Masks, the real story

If ever there was a reason to doubt what our leaders are telling us it’s the onset of mandatory mask wearing.

There are two ways of getting information when learning about things that affect our daily lives. One popular way is to watch or read what the media outlets are telling us.

The other is to go directly to the science that is published on the matters at hand.

Ironically becoming a little more informed often puts you at odds with what the media and the politicians are saying.

As well as being a little tongue in cheek here at PBM and bringing some satirical humour. We also like to bring you better researched facts on issues. A different approach that often contradict what we are being fed.

Right from the get go the bullshitometer was ringing and buzzing at the info that was being fed to us about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Masks are a classic case. There has been a number of studies (which I will link near the bottom) on the efficacy of Cotten mask wearing. These are not masks designed for filtering out air like an N90 but the washable Cotten masks that 99% of the people you see wearing when you head out. You know the ones that have glaring eyes at you when you aren’t wearing one.

Well, below is some stats from countries hit hard with Covid and the numbers pre a post mask wearing mandates.

Here is a comparison of masks vs no masks

And below is a link to studies done on masks in relation to airborne droplet and aerosol transmission of viruses

Here is the basics below but you will need to click on the link above to go to the source documents.

An overview of the current evidence regarding the effectiveness of face masks.

1. Studies on the effectiveness of face masks

So far, most studies found little to no evidence for the effectiveness of cloth face masks in the general population, neither as personal protective equipment nor as a source control.

  1. A May 2020 meta-study on pandemic influenza published by the US CDC found that face masks had no effect, neither as personal protective equipment nor as a source control. (Source)
  2. A Danish randomized controlled trial with 6000 participants, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in November 2020, found no statistically significant effect of high-quality medical face masks against SARS-CoV-2 infection in a community setting. (Source)
  3. A July 2020 review by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine found that there is no evidence for the effectiveness of cloth masks against virus infection or transmission. (Source)
  4. A May 2020 cross-country study by the University of East Anglia (preprint) found that a mask requirement was of no benefit and could even increase the risk of infection. (Source)
  5. An April 2020 review by two US professors in respiratory and infectious disease from the University of Illinois concluded that face masks have no effect in everyday life, neither as self-protection nor to protect third parties (so-called source control). (Source)
  6. An article in the New England Journal of Medicine from May 2020 came to the conclusion that cloth face masks offer little to no protection in everyday life. (Source)
  7. An April 2020 Cochrane review (preprint) found that face masks didn’t reduce influenza-like illness (ILI) cases, neither in the general population nor in health care workers. (Source)
  8. An April 2020 review by the Norwich School of Medicine (preprint) found that “the evidence is not sufficiently strong to support widespread use of facemasks”, but supports the use of masks by “particularly vulnerable individuals when in transient higher risk situations.” (Source)
  9. A 2015 study in the British Medical Journal BMJ Open found that cloth masks were penetrated by 97% of particles and may increase infection risk by retaining moisture or repeated use. (Source)
  10. An August 2020 review by a German professorin virology, epidemiology and hygiene found that there is no evidence for the effectiveness of cloth face masks and that the improper daily use of masks by the public may in fact lead to an increase in infections. (Source)
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