With the great debate on wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is important to look at what the scientific evidence supports. Scientific evidence comes from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that are peer-reviewed (not from secondary sources, news reporters, or politicians that can “interpret data” however they like). This is important because many of us are being “mandated” to wear face masks if we want to interact with the outside world. So, we need to know both if they work and if they are safe.
You might be old enough to remember back to May of 2020 when everyone (CDC, WHO, etc.) was telling us NOT to buy masks because they are ineffective at preventing the spread of viruses – and we needed to leave all PPE to healthcare professionals. This made sense and did in fact line up with the scientific literature, as stated by the New England Journal of Medicine, “We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection.”
The CDC was even kind enough to provide of review of RCTs in May of 2020 in an article titled, Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures. Their review concluded, “We did not find evidence that surgical-type face masks are effective in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza transmission, either when worn by infected persons (source control) or by persons in the general community to reduce their susceptibility.”
There are quite a few review articles that summarize the results from RCTs on face masks that include links to all those individual RCTs if interested. The links are posted in the For More Info section below. Also, it is important to remember that these studies were based on the use of surgical masks, not the silly cloth ones that you see everyone wearing. Just hearing that a bandana or scarf “will do” should be enough to make you wonder…
So, What Changed?
Did the science change? Was there a new RCT published in June of 2020 that found wearing masks magically prevented the spread of COVID-19? The short answer is no. The science has not changed. In fact, to date only one RCT has been conducted using cloth masks, and the results caution against their use stating, “Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection.” There are also concerns that masks impede airflow and serve only as an obstruction to breathing, not the barrier to pathogens as hoped.
The New England Journal of Medicine editorial on the topic of mask use versus COVID-19 assesses the matter as follows:
“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 20 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.”
So, Why the Debate?
Why are Governor’s and Mayor’s and store owners (with zero science background) mandating that we must wear a mask? Why have the CDC and WHO changed their tunes? Why are American’s arguing with each other over whether someone else is wearing one?
One suggestion might be fear. Fear is a powerful emotion. Many are afraid of catching and/or dying of the Coronavirus, and so telling them to wear a mask might just make them feel safer (the placebo effect is real). But it could also be argued that seeing people in masks everywhere you go only reminds you of what you are afraid of…
While there is no scientific basis for wearing a face mask, it does make some people feel safer and more protected. Therefore, it should certainly be allowed for those who want to wear one. But for those that do, please do not wear a cloth mask, especially if worn over and over without washing. Please do not wear one outside. Please wear it for as short as possible. Masks are not healthy and will only lower your immune system – the one thing we should be focusing on improving these days.
For the rest of us, masks absolutely should not be mandated. We should not be forced to wear something that increases our risk of infection and lowers our immune system. (There are also dangers here in relation to human trafficking, but another topic for another day…)
The sad reality is that we are dealing with a virus that seems fond of those with a weakened immune system. What we should focus on is ways to boost our immune system, staying away from those who are sick, and finding ways to stay positive. We also need to remember to be kind to one another.
Note: If you wonder why you haven’t heard this before, be aware that social media outlets and main-stream media are working overtime to hide any information that doesn’t fit their agenda (another topic for another day).
CDC – Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article
Universal Masking in Hospitals in the Covid-19 Era: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2006372
A cluster randomised trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25903751/
For More Information:
Masks Don’t Work: A Review of Science Relevant to COVID-19 Social Policy: https://www.rcreader.com/commentary/masks-dont-work-covid-a-review-of-science-relevant-to-covide-19-social-policy
Masks are neither effective nor safe: A summary of the science: https://www.primarydoctor.org/masks-not-effect?fbclid=IwAR0DYFTgLie-9vh73Y1zZZocu7OXXoKRzpQxy-MDsOghYMe-0P83AFlH4qw
A scientific look at the mask fallacy – and why we’re told to wear them: https://uncoverdc.com/2020/07/15/a-scientific-look-at-the-mask-fallacy-and-why-were-told-to-wear-them/?fbclid=IwAR1_EQJEoJbK3ZhkfgQ-1TGrD5-o_aZXjbYHMtP7ZEuRaSa_id8B84L_b2Q
The Facts About COVID-19 by Dr. Kelly Victory (VIDEO): https://www.brighteon.com/7cad71ce-40ab-4def-b0b7-cc5ff7a18925
CDC, WHO And Scientific Journals Admit Face Masks Are Not Effective, Maybe Harmful: https://worldeventsandthebible.com/current-events/cdc-who-and-scientific-journals-admit-face-masks-are-not-effective-maybe-harmful?fbclid=IwAR1KlQcVvYFL2WGseWk5J-Bpvl1N6nifYFk227L3br8nI17KEnUGKmL1wck