Facemasks unmasked: a review of the science, not the scare tactics

Facemasks unmasked: a review of the science, not the scare tactics

Image: Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading proponent of government mandates for facemarks during the Chinese Coronavirus panic and the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, chose not to wear a face mask or to engage in social distancing at the New York Yankees – Washington Nationals Opening Day game on Thursday, July 23, 2020. (Do as I say, not as I do, Dr. F?)

Washington, D.C., Austin, and Conroe, July 28 – Rather than facing the Chinese Coronavirus with intelligence and sensitivity, politicians locally, in states, and nationally sought a rapid response to make themselves look like strong leaders. Unfortunately, their response was precisely the wrong approach epidemiologically.

According to Dr. Knut Wittkowski, the Rockefeller University epidemiologist who had served as Chairman of that university’s Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, the United States and particularly its fifty states made some fundamental mistakes in responding to the COVID-19 disease. Wittkowski made clear that Americans will pay a high price for the failure of politicians to permit the development of herd immunity, which may not have “flattened the curve” at the beginning of the scare but would have shortened its impact enormously. “As with every respiratory disease, we should protect the elderly and fragile because when they get pneumonia, they have a high risk of dying of the pneumonia. So that is one of the key issues that we should keep in mind. On the other hand, children do very well with these diseases. They’re evolutionarily designed to be exposed to all sorts of viruses during their lifetime, and so they should keep going to school and infecting each other. Then, that contributes to herd immunity, which means after about four weeks at the most, the elderly people could start joining their family because then the virus would have been extinguished.”

When asked if containment, as the first round of government mandates, closures, and unemployment sought to achieve, would actually prolong the duration of the virus, Dr. Wittkowski responded, “With all respiratory diseases, the only thing that stops the disease is herd immunity. About 80% of the people need to have had contact with the virus, and the majority of them won’t even have recognized that they were infected, or they had very, very mild symptoms, especially if they are children. So, it’s very important to keep the schools open and kids mingling to spread the virus to get herd immunity as fast as possible, and then the elderly people, who should be separated, and the nursing homes should be closed during that time, can come back and meet their children and grandchildren after about 4 weeks when the virus has been exterminated.”

Round Two – facemarks – is even worse

After politicians, such as Texas’ Governor Greg Abbott, gleefully announced that they had contained the spread of Chinese Coronavirus with their swift actions, something horrible happened: a second wave of the disease came to the fore. In response, Governor Abbott ordered the wearing of facemarks statewide throughout Texas.

Many law enforcement officers had had enough of the Governor’s and local officials’ mandates without any legislative authority as well as the clear and substantive violations of the Constitution which arose from orders prohibiting church worship, business operations, or peaceful assemblies in public. Sheriff Rand Henderson of Montgomery County, Texas, made clear he had no intention of enforcing the mandatory facemask order and neither did Precinct 2 Montgomery County Constable Gene DeForest.

Now, the number of cases of Chinese Coronavirus is increasing exponentially, despite the order to wear facemasks and despite the numerous private businesses who require their employees and customers to wear them.

The question arises: do facemask really work? The clear scientific answer is “no.”

Despite the scare tactics of pro-government-mandate advocates, such as Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, who has urged governments to mandate the wearing of facemasks and urged every American to wear them voluntarily otherwise, an enormous number of peer-reviewed scientific studies have revealed that facemasks simply don’t work.

Why don’t they work? Most of the articles seem to indicate that no masks, unless they’re ones which suffocate the wearers, stop aerosol droplets with Chinese Coronavirus on them from getting through into the air around a sick individual.

Here’s a sample of the peer-reviewed scientific studies, thanks to the efforts of public health expert Virginia Young (who holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biomedical Science and a Master of Science Degree from Texas A&M University) and others:

  • Jacobs, J. L. et al. (2009) “Use of surgical face masks to reduce the incidence of the common cold among health care workers in Japan: A randomized controlled trial,” American Journal of Infection Control, Volume 37, Issue 5, 417 – 419.N95-masked health-care workers (HCW) were significantly more likely to experience headaches. Face mask use in HCW was not demonstrated to provide benefit in terms of cold symptoms or getting colds.
  • Cowling, B. et al. (2010) “Face masks to prevent transmission of influenza virus: A systematic review,” Epidemiology and Infection, 138(4), 449-456. DOI:10.1017/S0950268809991658None of the studies reviewed showed the benefit of wearing a mask in either HCW or community members in households (H). See summary Tables 1 and 2 therein.
  • bin-Reza et al. (2012), “The use of masks and respirators to prevent transmission of influenza: a systematic review of the scientific evidence,” Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 6(4), 257-267. “There were 17 eligible studies. […] None of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask/respirator use and protection against influenza infection.”
  • Smith, J.D. et al. (2016) “Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks in protecting health care workers from acute respiratory infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis”, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Mar 2016, cmaj.150835; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.150835, “We identified 6 clinical studies … In the meta-analysis of the clinical studies, we found no significant difference between N95 respirators and surgical masks in the associated risk of (a) laboratory-confirmed respiratory infection, (b) influenza-like illness, or (c) reported work-place absenteeism.”
  • Offeddu, V. et al. (2017) “Effectiveness of Masks and Respirators Against Respiratory Infections in Healthcare Workers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 65, Issue 11, 1 December 2017, Pages 1934-1942, https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix681.
  • Radonovich, L.J. et al. (2019) “N95 Respirators vs. Medical Masks for Preventing Influenza Among Health Care Personnel: A Randomized Clinical Trial”, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2019; 322(9): 824-833. DOI:10.1001/jama.2019.11645. “Among 2862 randomized participants, 2371, completed the study and accounted for 5180 HCW-seasons. … Among outpatient health care personnel, N95 respirators vs. medical masks as worn by participants in this trial resulted in no significant difference in the incidence of laboratory-confirmed influenza.”
  • Long, Y. et al. (2020) “Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks against influenza: A systematic review and meta-analysis”, Journal of Evidence Based Medicine 2020; 1- 9. https://doi.org/10.1111/jebm.12381. “No RCT [randomized controlled trial] study with verified outcome shows a benefit for HCW or community members in households to wearing a mask or respirator. There is no such study. There are no exceptions. Likewise, no study exists that shows a benefit from a broad policy to wear masks in public.”

Additionally, here are links to other peer-reviewed articles in addition to those highlighted above. You should note that many of the links are to articles from the National Institutes of Health as well as the American Medical Association, two premier research institutions in the United States.

https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/4/e006577.full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4420971/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18500410/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15340662/

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00173017

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18331781/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-357973

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31479137/

https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/4/e006577#T1

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21477136/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28039289/

https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/4/e006577.long

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20584862/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22188875/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31479137/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27531371/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29855107/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29678452/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25806411/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23108786/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25858901/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/5333967/

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article…

https://academic.oup.com/annweh/article/54/7/789/202744

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27531371/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0843-2

https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=276231940292992&ref=watch_permalinkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0t84p6H4XAhttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19216002/

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection/article/face-masks-to-prevent-transmission-of-influenza-virus-a-systematic-review/64D368496EBDE0AFCC6639CCC9D8BC05https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1750-2659.2011.00307.x

https://www.cmaj.ca/content/188/8/567https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/65/11/1934/4068747

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2749214

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/jebm.12381http://www.medtau.org/ice-ccm/pandemic/N95.pdf

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/disaster-medicine-and-public-health-preparedness/article/testing-the-efficacy-of-homemade-masks-would-they-protect-in-an-influenza-pandemic/0921A05A69A9419C862FA2F35F819D55https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/11/3/494/397025

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsif.2011.0537

https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-12-106

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsif.2010.0686https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12560-011-9056-7.

 

 

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