Issues & Insights
Photo: Thgusstavo Santana, Source: Pexels. Creative Commons Public domain (

Should We Mask Kids Under 5 To Contain COVID? — I&I/TIPP Poll

Fearing a huge winter upswing in the number of COVID and flu cases, government officials are once again calling on Americans to don their masks to keep the deadly viruses from spreading. But some take it a step further, suggesting even children 5 and under should put on masks. The latest I&I/TIPP Poll asks: Is that a good idea?

The answer, probably not surprisingly to anyone, appears to depend heavily on a variety of factors, including where you live, your race, your gender and your political leanings. So, at the very least, we’re likely in for another politicized debate over the practice of masking, this time for the youngest among us.

The I&I/TIPP Poll, taken online from Dec. 7-9, asked 1,351 American adults the following simple question: “Is it a good or bad idea to put masks on children under age 5 to deal with COVID?”

The response to the online poll, which has a margin of error of +/-2.8 percentage points, was split nearly evenly: 39% said it was a good idea, versus 38% who said it was a bad idea. Because of the size of the margin of error, that means it’s basically a tossup.

The same can’t be said when it comes to responses by political party, ideology, gender and race. In each of those, significant difference emerge.

Take political party. A solid majority of Democrats (56%) believe masking children under 5 is a good idea, compared with just 24% of Republicans and 31% of independents. Conversely, only 24% of Democrats said it was a bad idea, versus 58% of Republicans and 38% of independents.

And, once again, Democrats are the outliers among the three major parties on a COVID-related question.

SEE ALSO: Parents Still Masking Their Young Children Should Be Ashamed

Ideology might be the clearest indicator of where someone is likely to stand on this question. Self-described conservatives, at 56%, are most likely to call masking the youngest children a “bad idea,” with just 31% call it good. Moderates, at 33% to 37%, have a bare plurality calling the practice “good.”

Those calling themselves liberal embrace the idea, and overwhelmingly, by 54% “good” to 24% “bad.”

Race was another big difference. Just 33% of white Americans said masking the youngest kids was a good idea, compared to 48% of blacks and Hispanics. Among whites, 44% thought it was a bad idea, compared to just 28% of the black/Hispanic group.

By gender, men (42%) were somewhat more favorable toward masking than women (36%). And women were more likely (39%) to call it a bad idea than men (37%).

One other significant gap in the data answers: Geography – responses of city dwellers, suburbanites, and people who live in the country. Among those living in urban areas, a majority of 51% say masking the youngest among us is a good idea. Just 35% of those in the suburbs and 30% in rural areas agree.

What accounts for the sometimes big differences among groups, even though overall data suggest Americans are pretty evenly split?

The fact is, when it comes to lockdowns and masking, there appears to be little hard evidence that masks do much to prevent transmission of COVID and its variants.

A recent spate of legitimate medical studies, some suppressed by the media and activists, suggest that not only are there few if any differences among the various types of masks worn to protect against viral infection, but “the data is consistent with mask wearing having modest or no direct effect on COVID-related outcomes,” as one major study found.

Still another study of mask use asserted  there “was no discernible effect of the mask intervention on Covid infection.”

Both those studies were done in response to a highly publicized 6,000-patient study conducted in Bangladesh that purported to show significant benefits from masking. Closer looks at the data and the conclusions found no such benefits.

If that’s true, why mask children, the least vulnerable group statistically to COVID and its variants? After all, many of the same “scientific” arguments were made in closing schools to “prevent the spread” of COVID.

This year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress, called the “nation’s report card,” had devastating news to deliver to parents, according to the Associated Press:

Across the country, math scores saw their largest decreases ever. Reading scores dropped to 1992 levels. Nearly four in 10 eighth graders failed to grasp basic math concepts. Not a single state saw a notable improvement in their average test scores, with some simply treading water at best.

Masking the youngest children will only worsen that trend as they enter school. Based on recent data, it’s clear that lockdowns and masking did little if anything to help kids or even to keep them safe, but did much to slow their educational and social development.

“(T)he CDC’s own February 2021 double-mask study reported that masking may impede breathing – which can trigger a variety of other problems including acute anxiety attacks in susceptible individuals,” the American Institute for Economic Research noted last year. “These harms are even more likely to occur to children, particularly smaller children.”

Meanwhile, a German registry for parents covering more than 26,000 children found “average wearing time of the mask was 270 minutes per day. Impairments caused by wearing the mask were reported by 68% of the parents. These included irritability (60%), headache (53%), difficulty concentrating (50%), less happiness (49%), reluctance to go to school/kindergarten (44%), malaise (42%), impaired learning (38%) and drowsiness or fatigue (37%).” 

As the I&I/TIPP Poll shows, many people, though not a majority, are unhappy about their children’s lives being further disrupted and their development slowed through mandatory masking. Yet, an equally significant number, mostly on the left, feel child-masking is needed to control future outbreaks of COVID.

I&I/TIPP publishes timely, unique and informative data each month on topics of public interest. TIPP reputation for polling excellence comes from being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.

Terry Jones is an editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.

We Could Use Your Help

Issues & Insights was founded by seasoned journalists of the IBD Editorials page. Our mission is to provide timely, fact-based reporting and deeply informed analysis on the news of the day -- without fear or favor.

We’re doing this on a voluntary basis because we believe in a free press, and because we aren't afraid to tell the truth, even if it means being targeted by the left. Revenue from ads on the site help, but your support will truly make a difference in keeping our mission going. If you like what you see, feel free to visit our Donations Page by clicking here. And be sure to tell your friends!

You can also subscribe to I&I: It's free!

Just enter your email address below to get started.


Terry Jones

Terry Jones was part of Investor's Business Daily from its inception in 1983, working in a variety of posts, including reporter, economics correspondent, National Issues editor and economics editor. Most recently, from 1996 to 2019, he served as associate editor of the newspaper and deputy editor and editor of IBD's Issues & Insights. His many media appearances include spots on the Larry Kudlow, Bill O’Reilly, Dennis Miller, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Glenn Beck shows. He also served as Free Markets columnist for Townhall Magazine, and as a weekly guest on PJTV’s The Front Page. He holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from UCLA, and is an Abraham Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute


  • This poll shows just how effective the brain-washing has become. That a third of conservatives think it’s a good idea to cover our little one’s faces, shows how far we have fallen into the abyss.

  • We need to make something VERY clear: Masks do literally nothing to stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Zip. Zero. NADA. There are 2 major reasons this is true.

    1. Medical-grade masks (N95/99, etc.) are engineered to stop particles (viruses, bacteria, etc.) that is 0.3 microns, or larger. The SARS-CoV-2 virus particle is 0.125 microns in size, 1/3 of the size the masks were designed to stop. It’s akin to stopping mosquitoes with chainlink fencing.

    2. To be effective once must be trained to properly done medical grade masks. They must be sized and fit correctly. Furthermore, they are generally changed every 15 minutes, not worn for days on end, which is another topic. The N95/99 respirators doctors wear (surgeons mostly) are changed about every 45 minutes.

    It should go without saying that the face diapers people make from old tee shirts and underwear do nothing but trap bacteria and dirt, which are inhaled into the lungs. Indeed, it was the esteemed Dr. A. Fauci who in 1996 published a study that the primary cause of death from the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1917/1918 was bacterial pneumonia – caused by wearing homemade cloth face coverings.

    We should also factor in the fact that children under 18 are the absolute least likely to contract COVID-19 or spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus. And it is almost unheard of for children to become seriously ill or die from COVID-19. We should also acknowledge that, per CDC’s own data COVID-19 appears to have an overall survival rate in excess of 98%.

    This madness must end and truth needs to be given a chance.

  • Of course if you asked the same question, but replace the word “mask” with “shoot”, liberals would still be in favor of it. How “brave” it is to harm children in order to (perceive to) protect adults. Same with vaccines. They are willing to risk their children’s lives to protect their own pathetic carcasses.

  • When you get your little child his/her clotshot, be sure to have taken a picture beforehand. We call this the “Jab Pic” to remind you what they looked like when their reaction kicks in.

  • Supporters of this masking regimen of children should be shocked into rationality if they learned of what studies found brewing in the Petri Dishes they call masks.

  • I don’t understand why ANYONE would mask?!!! 
    Besides the dangers to little children (educational, ie looking at the lips to understand how to pronounce words; health, ie choking off fresh air and not letting the kids expand their lungs; and social, ie letting them interact with others only with a barrier), masks DO NOT work against viruses (which is what COVID is). Viruses are smaller than the pore in cloth masks.
    Moreover, hypothetically, if masks were even almost fully protective against the COVID virus (which they aren’t), the residue of viruses that get through would immediately infect the lower respiratory system (the lungs). This is because, eyes are NOT covered by the mask and the tear ducts of the eyes are direct conduits to the lower respiratory system (the lungs). This is the area where COVID is most lethal.
    Why isn’t this EVER said??? I wish I&I would write an editorial on this basic fact-and hopefully it will be reprinted in other newspapers ad nauseum, until this basic fact is recognized by everybody!!

  • Without knowing the actual demographic being polled, the results are worse than worthless. Inner-city? Suburban? Rural? % by political, economic, age, education strata.

About Issues & Insights

Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

We Could Use Your Help

Help us fight for honesty in journalism and against the tyranny of the left. Issues & Insights is published by the editors of what once was Investor's Business Daily's award-winning opinion pages. If you like what you see, leave a donation by clicking on donate button above. You can also set up regular donations if you like. Ad revenue helps, but your support will truly make a difference. (Please note that we are not set up as a charitable organization, so donations aren't tax deductible.) Thank you!
%d bloggers like this: