mask by 56%.

“Correct and consistent mask use is a critical step everyone can take to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19,” Hill said.

Have something you want TV6 to fact check? Send us an email at factcheck@kwqc.com.

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