ANN ARBOR, Michigan (FOX 2) – Primary school children are seeing a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases.
âCase rates among the school-aged population, those 5 to 18, have really seen the biggest increases in the state,â said Marisa Eisenberg, associate professor of complex systems and epidemiology at the University of Michigan.
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So the researchers looked at data for August and September to see what was behind the increase.
âWe had data on the mask rules in Michigan school districts and we linked it to the case data,â Eisenberg said. “What we found is that districts that did not have mask requirements experience higher case rates than those that do.”
The researchers said the finding is not surprising.
âWe have known for a long time that masks are an important part of the prevention strategy,â said Eisenberg.
Read more: Michigan parent groups lobby health department to impose masks on all schools
School mask warrants have sparked fierce debate across the state.
FOX 2 has reached out to county officials for their opinion. Wayne and Oakland counties have mask mandates in K-12 schools. Macomb County does not.
“With the Macomb Middle School District as well as the Macomb County school districts, we are working to promote a safe educational environment. As we have done in the past, we will continue to work with these partners and monitor schools in the Macomb County and act accordingly, âMacomb County officials said.
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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office also provided a statement regarding masks in schools.
The statement read in part: “As science and the governor believe, the safe and effective vaccine is the best tool to protect older students, and smart mask policies are important to keep students safe. lower classes until a vaccine is approved for them. “
The researchers said they would continue to review the data throughout the school year. They hope the results will help reduce infection rates.