Duke University Doctors Report From Million Student Study: Universal Masking Works

Dr. Kanecia Zimmerman, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Duke University School of Medicine, and Dr. Danny Benjamin Jr., a pediatric-infectious-disease specialist at Duke Health, reported results and conclusions from a study conducted with North Carolina school districts and charter schools involving more than a million students and staff. In a summary published in The New York Times, Dr. Zimmerman and Dr. Benjamin find, “We have learned a few things for certain: Although vaccination is the best way to prevent Covid-19, universal masking is a close second, and with masking in place, in-school learning is safe and more effective than remote instruction, regardless of community rates of infection.”

The study found that voluntary masking is less efficacious than universal masking—and that universal masking can save lives.

The COVID mortality rate in school-age children is low but with “more than 50 million public school children in the United States” that could mean 1,000 school children deaths from COVID that could likely be avoided through vaccination and masking.