HomeHealth Care NewsMedia Outlets Play Favorites with Mask Studies

Media Outlets Play Favorites with Mask Studies

Media outlets heralded a mask study, based on modeling, that concluded universal mask use could save 130,000 lives, while largely ignoring a randomized controlled trial that found masks worn in public offer virtually no protection against the SARS CoV-2 Virus.

The modeling study (UW), by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation, was published on October 23 in Nature Medicine. It predicted one half million people in the U.S. could die from  COVID-19 by February 2021 and that universal mask use could save 130,000 of those lives.

The randomized controlled trial by Danish researchers of 4,862 participants was published on November 18 in Annals of Internal Medicine. It found that, of the 95 participants who became infected with COVID-19, 42 wore masks while 53 did not wear masks.

“The recommendation to wear surgical masks to supplement other public health measures did not reduce the SARS-CoV 2 infection rates among wearers by more than 50 percent in the community with modest infection rates, some degree of social-distancing, and uncommon general mask use,” the authors state.

Media Outlet Coverage

A Google search showed widely different coverage of the studies by major news organizations.


AnneMarie Schieber (amschieber@heartland.org) is managing editor of Health Care News.

AnneMarie Schieber
AnneMarie Schieber
AnneMarie Schieber is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Health Care News, Heartland's monthly newspaper for health care reform.


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