Thursday, May 28, 2020

New Study Casts More Doubt on Effectiveness of Masks in Preventing COVID-19 Spread

Here is a bit more on the actions of power freak government officials who have issued draconian orders that are not based on science (The "wear masks" order edition).

Jon Miltimore writes:
Millions of people are turning to masks in an effort to protect themselves from COVID-19, but new evidence suggests those efforts could be for naught. 
Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine last month found that both surgical and cloth masks proved ineffective in preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. 
Conducted by clinical researchers at several universities in Seoul, South Korea, the study involved four patients receiving medical care for COVID-19. (Previous studies researching the efficacy of masks examined transmission of other viruses.)
Unfortunately, the results were not encouraging.
Neither surgical nor cotton masks effectively filtered SARS–CoV-2 during coughs by infected patients,” researchers concluded. (Note: N95 respirators, which CDC Guidelines advise for medical personnel only, were not part of the test.)
While disappointing, the results are not particularly surprising. 
As recently as March, the US Surgeon General was still urging Americans to not buy or wear masks, stating they could actually increase one’s risk of infection. On March 8, NIAID Director and infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told 60 Minutes much the same.
There is actually an abundance of research that suggests masks are not an effective method of preventing the spread of respiratory viruses, which is no doubt why the World Health Organization and some other countries do not recommend wearing masks.
It was for this reason that I wrote a May 6 article urging an end to the practice of forcing people to wear masks.


This just appeared in a  The New England Journal of Medicine article (ht Martin Hill):
We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic...such reactions may not be strictly logical, we are all subject to fear and anxiety, especially during times of crisis. One might argue that fear and anxiety are better countered with data and education than with a marginally beneficial mask, particularly in light of the worldwide mask shortage, but it is difficult to get clinicians to hear this message in the heat of the current crisis. 


  1. The masks are a remarkable piece of pseudo-science that are heavily pushed by the "believe science" and "trust the experts" crowd. It is clearly a superstitious cult belief at this point.

    At best there is no scientific consensus. The majority of studies lean towards them being ineffective. The claims that they are effective are highly situational and don't account for human error while wearing masks. Anyone with common sense can observe the negative side effects - face touching, moving the mask around, same dirty mask being used, lack of fresh air, viruses can get through anyway. This is where the midwits come into play. They are the most susceptible to being true believers. They are smart enough to understand that one study they read but not wise enough to think through the details.

    The worst thing almost nobody is distinguishing between is the quantitative vs. qualitative issues with masks. Even IF they potentially stop the spreed of the virus the cultural and psychological harm they cause would not be worth the cost. How valuable is it to see another person's face? To see their subtle expressions and body language? To assess any threat or friendliness they present? How beautiful is an attractive smiling face? The masks represent a loss of our humanity as we descend into becoming Pod People. This virus isn't even notably deadly to me. Even if you up the risk to a population wide 1% death rate the masks still wouldn't be worth it.

  2. Beginning tomorrow, Virginia now requires people over 10 to wear masks in buildings open to the public. One exemption from this diktat are people with a health problem that precludes them wearing a mask. Furthermore you are not required to show medical documentation or to reveal the medical problem. All of which leads me to believe that we are actors living in the Theater of the Absurd. Interesting times!