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Colorado schools without mask mandates have higher COVID transmission, state data shows

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Colorado schools without mask mandates have higher COVID transmission, state data shows

Students in Colorado school districts that declined to institute mask mandates are infected with COVID-19 at higher rates than in districts that have face-covering requirements, according to data presented Thursday by the state’s top epidemiologist.

Coronavirus cases among school-aged children between 6 and 17 hover around 300 cases per 100,000 people in school districts that do not require masks, while that number is closer to 250 per 100,000 in districts that require masks.

“There is a clear impact that masks are having on transmission,” said Rachel Herlihy, Colorado’s state epidemiologist, during a virtual news conference.

The state has declined to institute an across-the-board mask mandate in schools, but Herlihy on Thursday reiterated that they recommend schools — regardless of their transmission or vaccination rates — require masks in classrooms.

 

Cases among school-age children — some of whom are eligible to get the vaccine — are also significantly higher in Colorado counties that have lower vaccination rates, such as Weld and El Paso counties, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment data shows.

Denver and Boulder counties, which have much higher vaccination rates, have infection rates in children at nearly one-third the levels of the higher-transmission counties.

 

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