WI Senator demands answers from CDC chief on flawed mask study use
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson's (R-WI) letter to CDC's Walensky demands all documents related to continued reliance on mask study
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the ranking member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, wants answers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the agency’s continued use of a flawed mask study which was used to keep K-12 school children masked for the past two years.
On Tuesday, March 1, 2022, Johnson issued a press release detailing the letter he sent to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky seeking answers on her “repeated reliance on a potentially flawed study of the effectiveness of mask mandates in schools.” The letter highlighted reporting that has identified “serious flaws in study’s findings and methodology.”
“Between September and October 2021, you publicly cited the study multiple times to support the conclusion that mask mandates in schools help prevent COVID-19 infections,” Johnson wrote.
Johnson’s press release notes that “months later in private, the senator noted that, Director Walensky acknowledged the “limitations” of the study.”
Specifically referenced by Johnson is an article in The Atlantic, which points out the multiple issues with the mask study Walenskey and the CDC had been relying on to keep school kids masked.
Johnson listed the flaws per The Atlantic article:
The period of time selected for the study, July 15-August 31, 2021, resulted in data comparisons of schools that were open for as few as three weeks with schools that were open for as many as six weeks. According to the article, the schools without mask mandates were open longer than the schools with mask mandates;
The study failed to determine whether the higher COVID-positive case rates in schools without mask mandates were actually due to transmission that occurred at school;
County guidance potentially resulted in students at schools with mask mandates not being tested for COVID-19 at the same rate as students in schools without mask mandates. As the article notes, Maricopa County testing guidelines were defined by the mask status of the students in contact. Determining who to test based on masking status could lead to a potential detection bias; and
The study failed to control for vaccination status in schools.
“The lack of transparency from the CDC on pandemic policy throughout the past two years has been appalling,” Johnson wrote in the section just prior to requesting “all documents and communications” relating to the study.
Additionally, Johnson has asked for the CDC to “clarify potential false statements to subcommittee staff.”
Read Johnson’s full letter.
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