Fox News promoted a study warning about kids wearing masks — but it just got retracted by a medical journal
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 4 million people worldwide and over 608,000 people in the United States (according to researchers at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University), the right-wing media continue to promote a variety of anti-vaccine and anti-mask views. Fox News' website, on July 2, published an article by health reporter Kayla Rivas promoting a claim that wearing protective face masks is potentially dangerous for children. This But a medical journal has since retracted that claim.
The research letter that Rivas' article linked to was published on the JAMA Network's website on June 30. It suggested that kids wearing masks inhaled unhealthy levels of carbon dioxide. Host Tucker Carlson also promoted the study's claims on his primetime show.
Promoting a claim that wearing masks is potentially dangerous for children is the type of red meat that Fox News' audience devours, and being scientific often takes a back seat to "owning the liberals." But this week, JAMA retracted the letter that Rivas promoted.
The retraction reads, "Following publication, numerous scientific issues were raised regarding the study methodology, including concerns about the applicability of the device used for assessment of carbon dioxide levels in this study setting, and whether the measurements obtained accurately represented carbon dioxide content in inhaled air, as well as issues related to the validity of the study conclusions. In their invited responses to these and other concerns, the authors did not provide sufficiently convincing evidence to resolve these issues, as determined by editorial evaluation and additional scientific review. Given fundamental concerns about the study methodology, uncertainty regarding the validity of the findings and conclusions, and the potential public health implications, the editors have retracted this Research Letter."
Dr. Megan Ranney, a doctor at Brown Emergency in Providence, Rhode Island, saw the retraction and tweeted:
RETRACTED!!!! (But should never have been published. This was poor science, to say the least.)\n\nTo be super clear: THERE IS ZERO EVIDENCE THAT MASKS HARM KIDS (or adults), and in fact there is good evidence that they do not.\n\nhttps://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2782288\u00a0\u2026 @trishgreenhalgh @kprather88pic.twitter.com/0HBMyS3YOS— Megan Ranney MD MPH \ud83d\uddfd (@Megan Ranney MD MPH \ud83d\uddfd) 1626450143
Here are some Twitter responses to the retraction:
Absolutely appalling that this was published in the first instance. Quite clear that it was shakey science and the potential for long-term damage was huge!— Dylan Wyn Jones (@Dylan Wyn Jones) 1626451119
Good. I worked in an N95 mask for most of my workday for a lot of years and never heard of CO2 problems with co-workers or myself. I hope the damage done with public perception can be corrected but it's probably too late.— AnnHedonia (@AnnHedonia) 1626451496
Same! Seven hours a day through cloth & KN95, usually speaking very loudly so that students could hear me over the multiple fans I was running for fresh air, and the worst that happened was that my throat was a little hoarse at the end of the day. Never even got lightheaded!— Chris Carman (@Chris Carman) 1626457709
What has happened to thorough Pre-publication peer review? Even if an article is eventually retracted, ammo is in the hands of misinformationists and permanent damage has already been done.— Robert Tuchler MD (@Robert Tuchler MD) 1626453911
so many parents in my natural parenting circles were convinced masks GAVE you COVID :(— Marie Myung-Ok \uba85\uc625 Lee (@Marie Myung-Ok \uba85\uc625 Lee) 1626450938
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