A Public Health Ontario science brief says introducing a mask mandate when respiratory viruses surged in the fall may not have eased the crush on pediatric hospitals.
The brief provides a glimpse of the evidence on which Chief Medical Officer of Health Doctor Kieran Moore made his decision to go no further than a strong recommendation on masking in mid-November.
The effects of masking on the transmission of COVID-19 are strong, the brief from late November notes.
Mandates may not have produced more of a benefit than recommendations, its research suggests.
But with influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or R-S-V, circulating at the time as well as COVID-19, the benefits of mask mandates became less clear for the group of experts.
Moore says the evidence for strictly introducing a mask mandate was not there.
Public Health Ontario concludes that a layered approach with masking, vaccination and staying home when sick would reduce respiratory viral transmission among children.