COVID Censorship at ResearchGate: Facts about Face Coverings Covered Up?

Guest post by Robert Kernodle

A Website that Makes Research Open to All?

My title has a question mark in it, and my first heading has a question mark in it. The question mark in the title means that there might be a question about whether censorship is actually taking place, while the second question mark means that there is definitely a question about the legitimacy of a mission-statement claim. A resolution of the second question mark would get rid of the first question mark, but I’ll leave that resolution up to readers.

For readers who might not know, ResearchGate is a website that has established a professional network for scientists and researchers (with over 17 million members from all over the world) to share their publications, publish their data, and discuss their research. According to its terms of service, ResearchGate’s mission is to connect the world of science and make research open to all.

You can check out the full terms of service here:

The First Question

Has unreasonable censorship taken place?

On June 3, 2020, ResearchGate removed an article by Physicist, Denis Rancourt, titled Masks Don’t Work: A Review of Science Relevant to COVID-19 Social Policy

Denis Rancourt has a PhD in Physics (1984, University of Toronto), is a former tenured Full Professor (University of Ottawa), and has published over one hundred articles in leading science journals (You can easily look up his credentials for yourself, if you don’t trust me).

ResearchGate’s notice of content removal to Rancourt stated, … our terms of service prohibit the posting of non-scientific content on the platform.

Rancourt’s own full expose’ of this editorial action is here:

Since Rancourt’s article in question was banished from its original place of publication, I had to dig a bit to find a copy, since all links to that location now land on a generic page endorsing ResearchGate as a place to … make research open to all. [implied eye roll]

To save you the trouble of searching for it, I have loaded a copy to my DropBox here:

I have read Rancourt’s expose’, I have read his original article that was removed, and I have read the terms of service referenced by those who did the removing.  Based on all this, I have made my judgment about the actions taken in this case, which leads to …

The Second Question

Does an organization that claims to … make research open to all … adhere to this mission statement, when it removes content by a well-credentialed scientist, who carefully backs his words with known scientific facts linked to clearly displayed and linked citations?– an organization whose terms of service make no requirement of formal peer review?  — an organization that seemingly exercises editorial power based soley on the way things are being done, rather than on the scientific basis of this way, which is the very foundation of its mission statement?

Again, I’ll let readers judge and answer this question for themselves.

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M Courtney
June 13, 2020 2:12 am

The quoted reason was “our terms of service prohibit the posting of non-scientific content on the platform.”

That could be an editorial line that prevents political issues appearing on the platform. And policy advice on COVD19 is clearly political.

This very website shows the damage that can befall a platform if politics and science are allowed to mix.
As does the IPCC.

Reply to  M Courtney
June 13, 2020 4:04 am

Politics of Covid lock-downs is disputed, contradicted etc, but has it a scientific base?
Governments have ‘introduced’ a constraint on a natural process of on the Covid19 infection wave. Looking at another constrained system subjected to an outbreak propagating to neighbouring contacts (in this case Solar Granules magnetic activity), it can be seen a similar natural course of the time function development.

Jeremiah Puckett
Reply to  Vuk
June 13, 2020 7:38 am

Of course it has a scientific basis. Statistical studies ARE science. When someone states they don’t believe the house arrest of entire states and countries work, they are looking at the statistics and any correlations that can be drawn. Fortunately we have states that shut down and others that didn’t, countries that did and didn’t. We have states that opened early and those that are pretty much still shut down. Personally, I find no correlation that shutdowns worked and weak correlation that masks work. Actually, going deeper into the masks, the Mayo Clinic has an article that says these masks are worthless and state that you still need to social distance if wearing these worthless masks. Well, if I can social distance, I’m not wearing a mask. Truth be told, I haven’t worn a mask at all. Maybe a minute or two total. South Dakota never shut down. Even here in the Black Hills, NO ONE is wearing a mask among the tourists. Some employees are wearing masks, not all. Many of the employees who are wearing masks aren’t wearing them properly and I watch them constantly adjust them and touch their faces so they can talk through or around them. No problems with infections here. No problems in the states where most of these tourists come from (CO, MN, KS, UT). Where there are problems, like Florida, what’s the full story on that? Massively increased testing will result in more cases. Or is it something else? We don’t see correlation in other places that have opened up, like Colorado and Kansas. Anyway, there’s a reason we have N95 and N100 and there is no real substitute.

Reply to  Jeremiah Puckett
June 13, 2020 9:09 am

States like Florida reporting an uptick in cases are people going into hospital for medical procedures that had been delayed. Some of these are testing positive with light or no symptoms then added to the numbers. Case rate increase because of above but death rate declining.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  nc
June 13, 2020 12:07 pm

“States like Florida reporting an uptick in cases are people going into hospital for medical procedures that had been delayed.”

Good point. Another thing to take into consideration.

Reply to  nc
June 13, 2020 3:32 pm

nc Unfortunately we’ve seen an increased clogging of ERs in the Houston area this past week. Because of the time lag, we won’t know for at least another 2-3 weeks if this increase in infection will lead to an increase in death rate. The lag may be even longer this time because many of these recent infections are in the younger age groups.

Jeremiah Puckett
Reply to  M Courtney
June 13, 2020 7:22 am

I think people forget what “science” is. Science is simply a systematic study of something. So, what exactly is “non-science” to them? Simply sitting at a stoplight and noticing how many trucks vs cars are at the intersection is the beginning of a scientific question “What do people prefer in this region and does it change if I go to the next town.”

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Jeremiah Puckett
June 13, 2020 10:38 am

Read and understand The Logic of Scientific Discovery by Karl Popper, and of Popper’s falsificationism. Falsifiability is the demarcation between science and non-science.

Yes, it is an ‘-ism’ but one must begin somewhere.

I happen to particularly appreciate The Science of Comjecture: Evidence and Probability Before Pascal by James Franklin.

Dodgy Geezer
Reply to  Jeremiah Puckett
June 13, 2020 10:40 am

This is what you get when you have ‘professional’ scientists.

They will then do whatever is necessary to keep the money coming in. Where does Researchgate get it’s money?

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
June 13, 2020 8:33 pm

There subscriptions money from universities and libraries etc to be able to read the articles. Hence the payrolls.

Some journals charge to publish. Publishing houses offer at least some of their content free. The Russians think all publications should be freely accessible so there is a website called where you can access any paywalled article by entering the DOI number and read it. Don’t keep copies, that is a violation of copyright.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
June 13, 2020 10:48 pm

If your desire is to stay within the law, don’t access them at all. Circumventing a paywall is an illegal act, including whatever this website does, as the Russian Federation is signatory to the Berne Convention. Knowingly benefiting from an illegal act, even if you did not perform that act yourself, makes you equally culpable. (Even lack of knowledge would probably not save you; the “reasonable person” standard would be applicable.)

The only thing that would keep the lawyers of, say, Elsevier from cleaning out your bank accounts would be that you are a “small fish.” But there is nothing preventing them from deciding to make a “chilling example” of you, either (cf. the music “sharing” users of several years ago).

A C Osborn
June 13, 2020 2:19 am

I don’t know if it is censorship, but I question his paper.
Tell all the Asian Countries, Czechia and every single Medical Professional that rely on masks that they don’t work and to throw them away.
I mention Czechia because it is the only European country to use home made face masks with no lockdown from almost the beginning of their epidemic. Look at their performance compared to Sweden to see for yourself if they had any affect or not.
They may not work 100% of the time, but anything that reduces Viral Load is a benefit.

Reply to  A C Osborn
June 13, 2020 3:04 am

But Fauci said masks didn’t work on 60 minutes. It is odd.

Dr. John H
Reply to  Derg
June 13, 2020 2:23 pm

Here is the link where Fauci says face masks are useless (43 seconds) from a “60 Minutes” episode in March:

He changed his mind for political and financial reasons, not scientific ones.

F.LEGHORN in Alabama
Reply to  Dr. John H
June 13, 2020 5:38 pm

A mask, to something as small as a virus, is akin to a chain-link fence to a mosquito. It won’t stop them.

But it “feels responsible”.

Reply to  A C Osborn
June 13, 2020 5:26 am

There are masks and then there are masks. Homemade masks made out of cotton cloth with large gaps between the mask and the face will reduce, not stop, droplets from a sneeze or cough but allow almost all the aerosols to go through it. Commercial disposable masks let through most of the aerosols breathed out or in as well. You really have to get well into the high end surgical and N-95 masks to reduce aerosol transmission and even they aren’t 100% effective against this virus.

Then you have people pulling the mask down under the nose where it just covers the mouth (my CostCo checkout employee). And when you breathe in and out the mask gets wet and accumulates the virus on the surface of the mask. Take the mask off the wrong way, rub your eyes with your unwashed hands and you put a concentrated solution of CV-19 in your eyes.

Think about walking behind an infected person with a disposable mask on at a store. Every breath out puts a cloud of aerosols around their head that will stay there for a bit. As you walk behind them you breathe in the aerosol and a lot of it goes right through your mask.

The best thing you can do is keep distance and be in a larger ventilated space, mask or no mask, and get as healthy as you can.

Jeremiah Puckett
Reply to  rbabcock
June 13, 2020 7:41 am

Hahaha. No an N95 mask isn’t 100% effective. That’s why it’s called an N95 mask. Designed to stop 95% of small droplets.

Reply to  rbabcock
June 13, 2020 7:49 am

ANY nose and mouth covering prevents the droplets to fly meters away when you cough or even simply speak.
If everyone dons a mask, the epidemy dies very fast.
It is that simple.

Reply to  Alex
June 13, 2020 8:41 am

It might look that simple, but I do not think that it is.

What happens to the big droplets that hit the holes of a simple mask? The drop spans the pore, and its form (as a drop that big) is inhibited, yes, but then what? What happens when the pressure of successive breaths push on that drop? — will it disperse through the pore into smaller droplets? — and will those smaller droplets move outward successively, building up, perhaps, an agglomeration of virus-laden moisture on the outside of the mask, which then could get sling shot off that surface by breathing pressure to enter the air once again?

Why should we think that the drops just magically stay put? Why should we think that fluid dynamics operates one way on one side of the mask and another way on the other side of the mask?

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 13, 2020 10:09 am

Oh, pish tush! Sounds like the argument that air with exhaled smoke is as bad as inhaled smoke. Anything that impedes the spread of those “deadly droplets” is significant if, and only if, they are truly deadly. Had we been facing 2.2 million probable US deaths, anything would help; with a likely 150,000 deaths, meh! As for mask contamination, expose your mask, hands and face to a few minutes of outside air and sunshine and the virus is gone.

Please don’t try to convince surgeons and nurses that masks in the OR are worthless.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 13, 2020 11:34 am

If you want a 100% safety from the virus, build a bunker on the Moon.
The virus has R0=3.
This means, a guard that is 70% efficient will stop the epidemy.
When you and an infectious person both don a mask, the risk for you to be infected is well below 10%.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Alex
June 13, 2020 6:31 pm

It depends on the material the mask is made from. It could just act as a screen and break the big droplets up into smaller ones which will stay suspended in the air longer than the big droplet. The best study so far designed to answer this question reported only a 10% reduction in the amount of virus transmitted when a surgical mask is used – and even that result was within the margin of error. So if masks make a difference, it is small. Homemade cloth masks and bandanas draped over the lower part of the face probably have zero effectiveness.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Alex
June 13, 2020 9:07 pm

I see you understand how masks work – they stop aerosols coming out.

So if you have Wuhan and cough the viral goodness is – partly – trapped on your mask.

If you don’t have Wuhan you are not trapping viral aerosols spreading when you talk/breathe/sneeze because you don’t have it. If I close my front door it doesn’t stop my dog escaping because I don’t own a dog.

The problem is first Wuhan is considered to be airborne, not aerosol, and airborne is going to pass through a properly fitted mask like rice through a tennis racket. So if you are in a virus hotspot – for want of a better term – your mask may actually be making things worse because the restrictive nature is making you breath deeper and sucking in air from a greater distance through those massive air gaps around your nose.

Recapping, yes they do ‘mask’ outgoing but if you have anything that needs masking you shouldn’t be in public in the first place.

Masks are not filters. They make you feel better and give people the false idea they are now ‘safe to maintain an extended social circle (aka strangers). A closed social circle will trump masks any day, but of course we have As Far As Is Reasonably Practical. This is the real world, not a text book after all.

Reply to  Craig from Oz
June 13, 2020 11:24 pm

Does your dœg bite?

Reply to  rbabcock
June 13, 2020 11:31 am

“Take the mask off the wrong way, rub your eyes with your unwashed hands and you put a concentrated solution of CV-19 in your eyes.”

On the other hand if there is virus on your mask it means that those virions would have been in your lungs without the mask. Is that really preferable?

By the way, it takes about 10 seconds to learn how to take off a mask safely.

Kostantínos Pappás
Reply to  A C Osborn
June 13, 2020 6:05 am

This is false.
Czechia had lockdown.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Kostantínos Pappás
June 13, 2020 8:19 am

Not according to Wikipedia, they closed shops & schools, but no mention of closing Industry as in the UK.
“Czech restriction actions:/ Day0: Schools closed / Day2: State of Emergency: close of sport facilities&close restaurants&bars at 8pm, border control, travel restrictions, ban 30+events /Day3: Criminalize spreading virus on purpose/Day4: Complete closure all shops restaurants&bars ex:food shops, petrol, pharmacies/Day5: Nationwide quarantine ex: shopping, employment need/ Day6: Borders closed&closure municipalities in Olomouc region/ Day8: Mandatory nose&mouth cover/ Day9: Special 7–9 shop-opening hours for seniors/ Day10: Changed special 8–10 shop-opening hours for seniors. ”

Sorry if they and I are incorrect.

Patrick B
Reply to  A C Osborn
June 13, 2020 9:45 am

“According to Wikipedia…”.

You just lost any credibility you hoped to have on this or any other topic.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Patrick B
June 13, 2020 10:59 am

I suggest that you take a look at Wikipedia’s COVID-19 Pandemic pages for each country.
They are the most comprehensive of any on the web.
So scoff as much as you like.

Reply to  Patrick B
June 13, 2020 2:16 pm

A quick search of “lockdown czechia” reveals dozens of articles talking about Czechia moving to ease lockdown restrictions in April. Reading those articles one finds a description that Czechia was one of the earliest countries in Europe to go into lockdown on March 12.

Reply to  Patrick B
June 13, 2020 9:08 pm

While I’m certainly no fan of wikipedia who have a well earned reputation for blatant political nonsense on climate and other issues you can’t write it all off. I do use it for some things but you must always use an independent second source to verify.

Don’t be so hard on people. Chill 🙂

Konstantínos Pappás
Reply to  A C Osborn
June 13, 2020 10:53 pm

Mate, you were wrong.
Let’s move on.
Clever people admit their mistakes and move on.

Reply to  A C Osborn
June 13, 2020 11:28 pm

Wankerpedia is a poor source for anything political, exhibiting significant leftward bias. Covid-19 is highly political in its origins and policies.

Reply to  A C Osborn
June 13, 2020 8:32 am

@ A C Osborn,

The fact that all the Asian countries have developed a tradition of wearing masks merely is a fact of tradition — a huge number of people doing what seems to make sense, but that is truly NOT proven.

As for every single medical professional, well, they are doing so much more than ONLY masks — they follow other protocols to control contamination, and it could well be that these other protocols collectively are the cause of their success in avoiding the amount of contamination that they do.

Similarly looking at only face masks for a given country and comparing this country to another country overlooks so many specific possible factors that could cause differences from one country to another. This is classic comparison of apples to oranges, as I see it. It’s not nearly so simple as that, as I understand things.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 13, 2020 11:07 am

Yes, I know about tradition.
I also know that they have performed better than any major European Country because they have experience in handling Pandemics.
The Head of the South Korean Pandemic Committee says that Masks, gloves & Glasses are essential.
So who to believe, you and this Physics guy or the guy that has 3 pandemics under his belt.
Sorry but NO CONTEST.
I suggest that you watch his video where he explains it.

Konstantínos Pappás
Reply to  A C Osborn
June 14, 2020 12:54 am

Japanese and Koreans are peoples whose culture is majorly collectivistic.
The advantage of collectivistic societies is that dumb people learn to follow the rules from a young age.
Western societies are majorly individualistic.
Their disadvantage is that dumb people do not learn to follow the rules from a young age.

Masks without proper use are not significantly effective.
About 10% of the US adult population has an IQ less than 80. Those people cannot learn to use masks properly. They have to be taught to abide by the rules from a young age and Western societies do not do that. We teach kids of all IQs that freedom of choice is the norm.
What’s the advantage?
The advantage is that intelligent people thrive in Western societies.

Weylan McAnally
Reply to  Konstantínos Pappás
June 15, 2020 1:37 pm

Spot on about Eastern cultures being collectivistic and Western cultures being individualistic. The difference leads to fundamental misunderstandings of morality and culture between east and west.

June 13, 2020 2:23 am

As always, it’s still about “follow the money”.
Somebody didn’t like the lack of money in Rancourt’s arguments

June 13, 2020 2:24 am

Masks only work for medical staff because only they know how to properly use them.

Reply to  Hans Erren
June 13, 2020 2:31 am

Are you sure?
My wife who works in aged care, has noticed several doctors who wear full PPE but then visit multiple residents. CRAZY. They won’t get covid, but will surely help spread it.

Reply to  Waza
June 13, 2020 3:52 am

I meant to say: masks don’t work for non-medical staff because these people don’t know how to use them properly.

And as for your example:even my dentist knows that you must not wear the same mask on multiple patient sessions.
What was he thinking: Cost reduction? Hassle of changing gear?.

Reply to  Hans Erren
June 13, 2020 5:48 am

People who professionally wear masks (and it’s not only in health care) stated that they always are checked by a specialist, whether the masks is put on in the right way. Otherwise it’s definitely useless.
In my eyes these masks are only forced upon the people to remind them of Corona and to thus keep the fear alive. A fear needed to supress the people and to lower the resistance against the vaccination. The vaccination that will flush billions into the pockets of Bill Gates and will bring him nearer to his aim to kill 90% of the world’s population.
BTW, Dr. Fauci would participate in the profit too.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Hans Erren
June 13, 2020 6:37 am

It is the “appearance of compliance” mentality, which always arises when regulations are imposed where those impacted do not accept the requirement as necessary or reasonable. The objective becomes avoidance of being detected and penalized, rather than whatever the original intent was in imposing the regulation.

When there’s a speed limit, people violate it routinely and comprehensively until they see police doing a control.

If a business is audited and there’s a finding that they are transferring sensitive data without encryption, users encrypt their files and email them out with the password in the same message.

Reply to  Hans Erren
June 13, 2020 3:09 am

Surgical masks protect the environment from the wearer, that is why they’re worn in operating theatres to reduce the risk of infection to the patient.
Based on U.K. protocols in primary care:
We change them after 4 hours regardless OR they become damp OR we remove them to eat/drink in the meantime. We change gloves and aprons between patients.
In secondary care:
ITU staff wear the N95 individually fitted masks and visors because of the risk from patients who are intubated.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Ignoramus
June 13, 2020 6:41 pm

You are correct, however I’d like to point out that surgical masks are designed to block bacteria from the mouths of the surgeons and nurses from getting into the patient. They are not effective in blocking viruses.

Robert Austin
Reply to  Hans Erren
June 13, 2020 9:07 am

Masks work for bacteria but not viruses. Just because mask wearing it is common practice in medicine does not mean mask wearing is efficacious in hampering the transmission of virus particles. Medicine has its voodoo component and is known to embrace the placebo effect. Put on the white gown and mask with the ubiquitous stethoscope draped around the neck and inspire confidence in the patient. The problem with pushing the use of masks is that it inspires false confidence so one feels safe to board that public transit or crowd together at the latest protest. But never mind, we are merely stretching out the infection period, not reducing infections one iota. A vaccine is still over the horizon so 80% to 90% of us will still have to run the COVID gauntlet before we can put this virus behind us.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Robert Austin
June 13, 2020 11:08 am

So you know more than the Head of of the South Korean Pandemic Committee.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  A C Osborn
June 13, 2020 6:47 pm

Your appeals to authority are unconvincing. Even smart people make mistakes and have biases. The best studies to date don’t show a significant reduction in virus transmission from wearing surgical masks. No surprise there, since they aren’t designed to do that.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Paul Penrose
June 16, 2020 9:45 am

I will repeat it.
You know more than the Head of of the South Korean Pandemic Committee.
Who happens to also be Professor of Medicine.
Did you bother to watch his video I posted?
No I thought not.

You belive what you want to believe and I will believe what I want and act on it.

June 13, 2020 2:25 am

Censorship in 2020
BBC recently removed faulty towers “ the Germans” episode because of racial slurs.
What’s next , Dave Allen or Benny hill?

Rod Evans
Reply to  Waza
June 13, 2020 3:22 am

They have long ago been banned by the BBC

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Waza
June 13, 2020 4:28 am

“Waza June 13, 2020 at 2:25 am

Dave Allen or Benny hill?”

Dave Allen, brilliant. Benny Hill, his humour became too “old” by the mid 80’s. When the BBC didn’t renew his contract a few years later he was found dead in his Croydon flat in the 90’s.

Reply to  Waza
June 13, 2020 12:12 pm

What about Alf Garnett in Till Death us do Part? Can lefties handle satire?
The Woke Taliban cometh or is it a rerun of Kristallnacht and the book burners?

Themis Diakos
June 13, 2020 2:38 am

In their email, they clearly state what is wrong:

«… we reserve the right to remove it …if the report goes against recommandations of credible agencies or governments»

Ultimately, if any scientific report wants to “go against recommendations” then it has to fit the ReasearchGate editorial beliefs. If not, then it is removed. Simple.

Reply to  Themis Diakos
June 13, 2020 3:07 am

Do you think kind of censorship held us back from curing ulcers?

Themis Diakos
Reply to  Derg
June 13, 2020 8:00 am

I think that when propagandists are leading scientific media, anything becomes possible.

Reply to  Themis Diakos
June 13, 2020 4:57 am

This is really putting things backward.

We removed the study because it did not match what some government decided should be policy.

Rich Davis
Reply to  TheLastDemocrat
June 13, 2020 6:42 am

Because we must have policies that are consistent with “The Science!”, or is that science that’s consistent with the policies?

Reply to  Themis Diakos
June 13, 2020 8:47 am

Ultimately, if any scientific report wants to “go against recommendations” then it has to fit the ReasearchGate editorial beliefs. If not, then it is removed. Simple.


That’s not the “science” that ResearchGate’s mission statement claims to endorse. Hence, censorship.

Themis Diakos
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 13, 2020 9:36 am

I agree.

Reply to  Themis Diakos
June 13, 2020 11:37 pm

There are no credible agencies or governments. Virtually all of them have been bought. Dr. Falcie fooled Pres. Trump.

Coeur de Lion
June 13, 2020 2:43 am

Willis Eschenbach suggested some time back that the Japanese low Covid numbers were due to their culture of facemasks already in place.

Reply to  Coeur de Lion
June 13, 2020 3:54 am

No it is their natural isolation, just like South Korea.

Reply to  Hans Erren
June 13, 2020 11:35 am

Just like Hongkong. Very isolated place yes?

Reply to  Coeur de Lion
June 13, 2020 5:53 am

Also maybe the low numbers are because they don’t include nearly every death into the Covid numbers.

Richard Percifield
Reply to  Malon
June 13, 2020 9:27 am

They also have studies showing a significant number of people infected but were asymptomatic. This study in Kobe is one example:

This is significant in that they are confirming what has already been known to the data driven examiners, asymptomatic cases are a large part of the total infected population. Unfortunately, when you only look at models, data that is contrary is never seen.

Reply to  Coeur de Lion
June 13, 2020 8:52 am

Willis Eschenbach suggested some time back that the Japanese low Covid numbers were due to their culture of facemasks already in place.

Yes, I know that Willis is a believer in the effectiveness of masks, but, as I have said earlier, I do not believe that looking at masks alone, in relation to a certain outcome, is sufficient to eliminate other factors that might be the true underlying factors causing observed differences. Obviously, I differ with Willis on this.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 13, 2020 11:10 am

Yes and those country’s medical professionals.
Of course it is not “just masks”, it is their experience of pandemics that counts.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 13, 2020 6:56 pm

The Japanese are also obsessive hand washers and tend to avoid personal contact with others (like hand shaking and hugging). This may have more to do with their results than face mask wearing. Just looking at high level raw numbers can’t shed light on any of this, so for the moment we are all left guessing – including the “experts”.

Reply to  Ron
June 13, 2020 3:27 am

“ Although the filtration efficiencies for various fabrics when a single layer was used ranged from 5 to 80% and 5 to 95% for particle sizes of 300 nm, ”

That is quite a range of “efficiencies.”

Reply to  Derg
June 13, 2020 4:56 am

Read table 1. You can use masks wrong and you can use the wrong material for a mask. That should be a no-brainer.

Cotton quilt has already 96% if worn correctly where natural silk has only 54%. That is not very surprising to be honest. Common sense.

Reply to  Ron
June 13, 2020 5:37 am

It depends on how tightly it is woven…my guess is homemade masks are worthless except against droplets.

Reply to  Derg
June 13, 2020 5:55 am

Could you please do me a favor and read the article before you guess any further?

Reply to  Derg
June 13, 2020 11:32 am

I did. You wrote masks work and I said it depends.

It’s not hard. Crappy masks which most people wear and certainly do not clean may work or may not.

Reply to  Derg
June 13, 2020 6:36 pm

You just proved that you did not read the article. Or worse, that you did not understand it.

Reply to  Derg
June 13, 2020 5:39 am

Key point is that viruses are all smaller than 300 nm. Covid will go straight through. The only part that they protect against is touching your face after picking up infectious particles.

Reply to  Hivemind
June 13, 2020 5:53 am

The droplets on which they are traveling are not. Viruses without water are dysfunctional.

Reply to  Ron
June 13, 2020 6:29 am

I have to specify in case a nitpicker comes around: coronaviruses without water are irreversibly inactivated from all we know.

A C Osborn
Reply to  Ron
June 13, 2020 8:29 am

Anybody who has made a bed with 400+ threadcount cotton sheets knows that even air slows right down passing through it. 3 layers of 1000 thread count cotton with alternating weave direction would make a very good mask for shopping etc.
Provided it is correctly shaped with a nose pinch and handled correctly after use it is far better than nothing at all where everybody gives and gets a full viral load.

Reply to  Hivemind
June 13, 2020 5:55 am

Fewer viruses will pass the mask, if you stop breathing 😉

Reply to  Ron
June 13, 2020 7:07 am

Having accidentally sneezed on my computer screen a time or two, I can see that masks would be very effective at stopping one of the primary methods of surface contamination, if people with coughs and sneezes, and probably excessive speaking spatter would wear them.

Peter Stevenson
Reply to  DMacKenzie
June 14, 2020 12:06 am

But surely better to use a handkerchief rather than a mask ?

Reply to  Ron
June 13, 2020 9:13 am


I have read both of those studies previously, and, as seems to be the case with all such studies, they rely on assessments made in pristine lab conditions that merely gauge the blocking characteristics of fabrics under limited exposure in ideal settings. These studies, as with others that I have read, are also peppered with frequent uncertain language about limited studies, limited knowledge, and so forth.

Furthermore, the conclusions seem closer to statements of faith, erring on the side of hope, rather than on the side of observations in real-life situations.

The thing I seem to miss in all such studies is an honest discussion of human behavior. People simply are not compliant in proper care and handling over long periods of time, in circumstances where reflexes operate more dominantly than conscious thought. People accustomed to a normal work flow, under normal circumstances have developed a feel for how their bodies are operating, and that feel does NOT involve having an obstruction over their faces that subtly interferes with normal work flow and functioning.

People scratch, touch, adjust, and move reflexively, as a result of hours upon hours of ingrained bodily mechanics that cannot be magically changed with a simple dictate. People also revert to their comfort level, once the power that polices them is out of view. This, I believe, is why I see so many people with masks under their noses or worn under their necks half the time. You cannot simply ignore this aspect of human existence and pretend that limited, pristine lab assessments of material porosity performance is all that determines whether masks work or not.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 13, 2020 6:40 pm

you can just disregard any compliant behavior because it is just to hard for people to follow if you wish.

That applies for murder as well.

Do we do that?

June 13, 2020 2:50 am

Jeez thats a load of shit

here is what the author argues

‘Why There Can Never Be an Empirical Test of a Nation-Wide Mask-Wearing”

In other words— there can never be an emprical test telling you one way or the other about masks.

Finds foot, shoots!

told you dummies back in Feb what to do. wash your hands, wear a mask, get a vitamin D shot.

Ron Long
Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 13, 2020 3:01 am


Richard (the cynical one)
Reply to  Ron Long
June 13, 2020 5:41 am

I guess when Mr Mosher called us all ‘dummies’ he let his mask slip. Now we know how he really feels about his inferiors.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Richard (the cynical one)
June 13, 2020 7:57 am

Which does a lot to explain his terse ‘drive by’ remarks. We are barely worth his time.

Juan Slayton
Reply to  Ron Long
June 13, 2020 6:01 am

Now I know why I find all those “…for Dummies” books so useful.
: >)

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Ron Long
June 13, 2020 8:17 am

Mosher, ….. the “dummies” dummy.

Steven Mosher – June 13, 2020 at 2:50 am

In other words— there can never be an emprical test telling you one way or the other about masks.

“No feces”, …. Mosher, ….. if there was anyone that would know that, then it would be you, simply because even I know that lefty liberal Democrat touting socialists have a propensity for “cheating” on just about everything they get involved with. Me thinks it’s their “nurtured nature”.

Mosher, ….. masks didn’t work ……. at a Federal Prison in Gilmer County, WV, …. when they transported six (6) Covoid-19 infected prisoners from an out-of-State prison to that facility near Glenville.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Ron Long
June 13, 2020 7:10 pm

It must be difficult for Mosher to be surrounded by people that don’t recognize his genius. I almost feel sorry for him.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 13, 2020 3:08 am

For once I agree with you, especially on the vit D and hand hygiene

Paul C
Reply to  sunderlandsteve
June 13, 2020 4:30 am

You Mackem’s get everywhere! Half my current staff (furloughed) here on Teesside are originally from Sunderland. I agree on the personal protections, but would just add the engineering alleviations of the problem, namely ventillation to reduce the potential virus loading of indoor air, and copper applied to multiple contact surfaces (handles, buttons, letterboxes) – slug tape is self-adhesive copper foil, and possibly UV-C sterilisation of air and/or surfaces.

Reply to  Paul C
June 13, 2020 5:09 am

Copper? Yep. Brass is a copper alloy.

Reply to  commieBob
June 13, 2020 5:41 am

Your comment is awaiting moderation.


The URL of the website I linked has the k word. LOL

Reply to  sunderlandsteve
June 13, 2020 5:59 am

Oh, you can’t allow people to learn Vit. C, D and Magnesium will protect them! Not only could they manage to stay free of Covid (and extreme fears), but the less dumb of them could conclude that stuff like this would help them against the most other diseases too.

And you don’t want the health industry to loose a penny, do you?

Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 13, 2020 3:10 am

Awe Stephen but you are so smart that you have moved on to contact tracing. Genius level 3 type stuff. Us deplorables get a mask.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 13, 2020 3:20 am

Interesting. Throughout this “pandemic” BS, and before, I have practiced my usual hygiene in public places, ie, washing my hands after taking a piss or a dump, sneezing/coughing, picking my nose etc. And I have been fine. I am in the open, exposed to sunlight (UVB and a small amount of UVC) no need for masks, hand sanitisers or Vit “B”. What does that tell you? I will tell you. All of the media hype about COVID-19 is being proven to be just just that, hype!

Mosher, take you scare mongering elsewhere.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Patrick MJD
June 13, 2020 6:49 am

Well that’s fine for a strapping young bloke like you, Patrick. But what about us older folk? 🙂

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Rich Davis
June 13, 2020 7:02 pm

How do you know how old I am?

old engineer
Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 13, 2020 3:58 am

Steven (the rest of you that are hollering “masks work”)-

The question here is not whether or not masks work. The question is should a paper that argues that they don’t work be taken down from a site that claims to be about promoting scientific discussion, Sixty years ago when I was in college, that thought wouldn’t have even come up. Questioning of established ideas was what science was about. Then the liberals took over academia, and political correctness came into being.

Removing the paper stifles the discussion. If masks are helpful (and my own belief is that they are) then let the article’s assertions be challenged and proven wrong. Let the paper stand or fall on the strength of its arguments.

It’s just laziness to say “I can’t prove him wrong, but I disagree with him, so let’s get rid of the paper.”

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  old engineer
June 13, 2020 8:00 am


Reply to  Clyde Spencer
June 13, 2020 9:23 am

I second Clyde S’s +1.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 13, 2020 5:11 pm

Third. Geoff E

Paul Penrose
Reply to  old engineer
June 13, 2020 7:13 pm

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.” – Richard Feynman.

Mike O
Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 13, 2020 4:12 am

There was a session on that reviewed the studies of a Vitamin D bolus (shot) vs. daily supplementation which concluded that daily supplementation is much more effective.

Not being argumentative, just saying …

There is a lot of evidence that low levels of Vitamin D is one of the most frequent co-morbidities with Covid-19.

Mike Bryant
Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 13, 2020 4:24 am

I wish I could be as smart as Steven Mosher… he is my hero.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Mike Bryant
June 13, 2020 6:51 am

You could try lead paint chips and mercury supplements, Mike.

Just trying to be heppful.

Reply to  Rich Davis
June 13, 2020 6:18 pm


Reply to  Rich Davis
June 14, 2020 4:05 am

Rich Davis
You owe me a keyboard!!

Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 13, 2020 9:19 am

Steven Mosher,

Your comment has inspired me to undertake a new personal protective measure, which consists of wearing a clothspin on my nose.


Reply to  Steven Mosher
June 13, 2020 12:32 pm

“Finds foot, shoots!”

Not so fast as if the statement is correct then whole nations are indulging in expensive placebos the irony being that we like Finland discarded millions of them in a shipment that was deemed not up to placebo Standards-

Frankly just like the reference posting here if a science professional wants to put up some evidence that face masks are largely placebos and start a discussion on ResearchGate I can’t see much harm in that. Sometimes we need to revisit old shibboleths particularly when it was obvious we had to pay very high prices to call forth rapid supply and what’s more reject millions as not being up to scratch. In that sense the economics of mask wearing has had a huge quantum change and with it the cost benefit equation.

June 13, 2020 3:14 am

Masks protect not the wearer, but the others, often posted and linked here.

Reply to  Krishna Gans
June 13, 2020 4:57 am

Masks are now becoming a symbol of the Left.

Reply to  Krishna Gans
June 13, 2020 5:01 am

That general statement is false. Repeating doesn’t make it right.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Ron
June 13, 2020 10:01 am

Correct, they are a symbol of morons.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Krishna Gans
June 13, 2020 5:21 am

Level 3 surgical masks have an aerosol barrier on the OUTSIDE of the mask to prevent aerosols from entering the mouth and nose of the wearer. This virus is not airborne, it is transmitted mainly by aerosols, so yes, proper masks protect the wearer IF they are worn properly.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
June 13, 2020 5:48 am

The ones I use in primary care here in the U.K. are fluid resistant and need to be replaced after 4 hours use regardless or if they become damp or are removed to eat or drink.
The main aim of a surgical mask is to reduce contamination in the sterile field. A visor is more likely used to prevent the surgeon becoming contaminated.
If a person presents to the ED with active pulmonary TB, the first thing they are given is a fluid resistant mask to wear, which is worn for all procedures that require movement around the department to protect the environment and other people.
In ITU they wear N95 masks that have to be individually fitted and visors due to aerosol generating procedures such as intubation and tracheostomy suctioning.
The efficacy of masks in the current situation is really unknown and it was wrong for any paper disputing the currently accepted wisdom to be removed.

June 13, 2020 3:56 am

So, I read the articles before they got deep-sixed. Seems that they presented 4 controlled studies that showed essentially zero benefits of mask wearing, with the possible exception of infected individuals slightly inhibiting aerosol spread if they wore masks.
This is all from memory, and I may be conflating other articles I read, but here are some salient points:
Virions are much smaller than most people realize. 1 ml. of seawater may contain a billion viruses. Expecting the mesh of a mask to stop virions is comparable to hoping a chain link fence would stop blowing sand.

Further, If the mesh were small enough to filter virions, it would make breathing impossible.

Any adjustment or faulty fitting of the mask will immediately allow virions to be inhaled.

One study confirmed that viral disease can be transmitted by a single virion, (the study was on insects, and I don’t think it was done on humans, but is likely true for higher species too.) weakening the idea that masks provide protection by lowering viral load.

There is a real possibility of enhance viral spreading with the use of masks. Virions may become concentrated on the mask, and discarded masks may be a real hazard.

In addition, masks do not protect the eyes, which is a known route of infection.

The above all seems logical to me.
In Japan where I live, most people seem sure that masks are beneficial. This may come largely from their use in the hayfever season. I suspect that they are useful in filtering pollen, but don’t protect the eyes, of course. The low rate of COVID deaths here may be because of early herd immunity ( I observed large tightly packed classes of young people in cram schools until the second week of April) much high humidity than other locations, generall very high standards of cleanliness, and, who knows, there may be a genetic component. I do know that there were very few people put on ventilators. I know of one prominent actor here who was intubated and subsequently died.

June 13, 2020 4:33 am

Not much change in Europe in last week or so, Sweden being only notable mover

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Vuk
June 13, 2020 5:03 am

You are off topic,but will just mention that these days the herds are inviting Sweden from Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands to visit their summer residences here.

My guess is what we see here is an increase in mortality due to these holiday makers have less immunity from living in a glass bubble. I am not only talking about COVID-19, but rather general immunity. My thought are that most countries play a very dangerous game with the lock-down, causing general weakness in the immune system.

Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
June 13, 2020 6:03 am

“…..most countries play a very dangerous game with the lock-down, causing general weakness in the immune system…. “
Maybe. Acquired immunity for the present or even better all of the future mutations would be great, but as far as I understand neither is guaranteed. Further more, number of studies are already suggesting (while definite conclusion is still premature) that those infected either with symptoms or asymptomatic have signs of damaged lungs and may be developing Diabetes1. It a case of wait and see, since it may be some months or even year or two, before it is possible to see a more complete picture.

Juan Slayton
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
June 13, 2020 6:10 am

…the herds are inviting Sweden…”

Carl, I think maybe you mean invading?
: > )

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Juan Slayton
June 13, 2020 6:24 am

For sure yes, invading 🙂
Always read through your post, before “Post comment”

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
June 13, 2020 8:52 am

Proof-reading one’s own writing is still subject to mistakes because the subconscious mind will interpret the written wording the same way it was “intended” to be written.

You might read it 10 times, one after the other, and it will still look correct. The result of s per se, …… mini-hallucination, …. whereby you are hallucinating the word to be written correctly.

To “proof-read” your own written verbiage, ….. wait 10 or 15 minutes to re-read it, ……. or read it “out loud” to yourself, …. and hearing it read will “catch’ most all mistakes. 😊

June 13, 2020 4:34 am

For the claim that masks conceivably prevent infection, there is also the claim that they conceivably enable infection due to decreased oxygen intake and increased CO2 retention. Lower O2 impairs immunity and higher CO2 decreases blood pH, which the virus needs to infect cells (it needs a slightly acidic pH).

Big Al
Reply to  icisil
June 13, 2020 5:46 am

Read cause of man, wearing mask, wrecked his car because of CO2 retention, reduced O2. Maybe on now banned Dr. Mecola site. He was one of the very first warning dangers of low vitamin D3.

Reply to  icisil
June 13, 2020 6:01 am

Not that the air we breath out has already 4% CO2 in it…

June 13, 2020 4:40 am

A ‘Phobia’ is defined as: “an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation”

Well I’m fed up with it! I refuse to buy into it any of it more. My only concession being in my contacts with the aged and infirmed. The left and their press have now made it abundantly clear that their constant drum beat of fear and their efforts to silence those that offer differing opinions that this is about trying to keep the economy from recovering. I will not live in fear! I will not let the dark forces make me fearful.

Their attempt to return to the hype of fear is not going to work! They exposed their agenda for all but the least perceptive to see during the riots, protests, etc by not calling out those participating for ignoring the prevention measures demanded of others to supposedly stop the spread. They simply aren’t going to be able to switch back no matter how much pure horse manure they push out on their presses and over the airwaves and make it effective.

This truck driver see’s their failure to re-instill fear in his travels and interactions with others now. On Thursday I picked up at a customer in Tonawanda, NY (Buffalo) that I have been to many times. I was there a month ago and they wouldn’t even let me in their building. Sign on the door said ring bell and wear a mask. Handed the paperwork for me to sign through a cracked door. Loaders and everyone else appeared to be wearing masks. Thursday I was there again and the sign was still there but the door was propped open. Nobody was wearing a mask and I went in and signed the paperwork as usual.

In fact I think that we sane people start using the lefts own tactics against them. Laugh at those apparently healthy young people wearing masks and gloves. Deride them in the same ways that the left has done to the average person with their PC crap over the years. Thus I would propose we invent a new word to use to describe those which continue to promote and abide by this covid-19 nonsense. “Ronaphobes”!

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  rah
June 13, 2020 6:47 am

Love the word ronaphobe or ronaphobia and xenophobia for current racial conflicts.

Reply to  rah
June 13, 2020 9:19 pm

Don’t laugh at them but if it comes up ask them if a chain link fence can stop a fruit fly or mosquito? They will look at you strange and say “noooo”. Then kindly point out that they are wearing the chain link fence and ask how that will stop the virus/mosquito?

I get a lot of weird looks but they don’t argue. They just are unaware of the size difference.

Plant the seed of doubt and let them water and fertilise it with some searches to see if “that crazy guy” was actually right or not.

Roger Knights
June 13, 2020 4:50 am

Mask Wearing Correlates Strongly with Declining COVID-19 Transmission, Says New Study
Airborne transmission is the dominant route for the spread of COVID-19.
Ronald Bailey 6.12.2020 3:50 PM Reason magazine site

John Shotsky
June 13, 2020 5:18 am

The author is way off the mark. Masks are not for preventing getting Covid – they are for containing a volcano of mist from coughing, sneezing and breathing. It is to help reduce spread from those that already are infected. Since many are asymptomatic (no symptoms), the masks are to help prevent THEM from spreading the disease. So, he is right about one thing: masks won’t prevent you from getting sick. But that is not what they are for.

Rich Davis
Reply to  John Shotsky
June 13, 2020 7:55 am

The question is not whether one hypothesis is right or wrong. The question is whether hypotheses that disagree with editorial OPINION should be censored.

It’s always been my opinion that mistakes are more valuable to learning than lucky guesses. In real science, competing ideas strengthen the evidence for what turns out to be the best theory. Without the benefit of wrong ideas to be demonstrated as such, we are left with dogmatic orthodoxy. More accurately in most cases, partly or mostly wrong hypotheses contribute something to a better understanding while forcing rigorous thinking that helps us better understand our lucky guesses.

There may be a case for censorship, if the question is preventing offensive or abusive comments in situations where people cannot reasonably avoid being impacted. Here I’m thinking of workplace harassment scenarios. Also situations that cause dangerous panic such as the classic yelling fire in a movie theater. If we extend the concept of offensive comments to any opinion that someone in authority disagrees with, or extend the concept of endangering speech to include ideas that might cause someone to resist a policy, then we are far down the road to tyranny.

Reply to  John Shotsky
June 13, 2020 9:43 am

John S.,

You said, “The author is way off mark.”

Which author are you referring to? If it’s Rancourt, then, in reading his banned article, you might have missed the part where he addressed the issue you bring up (about who the mask helps protect).

If it’s me, then let me clarify that I made no direct claim concerning whom the mask protects. But since you bring it up, allow me to touch on this: It seems odd that the same material can, on one hand, be claimed to block enough droplets from the wearer to inhibit infection of people on the outside of the mask, yet can, on the other hand, be claimed to fail to block droplets entering from the outside of the mask, thus failing to protect the wearer.

I would suspect that enough side leakage occurs, even if everybody wore simple cloth masks, to create cloud pockets of active viral droplets that could penetrate masks from the outside in, to infect people wearing the masks. In other words, if a droplet of significant infection capability can penetrate the material from the outside in, then it must be able to penetrate the material from the inside out, … unless fluid dynamics is magically selective.

June 13, 2020 5:23 am


“Conclusions This study is the first RCT of cloth masks, and the results caution against the use of cloth masks. This is an important finding to inform occupational health and safety. Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection. Further research is needed to inform the widespread use of cloth masks globally. However, as a precautionary measure, cloth masks should not be recommended for HCWs, particularly in high-risk situations, and guidelines need to be updated’

June 13, 2020 5:24 am

Having been in the painting trade I can say that masks are about as useful as tits on a bull. Whenever I wear a mask I end up breathing through my mouth and not my nose. The nose is very efficient in what it does.
Funnily enough recently I bought a head light and it came with a head stocking and that is what I now use in dusty environments and I continue to breathe through my nose unlike a mask.
The only thing to be said about a mask is someone who is infected is that their breath will be defused around them and not straight in front of them but that is no guarantee at all that you will not get infected.
I have just about collapsed on the ground with laughter seeing the way some people have been wearing masks. A complete joke. The other thing is that a lot of people have been wearing the same mask time and time again which defeats the purpose of it. When a surgeon puts on a mask they never touch it whereas someone not used to wearing a mask will touch it constantly and will touch their face more than they usually would. All bad.
Did you hear about the person wearing an N95 mask while driving. They ran out of oxygen and crashed into a tree. You could at least honestly say it was COVID related. The fear of it. I have seen it but why would you wear a mask when you are driving on your own. Mad.
Another thing about wearing a mask is that if you are infected you will be breathing back in more of the virus you have been breathing out so compounding the problem.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  mikebartnz
June 13, 2020 8:16 am

You asked, “… why would you wear a mask when you are driving on your own.” I’d say it is a classic example of people unthinkingly following advice without understanding the purpose of the advice. It is just like a person, home alone, washing their hands every half-hour even when they are doing nothing to admit germs into their home. More than half of the adult population has an IQ less than 100 — some few significantly less than 100!

Robert Austin
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
June 13, 2020 9:41 am

The street in front of my home serves as a well traveled bicycle / walking route. I marvel at the numbers of pedestrians and bicyclists wearing their masks in the sunshine and great outdoors. I am sure some have IQ’s of at least 100 but it just goes to show how the normally intelligent can be clueless.

Reply to  mikebartnz
June 13, 2020 9:30 pm

My younger brother does auto body work (restoration of classics) and when this started he was thinking of putting on his full suit, respirator and air supply then run through a mall frantically asking everyone

“Which way did the man with the cough go?”

He never did. Thought better of it but damn would that have been funny.

Mark Whitney
June 13, 2020 5:31 am

I’ll go with Old Engineer on the subject of the article. It is ludicrous that people seek to limit discussion in a supposedly free exchange of ideas.
As for wearing masks, at a jobsite orientation yesterday the presenter said whether requiring masks on site worked to prevent the spread of the disease or not, they did serve the purpose of reducing the frequency of a person touching their nose and mouth, one of the primary mechanical activities likely responsible for infection.

Reply to  Mark Whitney
June 13, 2020 9:54 am

… whether requiring masks on site worked to prevent the spread of the disease or not, they did serve the purpose of reducing the frequency of a person touching their nose and mouth, one of the primary mechanical activities likely responsible for infection.

REDUCE the frequency? Has this actually been observed and documented? I simply do not believe this is true, given my own observations. Rather, I seem to see more hand action going on about the face, where a mask is involved. Okay, people might not touch their skin DIRECTLY as much, but THEY TOUCH THE MASK, fiddle with the mask, constantly remove and replace the mask, which contaminates the mask and causes the now contaminated mask to touch their face. The mask, thus, becomes the object of contamination, rather than the hand, replacing one contaminating device with another.

Doug Huffman
June 13, 2020 5:50 am

I spend my career as a radiation worker wearing and carrying various PPE filters and air-fed respirators, for which the efficacy could be measured and exhaustion estimated.

I disbelieve any effect of a ‘mask’ on SARS-CoV-2.

The mass infotainment ‘data’ is so corrupt that we skeptics must trust and verify our own experience and judgement.

Exercise, fresh air, sunshine, good food, moderate alcohol are prophylactic to most ills of this shadowed vale – just as my mother taught me.

June 13, 2020 6:17 am

Perhaps videos of Bank Robbers should be banned by use of the police and from court evidence…..

Len Werner
June 13, 2020 6:17 am

Geologists use numbers a lot if they get involved with ore reserve calculations, so when I first read the clinical trials saying masks don’t work I looked up the size of a corona virus; it was given as 0.12 microns. I don’t think they’re chitinous and so could be ‘squared a bit’ for convenient packing, so rounded that to 0.1 microns. That means 1,000 of them could fit in a cubic micron, or 1 trillion in a cubic mm. if they’re packed cubic closest packing like oxygens in quartz.

If you wear a mask and glasses, what happens within a few breaths?–the glasses fog up on the inside; where does that come from? It is leakage from between the mask and the nose, blown upwards and onto the inside surface of the glasses which are below the dew point of the exhaled air. What’s in that air?

If the fit conforms to the contours of the face with an error of fit of 0.1 mm, 1,000 corona virus could pass through that gap line-abreast. This is analogous, using a shoulder width of 2 feet, to Trump’s border wall consisting of one lonely stake sticking up out of the desert every 2,000 feet. How much room does that allow in logic or calculation to contradict the clinical trials referred to in the article on masks that was removed from Researchgate, that found that they do not work and can not work?

Part of my voluntary training was in both surface and underground mine rescue; I have been on mine rescue teams and even a team captain. Both, but especially the underground training, entails extensive use of breathing apparatus for obvious reasons, which gave me plenty of experience evaluating just what it takes for a mask to properly fit facial surfaces so as to seal the gaps from leakage of toxic gasses and smoke; there is little value in FEELING that the mask will work when you enter the portal. When someone tells me that they are sure that a paper or cloth mask made at a material cost of probably 20 cents is going to stop passage of a 0.1 mm particle when this mask is worn on a human face leaves me staring at them open-mouthed and speechless. Given the numbers, and considering the idea that reducing ‘viral load’ may not be a limiting factor in rates of transmission, you have to tell me exactly HOW.

My conclusion is that any mask that retails for 95 cents is going to require a form of embedded magic to be able to stop the transmission of a virus, and I’m betting you can’t buy that kind of magic for a buck. And that makes removal of the article saying that they don’t work scientifically illogical; there must be a different reason.

(Note that the CDC posted an article on their website stating that….masks don’t work for viruses.)

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Len Werner
June 13, 2020 8:33 am

It seems to me that it is largely a numbers game. That is, assuming it takes some finite threshold to cause infection, anything to reduce the number of virion should reduce the rate of infection in the general population. There are no guarantees, just probability. And, most of the virion being expelled by breathing are likely to be suspended in saliva/mucous droplets that are much larger than the virion itself. So, even if the reduction of expelled droplets is small, it is better than nothing. It is the explosive expulsions during sneezing or coughing that masks are probably most effective — at protecting people around them.

Yes, one does commonly observe fogging of glasses. However, just holding one’s hand in front of the paper mask demonstrates that most of the air exits through the front of the mask. Again, the attempt is to reduce the potential viral load and it isn’t the same issue as trying to prevent breathing in a cumulative toxin like carbon monoxide.

Len Werner
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
June 13, 2020 10:39 am


That’s an excellent example of good theory, and well presented; it all does indeed seem to be so obviously logical. Do we have a good understanding of the size distribution of droplets, however, or other affecting parameters? I have read that this virus can withstand 2 years of -20C temperatures, and can be re-activated with moisture after being dried. Can human breath contain a virus with a one-molecule-thick shell of water surrounding it?

Something has to be leading to the findings of clinical trials that, regardless of the good logic about masks stopping droplets and explosive expulsions, still conclude that there is no statistical evidence that they work; they’re getting through somehow. Certainly virus biology is not my field of expertise, but scientific experiment and handling of data are.

I have to remember Richard Feynman’s quote about theory and experiment–paraphrased as no matter how good the theory sounds, if experiment contradicts it, the theory is wrong. It seems that this is a good example of what Feynman was referring to–am I to accept that Feynman was wrong? Or is something wrong with the theory of how masks work with breath, drops and viruses? I’m still reading contradictions of how the virus transmits, even though it is a (corona) flu virus that I thought was well understood by now.

My personal view is forced to remain that the results of experiment of the clinical trials cannot be ignored. Why did they reach the conclusions they did, both in the referred-to trials removed from Researchgate that were the subject of this article, and those reported by the CDC? And why was the article removed?–it simply reported on the clinical trials, which was the original point of Robert’s article. It does appear that censorship of information is occurring on a site that states it will not do that.

All that said, I still remain relatively unafraid of this virus; data indicate that it is not a serious threat to someone who does a reasonable job of looking after their personal health. The health-care system scares the crap out of me however, and I try to avoid it as much as humanly possible (I hope everyone has seen the testimony of the nurse at Elmhurst hospital in New York).

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Len Werner
June 13, 2020 8:54 pm

You asked, ” Do we have a good understanding of the size distribution of droplets, however, or other affecting parameters?” I would say, “No.” There is a lot of basic research that apparently hasn’t been done. Therefore, it is difficult if not impossible to make any definitive statements about the efficacy of various masks. However, I think that if there is a 20-30% reduction in viruses escaping from everyone wearing a mask while around other people, it can be helpful in reducing the apparent R-naught. If you will pardon the pun, it is no skin off my nose to wear a mask for 45 minutes while I do my grocery shopping. However, it would be good to have some quality research done on all the issues. Therefore, even unpopular positions should be available to read by those interested. Let the work stand on its own merits, not the judgement of someone who’s main qualification is being acquainted with what the current paradigm is.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
June 13, 2020 11:17 am

According to my reading of evidence, even the droplets within which viral particles are suspended are smaller than the pores of a simple woven-cloth mask, and the issue of side leakage, in addition to pore size, would seem to enable a sufficient load of viruses to exist outside the mask to make any potential reduction inconsequential to the actual emergence of infection caused by a minimum load, far exceeded by the amount present in those leakages.

Len Werner
Reply to  Len Werner
June 13, 2020 8:43 am

Sorry–quartz is hexagonal closest packing. How about sulfurs in pyrite then–although there’s little difference in the volume, cubic or hexagonal closest packed.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Len Werner
June 13, 2020 9:33 am

When someone tells me that they are sure that a paper or cloth mask made at a material cost of probably 20 cents is going to stop passage of a 0.1 mm particle when this mask is worn on a human face …..

Len Werner, now I wasa thinking, …… just how large a surface area would a mask hafta have to be able to do both, …… 1) stop passage of a 0.1 mm particle …. and 2) permit sufficient volume of O2 to pass thru unimpeded to sustain the needs of a highly active mask wearer?

Len Werner
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
June 13, 2020 11:38 am

Samuel, I did think of that some time ago–and it made me consider a Katadyn water filter as they are now commonly used by field geologists and hikers; it has pores 0.2 microns in size, over twice the size that would be required to stop passage of a corona virus. One that will pass 1 litre per minute with a piston forcing it through at quite high pressure (I haven’t measured it, but the Youtube video demonstrating its use has the operator placing it on the ground while he pushed the piston with the other hand) costs $50 for just the filter cartridge. There must be an indication there of how much a $1 mask is worth at 0.1 microns. And I understand the claims that the mask is to stop large droplets, not virus–but the virus can still get through (and around) dry, and maybe with a coating of water molecules. ‘The science seems not settled’ on exactly how the virus transmits.

I’d like to try, but I bet REI will not let me try to blow through one of the Katadyn filters on the shelf to test how air goes through it–and I don’t blame them. I’ve never bought one–I grew up on a farm, and like George Carlin was ‘tempered in raw s**t’; I just drank from streams and swamps right through my field career with no ill effects.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Len Werner
June 13, 2020 2:28 pm

Thanks, Len, ……. much appreciated.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Len Werner
June 13, 2020 9:01 pm

I have drunk plenty of free flowing surface water when I have been thirsty. Most of the time it was no problem, but the couple times I probably picked some giardia, it was no fun. On the other hand, almost every time I have gone to Mexico, I start to pass hydrogen sulfide-rich gas in a couple of days and have to hit the Pepto Bismal.

Len Werner
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
June 14, 2020 9:41 am

Ah, Clyde, you may have landed on the problem there–at my age I seem to pass hydrogen-sulfide-rich gas regularly enough that I can’t tell when there is a subtle change due to some puny protozoan.

Incidentally, and please don’t assume I am intending anything definitive here, just mildly related–check the gear worn by Qui in the photos accompanying this article. I assume that is what laboratory professionals regard as necessary to prevent transmission of a virus. Then picture in your mind that gear lying on a table, and beside it one of the 20¢-worth-of-material cloth or paper masks.

I do agree that anyone should be free to wear one–but mandatory is to me still not substantiated unless we have to conclude that the adult citizenry is simply not grown-up enough to know that when in public you sneeze and cough into your sleeve or a handkerchief. What’s next, mandatory diapers? Why, it’s for that very reason–not wanting to tempt further government over-reach–that I hold that hydrogen-sulfide-rich gas when doing my grocery shopping; not everyone in the store is wearing a protective mask, and modern mental tendency seems always to assume the worst.

Jim Butler
Reply to  Len Werner
June 14, 2020 7:22 am

That’s a great article.

June 13, 2020 6:19 am

The WHO released new guidelines for using masks.


Potential benefits/advantages

The likely advantages of the use of masks by healthy people
in the general public include:
• reduced potential exposure risk from infected persons
before they develop symptoms;
• reduced potential stigmatization of individuals wearing
masks to prevent infecting others (source control) or of
people caring for COVID- 19 patients in non – clinical
• making people feel they can play a role in contributing to
stopping spr ead of the virus;
• reminding people to be compliant with other measures
(e.g., hand hygiene, not touching nose and mouth).
However, this can also have the reverse effect (see
• potential social and economic benefits. Amidst the
global shortage of surgical masks and PPE, encouraging
the public to create their own fabric masks may promote
individual enterprise and community integration.
Moreover, the production of non -medical masks may
offer a source of income for those able to manufacture
masks within their communities. Fabric masks can also
be a form of cultural expression, encouraging public
acceptance of protection measures in general. The safe
re – use of fabric masks will also reduce costs and waste
and contribute to sustainability. (link is to pdf)

Len Werner
Reply to  icisil
June 13, 2020 8:23 am

Good grief. Hasn’t the WHO discredited themselves enough yet?

First, the WHO paper is a contradiction of the CDC paper. ‘Science is not settled’ here.

Second, one has to love the wording: ‘the likely advantage’–means ‘might work’; ‘reduced potential exposure’–means no-one is saying that it DOES reduce exposure or transmission; ‘reduced potential stigmatization’–that’s just ‘feelings’; ‘making people feel’–blatantly obvious just ‘feelings’ again; ‘potential social and economic benefits’–‘make-work project’.

The key to the document is probably in the ‘reminding people to be compliant’ phrase.

I agree with rah the trucker; enough of this crap already. Clinical trials demonstrate that they don’t work, simple calculations show that they can’t work; no ‘feelings’ are going to change that. Like I said above, ‘feeling’ that the mask works is worth just so much (supply your own descriptive noun here, ask a diamond driller if you fall short of words) when you walk into the toxic atmosphere. If we accept wearing one just to ‘be compliant’ with government dictates, we might as well learn to bend over when we do it.

Stunning. ‘And not a shot fired’. (well, except for some rioters, and somehow it seems you can’t get Covid-19 from rioting and looting.) One of Trump’s better moves was to ‘defund’ the WHO. Didn’t shut them up unfortunately though; like bagpipes on the Muppets they just keep wailing.

Reply to  icisil
June 13, 2020 9:03 am

So, it’s a quasi-religious (e.g. “ethical”), sociopolitical experiment with “benefits”.

June 13, 2020 6:40 am

It seems to me that if you are in an environment that requires an N95 (or better) protection mask that is properly fitted and you don’t have N95, than you are out of luck. I’ve heard the “something is better than nothing” argument. But to me, that’s like saying you’re OK to wear a good pair of sunglasses during your next arc welding project if you don’t happen to have your welding helmet.

Reply to  PaulH
June 13, 2020 11:26 am

Yeah, the “something is better than nothing” argument are words of desperation and irrational hope in the midst of just not knowing. Desperate times call for irrational measures, right?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  PaulH
June 15, 2020 6:12 pm

I would suggest that a better analogy would be if one wanted a high-value sunblock, but only had a low-value one. One could forego any protection, or use the low-value one in full cognizance that it is not as effective as desired. One might adjust their sun exposure time accordingly. With respect to COVID-19, there is evidence that, similarly, exposure time might play a role in infection. The message? Keep your trips short and infrequent if you can’t get your hands on an N95.

June 13, 2020 6:41 am

Are not masks to prevent droplet contamination? More specifically, droplet contamination of hands, open wounds, and commonly touched objects.

Going by Rud Istvan’s articles, colds are spread by droplet contamination, and flues are spread by inhalation of contaminated exhalation. So if it’s a cold, they could help. If it’s a flu, probably not.

The larger problem is that right or wrong, discussion is throttled.

Roger Welsh
June 13, 2020 7:05 am

Anything that prevents natural immunity, is just prolonging the problem.

Humans have lived for 1000s of years through all the the flu seasons which happen every year.

No lockdown or mask wearing.

Is there really something new under the Sun?

Look forward to the scientific answer.

Doug Huffman
June 13, 2020 7:06 am

The logic is limited to post hoc ergo propter hoc, “Oh, look, I wore a mask and didn’t get sick. QED!”

June 13, 2020 7:16 am

Well it’s time to pull the mask off of the ECB…

Don’t let the corona-crisis go to waste, ECB tells Italy

(Reuters) – Italy must not let the economic crisis wrought by the coronavirus pandemic “go to waste” and should instead reform its stagnant economy so that it thrives after the outbreak, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said on Saturday.

“I therefore encourage you, as policymakers, not to let this crisis go to waste,” Lagarde told Italian policymakers via video-link during a consultation launched by the government.

“My institution, the ECB, will play its part within its mandate. But it is for you to prove to citizens that our societies will emerge from this transformation stronger and greener,” she added.

June 13, 2020 8:25 am

Is there a reason why you left this part out from the table directly above that quote? The broadest case by WHO for the general public wearing masks ONLY applies in:

*Areas with known or suspected widespread transmission AND limited or no capacity to implement other containment measures such as physical distancing, contact tracing, appropriate testing, isolation and care for suspected and confirmed cases.”

Do most neighbourhoods in North America or Europe even MEET this condition??? They’re basically talking about slums.

Even so, masking in these instances is recommended by WHO only for: *grocery stores, at work, social gatherings, mass gatherings, closed settings, including schools, churches, mosques, etc.”

NOT walking down the sidewalk or driving in your car. But wear a superhero cape, if it makes you feel better.

June 13, 2020 8:45 am

Considering who many of the financial backers are for the ResearchGate platform (including Bill Gates), I’m not at all surprised that literature challenging the official orthodoxy is suppressed. There is an incredible amount of money and power at stake in this game around the world, let alone the need for controlling the narrative. Just as with Climate Change, there is a an almost religious fanaticism surrounding COVID-19 and its acolytes will not tolerate blasphemous dissent.

I read through the article and have previously viewed Dr. Rancourt’s video posts on this subject. Although I admit that I have not put forth the effort to review the substantial list of scientific sources he references, I believe the information he presents and the questions he asks are quite valid and warrant additional research and study, not suppression and censorship.

Many of the comments and feed back that I have read here and elsewhere seem to either obscure or misrepresent the key assertions that Dr. Rancourt makes, namely that available research does not support the claim that wearing masks (N95 and less-protective) are statistically effective in preventing the wearer from Influenza and similar viruses, including COVID-19. I blame this in part on his own writing as he clearly has examples from scientific studies to support this, yet presents it in very broad terms including the title of the paper itself. I’m not sure if he solicited editorial feedback from others before posting this on ResearchGate, but I believe it could have been presented a bit more clearly in that regard.

I’ve also read many comments that conflate the common use of masks by medical staff and Asian cultures with proof that Dr. Rancourt’s premise is invalidated. Surgical staff do not wear masks to prevent a patient from exposure to Influenza or similar viruses while performing an operation or other high-exposure-risk situation, just as Asian cultures do not (did not) require entire populations to wear masks and certainly not while also maintaining 6+ feet of distance from other individuals.

Even if Dr. Rancourt were to revise his paper, I think he’s been blacklisted across multiple platforms like many others and will be relegated to “fringe” platforms to be easily derided as “junk science” and research, which is precisely what the fanatics are calling for.

June 13, 2020 9:00 am


I noticed no one was really addressing the questions in your article. I thought I’d chime in. My method was to take a random sample of Rancourt’s citations, read through them and see what, if anything I could find that might be troubling to the reviewer(s) at Researchgate.

I first chose this study at random:

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”, CMAJMar 2016, cmaj.150835; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.150835

It seems to me this study presents problems for Rancourt’s case. And if I’m right being a layman, certainly the professional reviewers at ResearchGate would have noticed as well.

Maybe you could comment.

From my reading of the study the authors didn’t address the effectiveness of either N-95 masks or surgical masks to prevent *initial* respiratory infections in general, rather they ONLY compared the effectiveness of the two types of masks to each other:

“No significant difference in risk of laboratory-confirmed respiratory infection was detected between health care workers using N95 respirators and those using surgical masks in the meta-analysis of the RCTs (OR 0.89, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.64–1.24; I2 = 0%), the cohort study (OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.03–6.41) or the case–control studies (OR 0.91, 95% CI 0.25–3.36; I2 = 0%) (Figure 2).”

In other words, the study purported to show that regardless of mask type, the infection rate was the same. But this doesn’t address the infection rate. What if the infection rate was lower when using either type of mask, but just not lower using one in favor of the other?

The conclusion of the study (emphasis added):

“Although N95 respirators appeared to have a protective advantage over surgical masks in laboratory settings, our meta-analysis showed that there were insufficient data to determine definitively whether N95 respirators are superior to surgical masks in protecting health care workers against transmissible acute respiratory infections in clinical settings.”

Also see the “Limitations” section of this study. It lays out other caveats that seem relevant. I think I would not have used this study if I were attempting to prove the same hypothesis as Rancourt.

Perhaps ResearchGate has a point.

Robert Austin
Reply to  sycomputing
June 13, 2020 10:01 am

You pick one referenced study “at random” and that study does not contradict Rancourt’s thesis. You might dig a little deeper before dismissing Rancourt.

Reply to  Robert Austin
June 13, 2020 10:39 am

You pick one referenced study “at random” . . .

Yeah that’s kind of the point.

. . . and that study does not contradict Rancourt’s thesis.

Tell me how it helps it. And if it doesn’t, why is it included in his set of evidence?

Reply to  sycomputing
June 13, 2020 11:54 am


The reference you noted is listed, in Rancourt’s article, under the heading, Review of Medical Literature, where I perceive him as simply presenting the types of studies being done.

Notice now what Rancourt says about mask studies in general:

No RCT 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 (more on this below).

I take this to mean that the studies cited by Rancourt are related to specific conclusions that
do NOT address specifically a decided benefit of masks. This is one of those studies that does not go that far. The study, as you so well point out, merely states that there is no detectable DIFFERENCE in protection between a surgical mask and an N95. That’s the point — that’s what a lot of these studies in the area of mask studies do — they compare, without noting exactly the final EFFECTS they are comparing. No such study, thus, has established a decided benefit (in terms of a measure of effectiveness against preventing infection) for community members wearing masks.

He is just pointing out what types of research have been done in this area, to strengthen his point that no such study has been done to justify the current maskmanic (my word) dictates of various states and businesses.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 13, 2020 12:02 pm

He is just pointing out what types of research have been done in this area . . .

Interesting approach.

Thanks for the clarification!

Reply to  sycomputing
June 13, 2020 12:04 pm

Tell me how it helps it. And if it doesn’t, why is it included in his set of evidence?

I think I answered this in a reply that has not appeared yet (my replies do not appear immediately), but, at the risk of being overly redundant, I will offer an answer again:

The reason I think Rancourt lists this study is to illustrate the type of research that has been done on face masks. It helps by showing the specific questions that such research is looking at. It shows that, often times, the research is NOT addressing the most pressing question of actual measured benefit to a community, when masks are used en mass. Again, there is no such study. There is this sort of study or that sort of study or another sort of study, but NO SUCH STUDY that specifically serves as a basis to require people legally to wear masks in public for a provable preventative effect for the whole population.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 13, 2020 12:14 pm

I think I answered this in a reply that has not appeared yet . . .

Yep! Thanks again regardless!

June 13, 2020 9:17 am

If “they” tell the “sheep” to wear masks, the sheep comply. Telling the sheep to do so is simply one more small step in mind control. Plus, the sheep enjoy being told what to do. It’s a win-win. If Trump told the sheep not to wear masks, 50.5% of the sheep would wear them. If Obama told the sheep to wear masks, 49.5% wouldn’t wear them. In regard to this article……”so what else is new?”

Denis Rancourt
June 13, 2020 11:45 am
Reply to  Denis Rancourt
June 13, 2020 5:46 pm

Denis Rancourt,

Thanks for stopping by.

I hope you don’t mind that I stored a copy of your controversial article in my DropBox to share here. I was afraid that it would be too hard for people to find, and I thought it deserved a wide view. As I wrote, I had to dig around a bit to find a copy, since the original link led nowhere useful.

I have already read your all-cause-mortality article too, which also has a good blurb relevant to face-mask effectiveness (or lack thereof).

Your phrase, “mass homicide by government response”, is fairly dramatic. It sort of opens up a line of discussion about the definition of “homicide”, if we choose to label things this way. Can “homicide” really correctly describe a collective response by a massive number of people? — that’s a new twist on the term, if so.

That’s a whole ‘nother discussion, though, and I’m not sure the mods would be happy about the drift to that topic here.

Suffice to say that, in bringing this to WUWT’s attention, I succeeded in getting the word out a bit further on a policy response that I personally find disturbing, intimately invasive, and thieving of individual rights to make personal judgments according to know facts.

Thanks for your efforts, which only confirm my own findings and observations.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 13, 2020 5:57 pm

“know facts” = “knowN facts” — the mind fills in what the fingers forget. (^_^)

Tom in Florida
June 13, 2020 11:56 am

Think about the main purpose for the government to endorse mask wearing. You have a virus that very little is known about it. It can be deadly to certain people, there is no cure, there is no vaccine, there is nothing you can do. It made people feel helpless, so the government pushes wearing masks whether they work or not in order to make people feel like they are doing something in an otherwise hopeless situation.
Wearing a mask has given people a sense of safety and security. Now the problem is going to reverse that so not wearing a mask doesn’t feel naked and fearful.

David L Hagen
June 13, 2020 11:59 am

“To my post: Dare science consider contrary evidence? Rancourt reviews research on masks:…” Denis Rancourt responded:

“This is my report about RG’s deplatforming of my article ” Masks Don’t Work: A review of science relevant to COVID-19 social policy”, after it reached 400 K reads on RG. My report has the exact email exchange, which clarifies the reasons given for the censorship:”
I replied:

“ResearchGate’s deplatforming your article “Masks Don’t Work” is modern-day #Lysenkoism driven by popular partisan coercion. It reflects science’s underlying conflict between truth versus popularity biased by funding. See Robert Kuhn’s expose. vis In retrospect: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions David Kaiser, Nature volume 484, pp164–165(2012)”

June 13, 2020 12:53 pm

The medical efficacy of masks’ conundrum has been studied for several decades. From memory a Cochran meta-analysis of simple surgical masks sorted for rigor pointed to a 6% reduction in viral infection spread in 1 (one) notable context. The 6% reduction in viral transmission risk was when in home care givers were attending their in home personal charges.

Gordon A. Dressler
June 13, 2020 5:12 pm

Hey, it’s all so simple. Today, China—with a total population in excess of 1.4 BILLION people—reported to the WHO that, over the last 24 hours leading up to their report, they had a total of 12 (yes, twelve) newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and no deaths due to the virus (see ).

No other county with a population over 1 million has such low per capita statistics regarding COVID-19. Therefore, it is obvious, isn’t it, that all countries should be doing exactly what China is doing to fight the spread of this disease . . . the wearing of face masks, the exact type of face masks, the handling of face masks . . . all of that.

Why, China has even gone so far as to have lifted its lockdown of the city of Wuhan, more than a month ago (see ). Wonderful news.

One wonders why the WHO hasn’t actively promoted the exact methods China is using so effectively to control this virus within their borders . . . specifically, the exact type of face mask they are presumed to have distributed to their citizens to wear. The WHO and China have an especially cordial relationship, so what’s up with that?

Wait . . . who said you cannot trust the CCP? Well, they obviously must know a lot more about COVID-19 than any other government on Earth . . . there is a very good reason for that. Besides, why would they have any reason to lie about their COVID-19 statistics?

/occasional sarc now off

Geoff Sherrington
June 13, 2020 5:52 pm

Here is a different angle, a hypothesis at this stage needing confirmation, as by interviews with participants and so on.
I postulate that the mask has given lawless wearers at protests an extra confidence to burn, loot and kill, feeling that they are less able to be identified afterwards from videos and witness interviews. Has the mask given the protestors an excuse for gathering en masse when regulations require separation and small groups, not thousands of protestors, some of who are on record as saying they obeyed safety to others by wearing masks, so their actions were excused.
Now, how does one include this hypothesis in a scientific discourse that might have to run the gauntlet of censorship by gate keeper, non-scientific editors? If I as a scientist promoted this hypothesis on Research Gate, could I be assured in advance of a neutral evaluation of its scientific worth and freedom from capricious censorship?
The whole topic of masks is a mess of contradictory personal opinions sometimes driven by ideology, most devoid of any proper scientific investigation. People who simply bleat what they like from the words of others are like sheep in a mob, much nicer when they shut up.
Geoff S

June 13, 2020 6:28 pm

As to the “stigma” part:

Many wear fear masks because their jobs require them.

Where I live, most people are too well-informed to wear them, but a substantial number do. Most of those seem to believe that they themselves are protected by the mask. Some wear a lot of clothing as well, and look around fearfully as they observe the anti-social distancing. (SOCIAL distancing would be close enough to socialize–less than a meter).

The smarter ones understand that masks are only supposed to protect OTHERS from the wearer. By that belief, non-wearing indeed produces a stigma of uncaring, selfish endangering of others.

to me mask-wearers are stigmatized as gullible, believing anything in SJW or mainstream narratives and having little or no ability to verify information (fact-check means compared to Democrat or SJW narratives).

Having mentioned SJW narratives, I better mention the book “SJWs Always Lie.” Most WUWT are politically Incorrect and that book is a VITAL survival manual. Otherwise you will Apologize–which arms the pipsqueaks to kill your job.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  LadyLifeGrows
June 14, 2020 5:02 am

“Many wear fear masks because their jobs require them.”
That certainly applies to me. My retirement job is about 25 hrs per week (no nights or weekends) working in a small, family owned appliance store. I handle sales, customer service and scheduling repairs and deliveries. We did not shut down being deemed essential due to the need for people to have working refrigerators, cooking and laundry equipment. Those that couldn’t get repaired required new sales. I have been dealing with the public on a daily basis the whole time. We all wear masks to give customers entering the store a sense of safety and to negate any fear they have of interaction with our staff.

June 13, 2020 8:18 pm

NIOSH stated it very clearly after the SARS outbreak that there is no international or national standard for respirators or masks that will actually stop Coronaviruses from being aspirated. They clearly stated that the CV is too small and that the actual limit of the current standards is designed only for particulate of 0.300 microns and above for the purpose of stopping particulate that our lungs CANNOT clear through natural processes: construction, demolition and other activities actually produce dust smaller than 0.300 microns but that is easily handled by our lungs.

Internationally, even in the best HEPA+MERV18 systems 0.300 microns is the smallest thing the masks will stop. There is no “but it will catch smaller” that people claim because that is bullshit idiocy. As long as the 0.300 micron holes exist stuff smaller than that is going to fly through. Coronaviruses do NOT need to be wet in order to be viable – they were distributed internationally by the Chinese postal service and other shippers.

The problem exists in the facts of airflow where the product and standard we need is 0.050 micron filtration but the negative pressure created by the standard 250cm2 mask with that restriction is very close to vacuum.

Again the old “won’t use it until the government forces us to” rule applies, the reason we don’t have deeply pleated masks is because they’re expensive and people won’t use them unless they’ll be arrested for not.

Anybody reading about HEPA and MERV needs to remember that SARSCov2 was measured at 0.128 microns and studies in France found out that it not only doesn’t need to be wet to be viable but that it can survive temperatures of up to 94°C and still infect.

SARSCov2 is not “alive” it is a Coronavirus: a molecular spring-trap that tears open a cell and ejects genetic overriding material into the cell. It is a weaponized biological balloon.

The “doctors” at the WHO are either too ignorant or too political to admit that their knowledge is so out-of-date that it is unsafe for them to retain their degrees.

Not Chicken Little
June 13, 2020 9:12 pm

OK so you wear a mask. But how does the little virus know it’s not allowed to enter via your uncovered eyes?

June 13, 2020 11:51 pm

Appeal to authority… a physicist has a say on Covid masks, good. And his 100 papers are on physics or hygiene? I can see why it was removed. It starts out by saying they don’t work – while there is research saying the opposite. Still in the summary, he goes on to say that they cannot work due to aerosol size – this is not an amazing insight by the non hygiene expert physicist, this was never denied by anyone. The point is though that the propagation of a cloud of aerosols is very different when sneezing etc with or without a mask. Which is why it had been said from the outset that the masks do not protect one from getting Covid, but rather mitigate the spread by an infected wearer of a mask. Which is important because most people don’t even know they had or have Covid. And so it is already clear before the end of his summary that there is great potential for this paper to go off the rails. You told Pachauri to stick to his railroads and maybe you should get some inspiration from this line of thinking. A Physicist is not a hygiene experts. Hygiene professors even rebuke virologists who speak out about prevention on national TV, saying that they are outside of their expertise. And on a general note, there is no such thing as Covid or Covid 19 since February because it is called Sars Cov 2 since then.

Reply to  Matt
June 14, 2020 9:53 am


Appeal to authority… a physicist has a say on Covid masks, good. And his 100 papers are on physics or hygiene?

Matt appeals to a profession title … he has a say on a physicist who alludes to the physics claims of mask effectiveness. And is his commentary on the physical effectiveness based on those physics principles? Hardly.

I can see why it was removed. It starts out by saying they don’t work – while there is research saying the opposite.

It [Rancourt’s paper] starts out that way, because that is the premise of the article, which is then explained, as you read further. This is standard exposition mechanics — you make a claim, you explain the claim.

Research articles that you endorse often have concluding statements at odds with tentative language and uncertainties expressed in the bodies of those articles.

More importantly, there IS research concluding that masks do not work. Take a look at this analysis, for example (noting the credentials of the writers):

… where we find the conclusion, In sum, given the paucity of information about their performance as source control in real-world settings, along with the extremely low efficiency of cloth masks as filters and their poor fit, there is no evidence to support their use by the public or healthcare workers to control the emission of particles from the wearer.

So, when there is both research concluding that masks work and research concluding that masks do not work, what does this suggest? — It suggests to me that we really do not know, and that policy dictates to act as though we do know are acts of desperation to create appearances of doing something, to make the masses feel better, to maintain public/institutional trust, or to signal compliance with unproven beliefs of elected leaders.

Still in the summary, he goes on to say that they cannot work due to aerosol size – this is not an amazing insight by the non hygiene expert physicist, this was never denied by anyone. The point is though that the propagation of a cloud of aerosols is very different when sneezing etc with or without a mask.

I fail to see why you emphasize the hygiene profession, when the principle question of mask efficiency is precisely a physics question, a science question whose proper evaluation is NOT merely dependent on traditional practices endorsed by a given profession, but rather dependent on evidence obtained by examining the physical fundamentals upon which those traditions rest. Appeal to a professional traditions does not eliminate this need for evidence.

The propagation of a cloud of aerosols is different HOW? That is the more specific question. How exactly does such a cloud behave, from a physics standpoint, in detail? I do not see that this question has been answered, and until it is answered, we cannot assume simply that one aspect of fluid flow determines the infective ability of this cloud.

Consider that the cloud is not stopped, but changed in its direction of flow and in its intensity of impact. Side jets of a sneeze, for example, emanating from the sides and top of a mask near the nose, propel the cloud in a focused, pressure-driven stream upward and laterally, while the porosity of a simple cloth mask still allows considerable bulk of the cloud to penetrate, with many times the necessary dose of virus particles to cause an infection.

So, the point is that this level of physical detail has not been studied or modeled, as I see it, and current practices are heavily dependent on tradition, backed by little more than incomplete, idealized laboratory exercises that test a limited set of circumstances, under non-real-world conditions, where the human factor of proper compliance is all but denied.

Which is why it had been said from the outset that the masks do not protect one from getting Covid, but rather mitigate the spread by an infected wearer of a mask.

So, are you under the impression that masks eliminate infective, aerosolized particles from the air? — that masks on a multitude of people (with all their collective side leakage and porosity allowing significant penetration of aerosolized clouds) significantly control the infective dose of particles available to penetrate masks from the outside? — and that somehow these outside particles can get IN effectively to infect, yet the inside particles contained by the mask cannot get OUT effectively to infect?, even though those outside particles originated as the inside particles that managed to escape? I hope you see the conundrum here.

Which is important because most people don’t even know they had or have Covid. And so it is already clear before the end of his summary that there is great potential for this paper to go off the rails.

No. Which is irrational, given what I just wrote. Hence, I fail to see any “going off the rails” by Rancourt. I do suggest, however, that you might not even be on the rails, but rather somewhere in the clouds.

You told Pachauri to stick to his railroads and maybe you should get some inspiration from this line of thinking. A Physicist is not a hygiene experts.

Again, you argue from profession appeal, which is not convincing. Why not argue the facts, point by point, regardless of what profession brings them out? By your reasoning, I cannot consider anything you write worthy of attention, because you are not a professional writer.

Hygiene professors even rebuke virologists who speak out about prevention on national TV, saying that they are outside of their expertise.

Yawn! You do it again — appeal to profession, in an attempt to divert from specific arguments on their own merit. And you ignore the fact that the principles of one profession can be embedded in the practices of another profession and often overlooked or insufficiently handled, resulting in practices based on tradition, not validated by the profession needed to validate those practices.

And on a general note, there is no such thing as Covid or Covid 19 since February because it is called Sars Cov 2 since then.

You are NOT correct here. SARS-CoV-2 is how it is written, and what this is … is the VIRUS that causes Covid-19, which is the DISEASE. This seems needlessly confusing to have two names, but that’s my understanding: The virus has a name, and the disease caused by the virus has a slightly different name. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus name. Covid-19 is the disease name associated with the virus that causes the disease.

Robert Austin
June 14, 2020 7:27 am

“no such thing as Covid or Covid 19 since February”
Don’t be a nomenclature prig. It smacks of “holier than thou” ism. Makes one want to call it “Wuhan flu” out of spite.

Reply to  Robert Austin
June 14, 2020 10:30 am

The best “nomenclature pigs” should strive to be correct pigs, like this little piggie (moi). (^_^)

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 14, 2020 12:51 pm

Well, yeah, you wrote “prig”, and I read “pig”, … so I should have written, “this little priggie”.

Pig, prig — I wonder whether the small spelling difference reflects in the difference between the characters that those spellings label. Namely, is a prig more often a pig than not? Can a pig be a prig?

… deep questions for highly disciplined minds to probe.

I know, I know, off topic to the max, but, hey, give a guy a chance to gloss over his failed attempts at being clever.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 16, 2020 12:51 pm

FYI Robert I complained about the censorship. Here’s what happened:

Thanks for contacting us. We don’t comment on individual cases.

In rare cases where we feel the need to remove content, we communicate this to the member who posted it. Discussion and scrutiny ultimately advance science and generally, at ResearchGate, we err on the side of supporting freedom of expression. However, if we have reason to believe that content on our platform has the potential to cause harm, then we reserve the right to remove it.

My Response:
I find your response totally unacceptable. Virtually all the 17 million members of ResearchGate are highly educated and very intelligent people who are quite capable of making their own informed decisions about what is accurate or inaccurate. The idea that we need ResearchGate to censor material to protect us from things that have “the potential to cause harm” is ludicrous and insulting

Reply to  Ralph Westfall
June 16, 2020 8:46 pm

Nearly ANYTHING has the “potential to cause harm” if inexact, misunderstood, over hyped, misapplied, used with excess confidence…

With that “potential to cause harm” you wouldn’t publish anything;

Bob Rogers
June 17, 2020 9:51 am

The navy released a study from the TR yesterday. 80% of those not wearing masks were infected. 60% of those wearing masks were infected. So at least in the confined spaces of a warship, masks help some.

Reply to  Bob Rogers
June 18, 2020 3:20 pm

Again, you cannot look at only masks — that is simple minded, correlation/causation conflation.

Every single day, the sun rises, and about a couple hours later, I am starving. I could do a detailed statistical study showing you how closely linked my morning appetite is with the rising of the sun.

But does the sun’s rising every day CAUSE me to be hungry two hours later?

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