Some Observations On the Efficacy of Masks in a #COVID19 World

Guest post by Kevin Kilty

Some weeks ago, Pat Frank suggested that I might consider writing an essay about the efficacy of masks and mandates to wear masks during this pandemic. I hesitated doing so at first, but March 8th I noticed another research effort on the part of the CDC to justify masks as a prophylactic strategy.[1] This effort seems very deficient in my view and so this essay resulted. What I write here is a summary of a much larger work in progress.

Lincoln Moses and Frederick Mostellar long ago suggested that public policy be organized as experiments so that we might learn of its effectiveness, or lack thereof, and avoid successive failures.[2] When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived last spring, I wrote that we didn’t need to go through successive battles with exponential processes, but that we appeared not ready to gather useful data and evidence about the effectiveness of social distancing and other advice in this battle.[3] Considering the tendency of people to don a mask against all sorts of bad air is so universal that even screen writers employ it to add realism to a disaster scene, one would think we would know something about their effectiveness.[4] We do and we don’t. While I am told by some people employed in medicine along with many amateurs that masks are essential to controlling spread of SARS-COV-2; highly reputable authorities, many of them, thousands of them, make much more modest and even opposite claims.[5]

How might we analyze these competing claims? I see three avenues of attack: First, we can examine theoretical reasons for and against masks from a mechanical perspective. Second, there are limited experiments known as randomized clinical trials available, all of which have some deficiencies and limited pertinence. Third, we can examine observations of the progress of this epidemic as shown by cases in the light of local mandates. These observations and the methods used to evaluate them are quite deficient in many ways, but they do tend toward similar conclusions.

Mechanical Considerations

The CDC, WHO, and local departments of health have issued a variety of advisories about masks which they update periodically. A typical advisory begins as follows:

“Because the virus is transmitted predominantly by inhaling respiratory droplets from infected persons, universal mask use can help reduce transmission.”

As a rationale for masks this fails because it does not mention a necessary prior element. In order to work, masks have to attenuate the guilty aerosols. The individual aerosols involved could be only a micrometer or few micrometers in size. The individual virions are in the range of 50-130 nanometers.[6] I have looked at a number of cloth masks that one can purchase and found their pore sizes to be 0.05 to 0.15 millimeters. This is 1000 times larger than virions and hundreds of times larger than small aerosols. No wonder these packages of masks should come with disclaimers. Adding to this issue of excessive pore size is that cloth masks are not made of certified materials, are manufactured to no standard, are often ill-fitting displaying gaps aside the nose and on the cheeks, or pulled down below the nose, and sometimes placed over a beard. Flat surgical masks do better at times with the excessive pore size problem but still present issues with poor fit and gaps.

There is a mask that corrects most of these deficiencies. The N-95 mask is made of qualified materials and manufactured to a standard. These masks attenuate 95% of particles in the size range of 0.3 to 0.5 micrometers. However, they still require attention to fit to reduce gaps, and they are not guaranteed to halt very small aerosols the size of individual virions. A news article last summer in the Japanese newspaper, The Asahi Shimbun,[7] summarized measurements that researchers made on particle attenuation of cloth, gauze, and N-95 masks, supports what I have summarized here. Cloth and gauze masks have zero effectiveness; while N-95 masks perform to specification, but only if fitted and worn properly. And even then there is no guarantee they prevent the transmission of disease.

There is one more mechanical aspect to ponder. Often in a crisis people will offer what expertise they can – they recycle their expertise. Something I am doing here. Recently a number of researchers in the field of fluid dynamics have weighed in with measurements and simulations (as one would expect) using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The AIP journal Physics of Fluids produced a special issue in October 2020 highlighting the physics of masks. One study uses CFD to model persons wearing masks inside and outside, in various conditions of air flow, to address ability of masks to attenuate aerosols ejected from a cough or a sneeze.[8] They state in conclusion…

“…our results suggest that, while in indoor environments wearing a mask is very effective to protect others, in outdoor conditions with ambient wind flow present wearing a mask might be essential to protect ourselves from pathogen-carrying saliva particulates escaping from another mask wearing individual in the vicinity.”

This means, I presume, that masks are useful in a situation when all around are sick, and sneezing, wheezing, and coughing — in other words, in a Covid ward of a health care facility. What does “very effective” mean? If it means a very great attenuation of particles, greater than 95% say, then this still has to be interpreted in the light of findings that as few as 300 virions can lead to disease.[9] However, one would think that if coughing and sneezing are the issue, then covering a cough or sneeze should do as well, or perhaps even better when one considers the problem of ill-fit and aerosol escaping through gaps. My experience since March 2020 is that I never encounter anyone in public who are so sick that they are simply sneezing and coughing with abandon.

This computational fluid dynamics approach to determining the efficacy of masks resembles the equivalent modeling approach to climate change. They imply that models define reality when, in fact, it should be that observations and measurements do. There is no means to turn CFD models into clinical outcomes.   

In summary, there are mechanical reasons to suppose that masks could reduce the spread of virus in some settings, but none appear pertinent to the materials used to construct masks, or to the ways the public wear them in about 98% of situations. Opposed to supposing that masks might work, or modeling how they might work, we can only learn what efficacy they have by making experiments or observations.

Experiments

The closest thing I have found to true experiments regarding masks are a small number of randomized clinical trials (RCTs). A surprisingly few RCTs involving masks and respirators have been done.[10] I will summarize only two of these. Of these one is pre-COVID-19 and not controversial, and the other is post COVID-19 and subject to controversy and censorship.

There are many respiratory diseases which circulate in the human population. The recent epidemics of MERS, SARS, Ebola and influenza provoked a search for effective non-pharmaceutical interventions. In one example, a group of doctors became interested in how well cloth masks performed for preventing infection in hospitals because such masks are in wide use in the developing world. This trial involved 1607 volunteers at 14 hospitals in Hanoi, Vietnam working in high-risk wards. There were three arms in this RTC: cloth masks, surgical masks, and a control arm of “standard practice” which involved some mask usage but at about one-half the compliance rate of the two treatment arms. The study took place over a four week period, and was to the authors’ knowledge, the first RCT involving cloth masks. Among their findings were that particle attenuation was virtually nil in the cloth masks (97% infiltration), and surprisingly poor in these particular medical masks (44% infiltration). The rate of infection in the cloth mask wearers was double that in the medical mask wearers; medical masks showed some effectiveness, but this contradicted earlier studies showing no efficacy to the medical masks.[11] The researchers conclude that cloth masks should not be advocated for health-care workers, at least until a much better design of such is produced.[12]

The second RCT was performed in Denmark last spring and was subject to censorship by our social media as well as facing some publication resistance.[13] It involved 4862 participants who completed the study. It is more pertinent to this essay because it addressed the efficacy of masks outside of a health care setting. Participants were divided into a control group asked to refrain from wearing masks when out of their home and a treatment arm asked to wear a mask when out of the home for three hours per day. Both groups were ask to follow other social distancing guidelines in order to prevent confounding of masks and distancing which have similar if not identical effects. The primary measured outcome was the number of participants showing SARS-CoV-2 or other respiratory viral infections after one month as determined from PCR testing or hospital diagnosis.

The outcome produced an infection rate of 2.1% in the control arm against 1.8% in the treatment arm. However, the confidence interval of odds ratio (CI of 0.53 to 1.23) included a value of 1.0 almost at its center, suggesting no significant difference in outcomes. If one were to yet insist that the small difference in attack rate (42/2392=1.8% versus 53/2470=2.1%) is nonetheless an important risk reduction, the absolute risk reduction implied (0.003) translates into 30,000 hours (90 hours/0.003) of mask wearing to prevent one case of COVID-19 when community prevalence is around 2.0%. Take that as you may.

There is an interesting series of response letters to this study that are published along with it. These make some legitimate points about design deficiencies. It is certainly true that a study involving masks cannot be a “true RCT” because one cannot blind a study involving masks to a clinical end. The wearer knows they are wearing a mask, and so does the rest of the public. I won’t belabor this point by describing what can go wrong in an unblinded study. Another criticism focuses on using PCR tests, with their false positives and negatives, to measure outcome – a problem which will return in the next section about observations. However despite some criticism, one might note that the outcome of the CHAMP study, in which U.S. Marine Corps recruits were subjected to rigorous social distancing, hygiene and mask wearing resulted in just about the same attack rate as found in this study.[14]   I doubt it is possible in the present politicized and hysterical atmosphere to do an RCT on any non-pharmaceutical intervention that could satisfy critics, but none that I know of have shown significant effectiveness of masks.[15]

Observations

Before launching into a discussion of what observations concerning the epidemic may mean, a brief segue into the incubation period and other influences on reporting is instructive. The incubation period of Sars-CoV-2 is probably ten or fourteen days long. Following exposure there is a probability on each successive day of someone becoming a case with half of the ultimate cases developing by day five or six.[16] The process behaves like a low pass filter with a delay. Figure 1 shows this. One-hundred exposures on day zero, presuming all result in cases, produces rising numbers until 19 cases occur on day five. Then they decline to zero. 

This has two important considerations. First, it smooths the results of any factor producing a change to R, the reproductive ratio, and makes such changes harder to detect. That is, it reduces resolution. Second, it produces a correlation of cases day to day, so that counts of cases on successive days are not independent of one another, and this has the effect of reducing the degrees of freedom in observational data.[17]

Add to this the distortions resulting from common graphing options like 7 to 21 day averaging done with one-sided (causal) filters; and distortions which resulted from switching from clinical diagnosis to “lab confirmed” cases resting on PCR tests, and what one has is a mess. It is easy to reach a point where what a graph shows today is what might have happened three weeks earlier.

Figure 1. From a single exposure event cases climb for many days afterward in the incubation period. This behaves like a low-pass filter with a delay.

One does not have to search extensively to find evidence suggesting that epidemics proceed unhindered despite all sorts of mandates. I know of no epicurve showing a clear effect. Figure 2, using data drawn from the Covid Tracking Project, for example, shows a comparison among Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Despite mandates of various rigor, introduced at different times, the epicurves are virtually the same.[18] The Swiss Policy Research Group produced a nice twelve-paned panel, found here, which makes comparisons among various countries, with the same result – masks have no obvious benefit. A more detailed time series of cases in four German cities during April, 2020 also shows no benefit;[18] however, I would criticize these time series as being of such short duration following the mandatory mask order as to have possibly missed the period of greatest effect, if there is one, just over incubation delay.

Figure 2. Comparison of epicurves from three neighboring states, with timing of mask mandates shown. This was done by @ianmSC on Twitter using data drawn from the Covid Tracking Project.

The global data firm Dynata reported that by the first of July mask wearing in Houston and south Florida was likely to be 80% even before mandates; yet these places saw multiple large waves of infection thereafter.[20] California and New York applied rigorous mask mandates, yet still went through several large waves in the summer and autumn. The USA as a whole, in which 39 states imposed mask mandates in April or before, exhibits an epicurve almost identical, except for vertical scale, to Wyoming, the smallest state, even though Wyoming applied no state-wide mandate until November 9. The CDC reported that most people contracting COVID had worn masks, although self-reporting is notoriously inaccurate.[21]

There are many problems with our observational data. Death counts have been biased by incentives provided to hospitals over payments for COVID-19 deaths.[22] While many states tried to build useful epicurves by placing cases on date of symptom onset, many publically available data sets were built by date of case report and become dominated by the cycle of bureaucratic testing and reporting rather than by characteristics of the disease. To see how these differ Figure 3 shows Colorado data from 08/02/20. The difference is stark with a dominant seven day cycle which some people have confused with a dynamic of the disease and which disappears in the date of onset rendition. A subtle effect like mask usage is likely to be lost in these extraneous influences.

Figure 3. Comparison of epicurves by date of onset vs. report date.

 The case data is a mess because when it began early in 2020 cases were confirmed through symptoms or at least a probable contact with another case, but eventually became dominated by mass testing of people without symptoms using PCR tests. Once this mass testing took hold even states trying to maintain an epicurve by date of onset could no longer do so. Figure 4 shows the curve for the state of Wyoming which became dominated by the weekly cycle of PCR testing which began at the University in Laramie in mid-august, but really took effect with return of students around September 1. Because so many of the “lab confirmed” cases had no associated symptoms a full one-third of cases remained always under investigation and the date of report became the de facto date of onset.[23]

This university provides an interesting case study in itself. The total number of cases from the start of the epidemic to the 31st of August in the entire county was134 – less than one case per day. The university instituted a very rigorous set of rules for reopening including mask wearing in all settings inside and out, rules for limiting number of persons in university vehicles, foot traffic patterns inside buildings, dedicated entrances and exits, periodic sanitation of all surfaces, social distance guidelines and even a web site to report persons not following rules. I did a few informal surveys around campus in September and October and thought mask compliance was between 80 and 90%.

Nevertheless by October 15, six weeks later, the county had added 780 cases of which 551 (71%) were connected to the U.W. campus. The rules and masks appeared to present no barrier to the spread of our mini-epidemic.[24]

Figure 4. Confirming cases using lab PCR tests caused the appearance of a seven day period in the epicurve.

Evidence provided to support mask mandates consisted mainly of a single study.[25] There have been many criticisms of this study, including one which suggested it be retracted.[26] However, ignoring its controversy for the moment, let’s just focus on what the authors have to say.

They state, first of all, that masks may have effectiveness as large as 85%, but that this estimate has low confidence – precise number but narrow confidence interval. Second, they notice a diminished effectiveness between N95 respirators on the one hand and cloth masks with 12 to 16 plies on the other. No one wears cloth masks with even one-fourth as many plies. Thus, this can’t be an endorsement of cloth masks. No one has unlimited access to N95 respirators,[27] and couldn’t because there is not enough manufacturing capacity to supply them to the public in general. Thus, this “essential” study does no more than reiterate what the other sources of information, including the measurements of particle attenuation reported in the Asahi Shimbun article, have to say. Its recommendations are not pertinent to reality of mask wearing by the general public. This is an unscientific rationale.   

A more recent effort to promote masks as essential to controlling the pandemic appears to me to have many shortcomings.[28] This is a retrospective study of the history of the epidemic on a county level, referenced to timing of mask mandates and orders to close or limit restaurant traffic between March 2020 and October 2020. It is what economists would call an “event study”.[29] Problems with the study include:

  1. The event involved in an event study should be independent of the data. It is not in this case. Mask mandates were generally applied through political pressure during a pandemic wave. Often applied when the wave had begun to wane.
  2. Mask mandates are probably hopelessly confounded with other orders such as closure of restaurants. According to the researchers themselves, the mask mandates began in April in 39 states, and restaurant closures began in 49 states in March and April. Two influences atop one another. The claim to having a mask measurement unconfounded by closures cannot be true, or there was a lot of data sorting involved which becomes another confounder.
  3. The paper is missing details about the statistical methods and calculation of significance.
  4. Even if significant in a statistical sense, the effect seems very small.

The worst flaw seems to me to be a subtle one. The underlying data of the CDC study are curves of cumulative cases and deaths, which I have already explained are flawed to begin with. However, the typical cumulative curve, being a logistic curve, has a particular shape that begins as an almost exponential rise but quickly passes through an inflection with constantly diminishing slope as it approaches a horizontal asymptote. Such a curve will display a long sequence of days in which the case rate declines. An average of daily changes over segments of this decline, even with noise added, which are then referred to an earlier time period, will produce results just like those in the CDC study. No matter what the cause of the limit to an epidemic, the result is the same. What has happened is the CDC has chosen a statistic having a nearly perfect expectation to the characteristics of a logistic curve from any limiting influence, and cannot draw a distinction between the null hypothesis and a particular alternative. It is like circular logic.

Conclusions

There are situations, health care settings mainly or situations of extreme community prevalence with a lot of coughing and sneezing in public, where masks serve a useful purpose. Yet, people who insisted last spring that the epidemic would go away with mask mandates could not have been more wrong. Every consideration shows this.

Nearly all the masks we see people wearing are constructed to no standard, made of varying sorts of cloth, are poorly fitting, are worn with near complete disregard for effectiveness, reused who knows how many times, used for what else we know not, and are often completely open at the cheeks, nose, chin and beard. They appear mainly useful for making a person touch their face constantly.

How about experimental or observational evidence from the present pandemic? The only experimental evidence is consistent with the benefits being so small they cannot be distinguished from occurrence by chance. Probably no new experimental evidence will become available for the following reason: People have probably changed their behavior drastically during this pandemic leading to too many confounding factors to identify the effect of just one. As the epidemic wanes recruiting sufficient subjects for RTCs becomes difficult.

Masks mandates are not a risk free intervention. They have a poor effect of civil society, they absorb resources, they possibly carry health risks of their own, and they certainly contribute to mistaken notions of safety and risk. Masks seem to me like a solution to a political problem which should alone raise skepticism about all claims.


References/Notes:

1- Gery P. Guy,Jr. et al, Association of State-issued Mask Mandates and Allowing On-Premises Dining with County-level COVID-19 Case and Death Growth Rates, https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7010e3.htm?s_cid=mm7010e3_w, last accessed 3/8/2021.

2-Lincoln Moses and Frederick Mostellar,  Experimentation: Just do it!, In Statistics and Public Policy, Bruce D. Spencer Ed., Oxford U Press, 1997.

3-Futile Fussings: A history of Graphical Failure from Cattle to #coronavirus https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/03/31/futile-fussings, last accessed 03/13/2021.

4-Close Encounters of the Third Kind, for example.

5-I have a collection including about three-dozen essay, opinion pieces, and research papers, discussing the topics of social distancing, mask mandates, lockdowns, school closures. These include contributions by Dr.s Scott Atlas, John Ioannidis, Paul Alexander, Donald Henderson, Jay Battacharya, Sunetra Gupta, Carl Henehgan, Tom Jefferson, Martin Kulldorff, and others; and almost all of these have been ignored, scorned, or censored in some way.

[6]-Individual virions are mentioned as having various sizes ranging from 50 to 130 nanometers in various internet sources. Corona viruses are pleomorphic which means they have a variety of shapes.

7- Cloth face masks offer zero shield against virus, a study shows, Nayon Kon, The Asahi Shimbun, July 7, 2020.

8-Ali Khosronejad, et al, Fluid Dynamics simulations show that facial masks can suppress the spread of COVID-19 in indoor environments, AIP Advances 10, 125109, (2020); https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0035414;

9-Referenced in Imke Schroeder, COVID-19: A Risk Assessment Perspective, J Chem Health Saf., 2020 May 11: acs:chas.0c00035

10-Tom Jefferson, and Carl Heneghan, Masking lack of evidence with politics, Center for Evidence Based Medicine, July 23, 2020. In particular the authors note the surprisingly small number of RTCs considering the great importance of controlling respiratory disease.

11-C. Raina MacIntyre, et al, A cluster randomized trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers. BMJ Open 2015;5;e006577. doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006577. Two earlier studies conducted in China by same group found no effectiveness for medical masks.

12-By significant in this context the authors mean a 95% confidence interval that does not enclose a relative risk of infection of 1.0, but is entirely above or below 1.0.

13-Henning Bundgaard, et.al. Effectiveness of adding a mask recommendation to other public health measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection in Danish mask wearers, Annals of Internal Medicine, 18 November 2020. https://doi.org/10.7326/M20-6817

14-Andrew G. Letizia, et al, SARS-CoV-2 Transmission among Marine Recruits during Quarantine, N Engl J Med 2020; 383:2407-2416. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2029717

15- Not finding significant protection, significant in the statistical sense, does not mean masks are completely ineffective, or counter-effective, but rather that their effect was not so large that it could be distinguished from a chance outcome at some level, usually 95%, of confidence.

16-P.E. Sartwell, The distribution of incubation periods of infectious disease, Amer. Jour. Hyg., 1950, 51:310-318. Sartwell lists coronaviruses as having a log mean of 0.4 (2.5 days) and dispersion of 1.5. However, a recent training class stated a median of 5-6 days for SARS-CoV-2. I used 5 days for purposes of producing Figure 1.

17-swprs.org/2018/10/01/covid-19-intro/ search for the English language version.

18- This panel of four German city graphs can be found at swprs.org/face-masks-evidence/ last accessed on 3/12/2021

19-This is well known, but see for example, chaamjamal, Illusory Statistical Power in Time Series Analysis, April 30, 2019, https://tambonthongchai.com/2019/40/30/illusory-statistical-power-in-time-series-analysis/ last accessed 1/18/2020

20-WSJ July 29, 2020.

21-CDC report referenced in article at The Federalist, CDC Study Finds Overwhelming Majority Of People Getting Coronavirus Wore Masks, October 12, 2020 https://thefederalist.com/2020/10/12/cdc-study-finds-overwhelming-majority-of-people-getting-coronavirus-wore-masks/

22-Payments for covid deaths, but not for others is incentive enough to bias results.

23-My attempts to learn how many cycles were being employed to report PCR results revealed that no one at any responsible agency in my state knew. All they would do is refer me to a misleading and wrong page at the supplier of the tests. However, a news item reported that researchers at Wayne State University a variety of cycle numbers are used to report results nationally including numbers from 25 to above 37. Viral Loads In COVID-19 Infected Patients Drop, Along With Death Rate, Study Finds Researchers find “a downward trend in the amount of virus detected.” Joseph Curl, DailyWire.com, Sep 27, 2020

24-UW to implement enhanced covid-19 testing program Monday, UW press release, Oct. 15. Data from this also mentions the university expects to perform 15000 tests per week. Yet my asking questions revealed that no one seemed to know what to expect from false positive and negative results. Amazingly few people recognize that interpreting the outcomes of PCR tests is a matter of conditional probability and cannot be done reliably without other information. Even one-half of the faculty and students at Harvard medical school did not know this according to an example from Julian L. Simon in his book “Resampling: The New Statistics, 1997.”

25-Derek K Chu, MD, et al, Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person to person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic

review and meta-analysis, The Lancet,  v 395, issue 10242, p1973-1987, June 27, 2020 https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31142-9

26-For example, the Center for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM) at Oxford University objects to its social distancing conclusions.

27-The term “N95 Respirator” is ambiguous. These respirators are designed to be tight fitting, but most N95s are manufactured for construction, while there are N95s specifically manufactured to prevent disease transmission. Unfortunately the studies cited do not present a clear picture of which N95s were employed. 

28-Refer to note #1 above. But in addition to my concerns listed here more were raised in Paul E. Alexander, The CDC’s Mask Mandate Study: Debunked, AIER, March 4, 2021 https://www.aier.org/article/the-cdcs-mask-mandate-study-debunked/ last accessed 3/13/2021

29-John Staddon, Scientific Research: How Science Works, Fails to Work, and Pretends to Work, Routledge, 2018, p. 124.

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March 16, 2021 6:16 pm

You want to hear from someone with strong opinions on masks?

This presentation by Dr Ryan Cole contains some trenchant views.
 
https://youtu.be/oA-fTaGadyc?t=1

Last edited 29 days ago by Philip Mulholland
saveenergy
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
March 17, 2021 3:53 am

See how well masks protect -Doctor uses Vape Aerosols to show how different masks work

Last edited 28 days ago by saveenergy
n.n
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
March 17, 2021 8:42 am

Postoperative wound infections and surgical face masks: a controlled study
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1853618/

Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers
https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-6817

Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses
https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006207.pub5/full

Covid-19 — A White Paper – To @RealDonaldTrump and @CDC
https://www.market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=240811

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
March 17, 2021 9:01 am

Thanks Philip for this and the other two medical videos of doctors who are working with patients. Dr Cole speaks from 00:40 to 24:40.

If the world’s largest coal mine is having a major problem on site do not speak to the CEO in some distant plush office but to those working at the coal face – and certainly not politicians and their covid-19 academic medical advisors.

March 16, 2021 6:28 pm

“Yet, people who insisted last spring that the epidemic would go away with mask mandates could not have been more wrong.”

Nobody suggested that. But in the absence of anything else, it helps.

What does not help the credibility of this site is continuing to bang on about Covid-19 and to push a lot of libertarian nonsense that has already resulted in 500,000 American deaths.

Reply to  Climate Detective
March 16, 2021 6:38 pm

Here are the direct links to the testimony of two physicians
Dr. McCullough’s testimony:
https://youtu.be/QAHi3lX3oGM
 
Dr. Urso’s testimony:
https://youtu.be/d8o58HB8uYE

Scissor
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
March 16, 2021 8:46 pm

Thanks for these. It’s good that truth is finding its way out to be heard.

Reply to  Philip Mulholland
March 16, 2021 11:28 pm

Thanks for those beacons of sanity.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  Philip Mulholland
March 17, 2021 7:28 am

I just sneezed on my computer screen. Sure wish I’d been wearing a mask. Didn’t have time to reach for a hanky…would have been a super-spreader event, say at a wedding….That’s what masks are for. The secondary benefit of breathing in and out through them is very low compared to sneeze catching…..

John Tillman
Reply to  DMacKenzie
March 17, 2021 8:08 am

That’s why God made elbows.

ciphertext
Reply to  DMacKenzie
March 17, 2021 8:23 am

Yes, the mask would have kept the ejecta from your screen. The masks currently in use would not have prevented you from pushing viral aerosols into your environment.

Mask use == limited to no “booger” transmission
Mask use != aerosol transmission or inhalation

Masks as referenced above would be the cloth with 1-2 ply, flat surgical type, or cupped paper type.

Andrew Kerber
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 16, 2021 6:49 pm

Actually the information he provided agrees with the most recent cdc information. Less than 2% improvement in numbers from masks. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/pdfs/mm7010e3-H.pdf

Bryan A
Reply to  Andrew Kerber
March 16, 2021 7:47 pm

while some masks are more effective than others (N-95 vs 3 Layer Cloth vs 1 Layer Cloth)
Not wearing a mask is 100% ineffective

Wescom
Reply to  Bryan A
March 16, 2021 8:17 pm

Not necessarily true. Simply handling the mask to keep in place while talking transfers biological gunk to and from the mask. Not disposing of a paper mask or washing a cloth mask after each use may retain more infective junk with each additional use. Water droplets stopped by a mask are desiccated over time freeing virions for transmission in and out of a mask, transferring them from a high concentration area to a low concentration area (as in store to store shopping).

JoeF
Reply to  Bryan A
March 17, 2021 5:54 am

“Not wearing a mask is 100% ineffective”

I disagree. In supermarkets, people seem to think the mask offers super-immunity. It makes it impossible to stay a distance from them. They walk right up to you and reach past you (“Excuse me, hon”). We would be better off without the useless masks so we could see people as the potential infectors that they are. Or perhaps we could have all worn USB-chargeable proximity sensors that beep if we get too close.

TonyG
Reply to  JoeF
March 17, 2021 8:25 am

I’ve been making that observation for months: people seem to forget ALL the other protocols in favor of the mask, almost seeing it as a magic talisman. For example: how many people do you see wearing gloves? The virus doesn’t spread by contact if you wear a mask?

very old white guy
Reply to  Bryan A
March 17, 2021 6:04 am

Not wearing a mask is 100% effective in preventing you from looking like an insane hysterical fool.

S.K.
Reply to  very old white guy
March 17, 2021 10:01 am

Wearing a mask is 100% proof we are subservient. On Mar.20 let’s stop being subservient.

https://principia-scientific.com/why-world-freedom-day-march-20th-2021-is-so-important/

Fran
Reply to  S.K.
March 17, 2021 11:01 am

In BC, store personnel have been made legally responsble for enforcing mask wearing – no mask, no service. Enforceable by up to $200k fine to store.

Al Miller
Reply to  Bryan A
March 17, 2021 6:50 am

You neglect the obvious facts that the vast majority of non-medical people will touch their dirty, piece of cloth face covering far more often greatly increasing their own risk AND will think it is protective and will be more inclined to allow others near. I witness this every day and shake my head. Dr. Fauci was correct in his initial response on 60 minutes, however he has since become political.
Therefore, no, a mask IS worse than nothing for most people.

Sunsettommy
Editor
Reply to  Bryan A
March 17, 2021 8:20 pm

Ryan,

the simple fact that masks do not prevent TRANSMISSION of the Virus. gets ignored all the time it takes just ONE virus to possibly infect you, so even if the mask blocks 75% of the virus it still fails.

Bryan A
Reply to  Sunsettommy
March 17, 2021 10:51 pm

and not wearing one blocks 0% of the virus 100% of the time

Roger
Reply to  Bryan A
March 18, 2021 11:31 am

Nonsense. An infected person wearing a mask accumulates a viral load on its surface. Wearers constantly fidget with them and transfer the virus to their fingers. Then they rummage through the refrigerated fresh meats section in the grocery store and transfer the infection there, where it remains until the 4th of July next year. Casual masking is not only ineffective, it potentially aids viral spread.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 16, 2021 7:00 pm

The Chicom’s deliberately unleashed the Wuhan virus on the world. It is they who are responsible for all the deaths.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 16, 2021 11:49 pm

Did China deliberately unleash China Virus onto the world? I would say no

Did China, once the virus was global roaming and impossible to stop, decide to take full advantage of it to engage in economic warfare against the panicking and gullible West? I would say YES.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Craig from Oz
March 17, 2021 4:41 am

I would say yes. The Chicoms had the Wuhan virus circulating in that area, and they shut down traffic from the Wuhan area to all other areas of China, but they continued to allow international traffic out of the Wuhan area.

They did this deliberately, knowing what was going to happen which is evidenced by them shutting down internal Chinese travel.

This wasn’t an accident. The Chicoms deliberately murdered millions of people and have caused suffering to millions more, now and in the future.

The Chicoms are guilty of deliberate mass murder. It’s as obvious as the nose on your face.

John Tillman
Reply to  Craig from Oz
March 17, 2021 6:31 pm

Why are my comments opposing the ChiCom regime always blocked on WUWT?

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 17, 2021 7:03 am

If China deliberately unleashed kung flu on the world, I highly doubt they would do it a few blocks away from their level 4 bio lab researching these viruses. But then again, we’re in a world where elections are cheated right in our faces and we’re told it was the best and fairest evah!

Gerry, England
Reply to  Robert W Turner
March 17, 2021 7:33 am

If you are going to deliberately release a killer virus then it would be a good idea to ensure you had a vaccine for it yourself first. As they didn’t that suggests the leak was an accident, albeit one waiting to happen by having a virus lab surrounded by millions of people.

Given how China operates, if internal travel is banned who would necessarily think it was due to a virus escaping but if you ban international travel you are going to have to say why. So in keeping with trying to suppress what is an embarrassment to their dear leaders, they allowed travelers to spread the virus before having to admit something was not right.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Gerry, England
March 18, 2021 12:36 pm

“If you are going to deliberately release a killer virus then it would be a good idea to ensure you had a vaccine for it yourself first. As they didn’t that suggests the leak was an accident, albeit one waiting to happen by having a virus lab surrounded by millions of people.”

I agree with that. I do believe the virus getting into the human population was an accident. I think that is the case because about the time the Wuhan virus started being noticed by Taiwan, not long afterwards, on about Nov.1, 2019, the Chicoms according to Taiwan, put all their military facilities on lockdown, all around Wuhan.

I believe this is when the Chicoms realized they had a big problem on their hands.

Also, if they had planned on releasing this virus into the human population, like you say, they would have waited until they had their own vaccine, so I think that is another sign they were unprepared and it was an accidental release.

But the release of the virus into areas outside Wuhun was a deliberate act by the Chicoms. They saw they had a big infection problem going on and they didn’t want to be the only ones in the world suffering from it, so they shared it with the world by allowing international traffic out of Wuhan to all parts of the world.

If the Chicoms had restricted international travel out of Wuhan, the virus would still have spread eventually, but not nearly as fast as it did, and if we had an extra year to prepare because of slowing its progress around the world, we could have saved many lives.

The deliberate release of the Wuhan virus into the world was a Crime against Humanity.

Last edited 27 days ago by Tom Abbott
George
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 19, 2021 5:51 am

Your assumption that the CCP cares about protecting their own is faulty. China is the nation that deliberately killed or starved approx. 100 million of their own in the mid 20th century. Their continued use of slave and conscript labor under horrible conditions is more evidence. Oh, I forgot their flourishing forced organ harvesting industry …..

Tom Abbott
Reply to  George
March 19, 2021 4:17 pm

You have a point about the Chicom leadership being ruthless even to their own people.

I suppose a really devious murderous dictator might develop the virus and develop a vaccine against the virus, but only for use of the Chicom elites. This way it looks like the Chinese people are suffering as much as the rest of the world, but the Chicom Elites don’t suffer because they were vaccinated.

I notice that Xi never got infected, or any of the top members of the Party. Maybe they were just real careful, or maybe they got the Wuhan virus and it was not reported

kmann
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 16, 2021 7:03 pm

“a lot of libertarian nonsense that has already resulted in 500,000 American deaths”

Now there’s a statement supported by nothing but Science! /sarc

Tom Abbott
Reply to  kmann
March 18, 2021 12:56 pm

There would have been more deaths than that if it had not been for Trump stopping all traffic from China as soon as he did.

Biden and the Democrats wanted the traffic to continue. That would have resulted in more Americans being infected sooner, and more deaths as a result.

Nobody moved, or would have moved, quicker than Trump. Trump saved numerous lives by stopping the China traffic, and he did this *against* the advice of *all* his advisors. That’s called leadership. And Trump’s decision proved to be the right one.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 16, 2021 7:08 pm

Climate Detective

nonsense that has already resulted in 500,000 American deaths.”

How many were a direct result of COVID-19? Deaths recoded in the USA have been a point of contention since the whole sc@m kicked off. Death from COVID-19 was recorded because there was a financial incentive to do so.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 16, 2021 11:34 pm

The deaths per capita in the U. S. are out of line with the rest of the world. The most likely explanation is that you are over counting. I find it inconceivable that US physicians are extraordinarily less competent than physicians in the rest of the world.

chemman
Reply to  BCBill
March 17, 2021 12:17 am

Not less competent but our CDC in Mar changed how Section 1 of our death certificates were to be filled in. Reversing a policy about Section 1 that had be effectively used since, IIRC, 2002. It had the effect of attributing to Covid-19 a death that was primarily caused by other things.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  BCBill
March 17, 2021 7:05 am

Last I checked we ranked 8th, behind nations in Europe including the EU.

Reply to  Robert W Turner
March 17, 2021 12:28 pm

The EU is not a nation in Europe…

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 17, 2021 6:09 am

There are virtually no deaths due to the flu. The earlier tests did not distinguish between flu and Covid.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Gerald Machnee
March 17, 2021 10:52 pm

None reported, you mean?

Scissor
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 16, 2021 7:27 pm

You are right CD, at first it was there is no reason to wear a mask. Then, it was two weeks to flatten the curve. Two weeks! That was over a year ago.

Please don’t lecture us in the face of all this lying, ignorance and insanity.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Scissor
March 17, 2021 3:58 am

Speaking for myself and a close circle of friends that I am still able to see, masks are donned only when required. The rest of the time they are stuffed into pockets or purses. We use them until we lose them. They are surprisingly resistant to tearing thus last a long time. The one I am using now is at least three months old….

David Blenkinsop
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 16, 2021 7:28 pm

Your use of the word ‘libertarian’ here is unhelpful, something not even hinted at in the head posting — if by ‘libertarian’ you mean the specifically ideological political movement. On the other hand, if you just mean the head poster might possibly want more freedom than currently available, is that a problem for you?

I can see where your head post quotation may be a bit of an overstatement by the head poster here. What has *really* been claimed over and over again is that “wearing masks saves lives”. How many times has that been said, again and again, basically saying that CoVid could be ‘disappeared’ or held at bay for a great many people who would otherwise have died? What proof or corroboration do you have that this ‘saves lives’ meme is at all true for the public mask mandates as such?

Another nearby quotation from the head poster, that I think is not only quite negative, but also observably *true*, is:

“They (masks) appear mainly useful for making a person touch their face constantly.”

Do we have a meme to go with the possible consequences of an annoying measure that generally causes people to touch their face more often?

AndyHce
Reply to  David Blenkinsop
March 17, 2021 1:05 am

Masks frequently cause a great deal of intense itching around my nose and mouth and a lesser amount of itching on other parts of my face. They also are responsible for my glasses fogging over a great deal of the time. Thus, for me at least, the statement that they cause much face touching is definitely true. Whether or not that has anything to do with potential virus infections is an independent question.

Chris Wright
Reply to  AndyHce
March 17, 2021 3:54 am

Yes, glasses fogging up due to the mask is a real pain.
I’m pretty sure the mask is essentially useless. It doesn’t filter the exhaled air. All the exhaled air instantly escapes through the gaps, hence the fogged glasses. Compared with no mask, the air probably escapes at a higher velocity due to the pressure needed to blow the air out from the mask. This could actually make masks more dangerous, though on the other hand the exhaled air’s velocity would tend to be more vertical rather than horizontal.

The OP did mention possible health problems caused by masks. I did read somewhere that masks can reduce the oxygen intake by up to 20%, and this can reduce the body’s immune effectiveness.
Chris

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  David Blenkinsop
March 17, 2021 4:01 am

“They (masks) appear mainly useful for making a person touch their face constantly.”

Exactly, within about five minutes of donning the thing, it has started poking into my eyes! I am constantly adjusting it away for the sake of little comfort.

Paul Jenkinson
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 16, 2021 7:50 pm

 “But in the absence of anything else, it helps.”

Perhaps if you could refer me to some evidence/research that the mask mandates have been effective anywhere in the world,it would cause me to re-consider my belief the masks are causing more harm than good.
Thank you.

Scissor
Reply to  Paul Jenkinson
March 16, 2021 8:24 pm

Reminds me of searching for keys under the lamppost because that’s where the light is.

MAL
Reply to  Paul Jenkinson
March 16, 2021 8:38 pm

“But in the absence of anything else, it helps.” No way wrong, Paul you are right’ in one case surgery, when the medical community looks at wearing a mask in a surgery the infection rate increase by 1% for the patients when the physicians and staff wear mask. I would say in certain conditions wearing mask is a bad thing. If the snowflakes would do a little research, they will find there have been a number of studies on this since the 1970s and they all reach the same conclusion. Yet they still wear mask in surgery. Dogma is hard to get rid of.

Bryan A
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 16, 2021 7:54 pm

So…
How far along has Bidon progressed with his 100,000,000 vaccinations in 100 days promise?
2 months in and my wife, who is qualified on several different requirements has yet to be able to book the inoculation due to a lack of availability

Reply to  Bryan A
March 16, 2021 8:25 pm

According to the FT he has already reached 108 million vaccinations. Not bad in under 60 days. Do you not read the news?

I suggest the lack of availability you are experiencing is down to the way the US healthcare system works. This has been designed by the GOP to favour Big Pharma and the rich. If you had a universal healthcare system you wouldn’t have a problem. In the UK we have almost finished vaccinating all the elderly and vulnerable. I suggest you start voting for Bernie Sanders and AOC in future.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 16, 2021 8:53 pm

Comparing a very tiny country to a very large one. Smart.

Enginer01
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
March 17, 2021 8:09 am

As I have mentioned, India (long-since the Brits left!) is doing MUCH better than the US or UK. Not Universal Heath Care (although I believe getting the poverty-stricken into good, free health care is cost-effective overall) , but lots of excellent Doctor’s allowed to prescribe ivermectin, zinc, Vitamin D and Azithromycin off-label without fear or losing their medical licenses.

Last edited 28 days ago by Enginer01
Rory Forbes
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 16, 2021 9:11 pm

I too live in a country with universal healthcare and Canada’s roll-out has been fraught with screw-ups … but hey, anyone who believes a brain dead AOC or a lifetime failure like Bernie Sanders is a useful alternative can’t be taken seriously.

John Dilks
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 16, 2021 9:22 pm

We don’t need your stinking universal healthcare.

bigoilbob
Reply to  John Dilks
March 17, 2021 6:08 am

We don’t need your stinking universal healthcare.”

And we’ve got the ranking to prove it! Right up there with Slovenia. You know, the country that gave us a FLOTUS straight out of a Sacha Baron Cohen Production. ******G SLOVENIA!!

https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/best-healthcare-in-the-world

Reply to  John Dilks
March 17, 2021 12:39 pm

public health exists because if the poor people get cholera or the plague, so too do the rich. I am a libertarian by instinct, but my libertarianism says ‘as much freedom as possible, given the need for public health and public order;

I wear a mask, I have had my jabs and I have been strict in lockdown.

I understand that the government and its experts dont have most of the answers, and WUWT commentators none at all, but I believe the government are trying,

What doesn’t help is people here turning a dangerous disease into a tinfoil hat conspiracy to deceive us in order to introduce draconian measures. Some elements of society would use it to achieve that, certainly, but it didnt start there.

As far as mask go, why go for a paranoid hypothesis when its clear that governments need to be seen to be doing something even if its relatively pointless and masks are a damned site cheaper than wind turbines

starzmom
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 17, 2021 1:19 pm

Yes, pointless, ineffective and draconian solutions are the best way to solve problems, especially if it means governments can be seen as doing something, even when they are not.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 18, 2021 1:05 pm

“I wear a mask, I have had my jabs and I have been strict in lockdown.

I understand that the government and its experts dont have most of the answers, and WUWT commentators none at all, but I believe the government are trying,”

I wear a mask, too, when appropriate, have had my vaccination, and I share your sentiments.

chemman
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 17, 2021 12:21 am

That 108 million is since Vaccinations started in December not since the start of the new Administration. You are just being flat dishonest.

Reply to  Climate Detective
March 17, 2021 2:54 am

Look what happens in Europe and / or Germany 😀

starzmom
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 17, 2021 9:35 am

I live in a US state and county where the vaccines are administered by the state and county, not by my doctor. It took three weeks after my group was eligible for them to contact me and allow me to make an appointment to get the vaccine. If this is socialized medicine, leave me out.

Juan
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 20, 2021 9:19 am

Our family friend just died from the vaccination. Another was paralyzed and another lost their hearing. It’s dangerous.

Scissor
Reply to  Bryan A
March 16, 2021 8:26 pm

Could be a blessing in disguise.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Bryan A
March 16, 2021 8:54 pm

Like so many things the problems show up in the last mile of delivery. I knew that when they designated 1a, 1b, 1c priority, what would happen is paralysis in unexpected situations. Say if they didn’t use up shots in the 1b group, someone didn’t show, then could they or could they not give those shots to some 1c or lower priority? Believe me, there are bureaucrats who will not deviate from plans even if it means more effective delivery or even if it means wasting shots.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 16, 2021 8:32 pm

Most of the deaths can be attributed to the media, Democrats and Fauci who denigrated President Trump when he quoted a successful doctor.

There are now over 200 studies showing the efficacy of HCQ, Vitamin D, Zinc, and Ivermectin: https://c19study.com/

comment image

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Gerald Machnee
March 18, 2021 1:15 pm

Yes, and our Medical authorities still have not promoted early treatment of the Wuhan virus even though it is obviously helpful.

A common sense treatment ignored by those who should know better, and who should be informing the public of best medical practices, and it’s all because of politics.

There are several reports out now where people who were infected with the Wuhan virus, recovered, and then experienced long-term side effects, were cured of these side effects after they got vaccinated. One woman had been experiencing side effects for 8 months and claimed they went away after she was vaccinated.

I don’t know why someone who has already been infected would need a vaccination, since the infection gives one immunity, but that’s the reports.

Interesting, but not rock-solid proof of anything.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 16, 2021 8:49 pm

I don’t know how you did it, but you manged to offer no real content but the fact that you are probably an authoritarian who would likely have been the first in line to propose yellow stars for a certain minority.

Nobody suggested that. But in the absence of anything else, it helps.

You also proved that you didn’t read any part of the topic article, because there is not one piece of evidence supporting your assertion. In fact masks likely cause more harm than benefit.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 16, 2021 9:35 pm

CD,
History will not be kind our current political leadership to both the massive public policy failures of Covid responses (particularly shutting down of inperson schooling for children) and to the climate change scam.

Of this I am quite confident. History will not be kind once the sickness of both have faded far into the past and rational, dispassionate analyses are applied.

AndyHce
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
March 17, 2021 1:09 am

Are you certain the budding ministries of TRUTH will be ineffective in their goals?

starzmom
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
March 17, 2021 9:38 am

There will never be rational, dispassionate analyses of these matters. Any analyses will benefit the ruling class whenever they happen.

Reply to  Climate Detective
March 16, 2021 11:07 pm

Masks help get people killed. If you belonged to the small group of people who are highly susceptible to SARS-CoV2 one of the worst things you could do would be to rely on masks for protection from the virus. Intentionally or not the compliancy theorists created a widespread perception that masks offered significant protection which undoubtedly led to many avoidable infections.

Independent
Reply to  BCBill
March 17, 2021 9:09 am

I’ve had family members infected by idiots who were symptomatic but thought, due to the lies by Fauci and others, that they couldn’t infect others because they dutifully wore their face diaper.

TonyG
Reply to  Independent
March 17, 2021 10:20 am

Back to what I said earlier: people see the mask as a talisman and ignore the other, more effective, protocols to prevent spread.

starzmom
Reply to  BCBill
March 17, 2021 9:39 am

I think you are right. Masks have been mandatory in all nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals since day one, pretty much. And look at all the people who have come ill or died there.

tonyb
Editor
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 17, 2021 12:46 am

This was a very useful report. It is a shame that more real world tests have not been carried out. Are masks useful in real world situations?

Some 9 months ago I carried our quite a large observational study which might usefully support the authors own observations. I repeat it below;

—- —–

Observations on Mask wearing in the UK.
 
My observations noted over several weeks in a coastal resort in the South West of the UK comes from watching substantial numbers of people wearing masks, who are here as tourists from all over the country, and as such are likely to be representative of the wider British public.
 
Unfortunately a fraction of the population would score 10 out of 10 in correct mask wearing. Most would score between 3 and 5 with the biggest problem being the ‘Mask Hokey Cokey’ with masks constantly put on and taken off, adjusted and fiddled with as faces, produce, surfaces and door handles were constantly touched. Masks were often pulled down to speak to someone or to talk on the phone, then pulled up again.. Masks not covering nose and mouth, limited hand washing, failure to replace masks as appropriate, a failure to fit them properly and keeping their distance were also observed. We could not of course observe the cleanliness of re-usable masks that needed a wash after each outing.
 
Masks are frequently worn under the chin, on top of the head, or even on the forearm when not in active use, providing plenty of opportunity for a renewal of Mask Hokey Cokey when pressed back into use and then, when no longer temporarily required, masks were seen being stuffed into a pocket or handbag or folded into a case containing a mobile phone.

Of particular concern in this cafe rich area were the number of people entering cafes, taking their masks off and then placing them ‘breath side’ down onto the table surface, then placing them back on the face after the drink or meal without sanitising. Diligent hygiene by the cafe staff would be needed to counter this habit.
 
Despite compulsory mask wearing in places such as Spain, France, Italy , and Melbourne, where masks must be worn even at beaches or in the outdoors generally, and miscreants are subject to swingeing penalties, new Covid19 cases have risen sharply. The compulsory wearing of masks for Britons in shops, public transport and other places has also not prevented a recent increase in cases. In the light of this evidence we should tentatively ask whether masks are actually effective, and if worn incorrectly, are they potentially doing more harm than good?
 
So what should you do to protect yourself without toppling into the hysteria we can see emanating from Govt and media and which has been transmitted to an ever more fearful public? ? Keeping your distance? Yes. Frequent hand washing? Yes. Staying outdoors rather than in an enclosed space and avoiding crowded indoor spaces? Yes. Losing weight and keeping fit seems to offer a degree of protection as does ensuring you have a good level of Vitamin D. This is best received by sensible exposure to the sun or in winter by sun and supplements.
 
Arguably the very specific circumstances of travelling for a short time in the confined space of public transport -especially buses- probably means a mask will offer some protection if you can keep your distance. However, If you have a substantial number of the apparent human faults of much of the the British mask wearing public –including the author- then it seems unlikely you are protecting yourself or others by wearing a mask, but probably think you are.

—- ——–

The moral, nine months on? If mask wearing is necessary in your area, get a proper mask and take the time to wear it properly, wash and sanitise and keep your distance. If you wear it like a surgeon it might make some difference

If not, you are probably fooling yourself and those around it as to its efficacy and arguably, if wearing a dirty, over used, saturated mask badly, might be doing more harm than good.

Once again, thanks for a good article.

tonyb
 

Paul C
Reply to  tonyb
March 17, 2021 8:13 am

You conclude that masks are not useful if worn/handled incorrectly, but miss the more significant point – are masks doing harm even when worn correctly?.While this is unknown, there is a possibility of the incubator environment inside a mask driving the pneumonia deaths (without COVID) which still occur in spite of flu apparently disappearing (flu and pneumonia deaths have a history of being grouped in one category). The precautionary principle in this case would be to discourage the wearing of masks!
I have also noticed (in the UK) that the majority of shop workers do not correctly wear a mask (presumably as they have discovered it is completely impractical to wear constantly for a full day – an experience I concur with).

Michael
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 17, 2021 3:04 am

Because Statists like Cuomo, Whitmer and Newsom have done such a bang-up job?

Dale S
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 17, 2021 5:45 am

Nothing sinks your own credibility than suggesting that 500,000 more people would be alive today if it were not for “libertarian nonsense.” The US response to the pandemic wasn’t *remotely* libertarian, and while policies varied by state the states with the most restrictive policies are not showing better outcomes.

Joe - non climate scientist
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 17, 2021 5:52 am

If masks were actually effective in slowing the spread, then there would be a huge difference in infection rates between regions with high compliance with masks and regions with low compliance with masks. Firgure 2 above shows the delta (difference ) is too small.

Figure 2. Comparison of epicurves from three neighboring states, with timing of mask mandates shown. This was done by @ianmSC on Twitter using data drawn from the Covid Tracking Project.

D M
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 17, 2021 6:54 am

Climate detective, you are willfully blind and closed minded.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 17, 2021 6:57 am

Worst “detective” ever.

JEHILL
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 17, 2021 7:06 am

From the cdc.gov archives:

The Abstract of says it all.

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article

Kurt
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 17, 2021 8:18 am

Covid-19 has NOT resulted in even close to 500K U.S. deaths. That’s CDC propaganda, as discussed in Home Depot, Hogwarts & Excess Deaths at the CDC, at https://kschulzke.github.io/C19/CDC_C19_Excess19.nb.html.

CapitalistRoader
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 17, 2021 9:23 am

…and to push a lot of libertarian nonsense that has already resulted in 500,000 American deaths.

Sorry, no, that was Emperor Xi’s doing. He’s probably the most un-libertarian person on Earth.

BrianB
Reply to  Climate Detective
March 18, 2021 10:50 am

If they made a movie about Climate Detective Peter Sellers would have been the guy to play him.

March 16, 2021 6:41 pm

Brilliant and useful and much needed information. May I share this with the Bangkok Post? If they accept it will appear in the letters page.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Chaamjamal
March 16, 2021 8:57 pm

Good to hear from you Chaamjamal, but I think Charles the Moderator or Anthony would have to answer your question. I have no objection.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Chaamjamal
March 17, 2021 8:55 am

If you still intend to pursue sending this to the BP, then I should probably send to you a clean copy that fixes three typos I have spotted. Let me know.

Patrick MJD
March 16, 2021 7:04 pm

The individual aerosols involved could be only a micrometer or few micrometers in size. The individual virions are in the range of 50-130 nanometers.[6] I have looked at a number of cloth masks that one can purchase and found their pore sizes to be 0.05 to 0.15 millimeters. This is 1000 times larger than virions and hundreds of times larger than small aerosols.”

Exactly! No-one, not even some medically trained people understand the sizes involved here. Even if a mask was “N95” rated, unless fitted properly, dry and worn only once, they are useless.

MAL
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 16, 2021 8:42 pm

Somehow some of us in stem do, of course we have the knowledge of small measurements and what they mean. I a long time ago had to deal with nanoseconds and picoseconds. Measuring electronic pulses can be tricky.

chemman
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 17, 2021 12:26 am

NIOSH standards for use of N95 respirators does allow 3 uses of the mask if you have the proper equipment to sterilize it. The ordinary person doesn’t and to replace them on a daily basis is cost prohibitive.

So the use of the cloth masks is mainly Kabuki Theater.

establ
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 17, 2021 6:06 am

From the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

https://aapsonline.org/mask-facts/

Patrick MJD
Reply to  establ
March 17, 2021 7:42 pm

Conclusion: Wearing masks (other than N95) will not be effective at preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission, whether worn as source control or as PPE.”

Yup!

Paul C
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 17, 2021 8:34 am

Even when optimally used, an N95 mask only traps 95% at 0.3 microns so some of the virus can be expected to get through either as aerosol, or smaller particles dried out from aerosol. As a valve bypasses the filtration in the other direction, virtually all exhaled aerosol along with any virus it contains will escape.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Paul C
March 17, 2021 10:53 pm

Yes. My point remains, masks are useless.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 18, 2021 1:24 pm

Somebody needs to tell the doctors and nurses their masks are useless.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 18, 2021 9:56 pm

We’re talking about masks being ineffective in the prevention of the spread of SARA-COV-2, what are you on about?

Antero Ollila
March 16, 2021 7:06 pm

I have been critical of masks. The term mask, in this case, means any clothing or nonstandard protective breathing device. It has been a worldwide practice, and a general empirical experience by now is that if it would have worked, the pandemic would have been over.

In my country, the health public officers have openlyinformed that you should wear it because it prevents you to spread the virus by coughing in the form of droplets, it does not protect you. Despite this correct information, many people believe that it protects you from viruses.

If you want to protect yourself, you have to use a standard type of respirator maks like KN95/N95/FFP2 having a filtering capacity of 95 %.

What is really alarming for me, is that professional personnel like nurses do not use the standard respirators in the work tasks like carrying out COVID-19 tests in very close contact with a person being a potential virus bearer. The truth is that it was personnel who brought the virus into the nursing homes of elderly people with sad results.

The reason behind this is that the majority of doctors believe that the spreading mechanism is droplets and physical contact even though modern science has shown that aerosol mechanism is the general mechanism. Aerosols are so tiny particles that they survive in the air for tens of minutes.

MAL
Reply to  Antero Ollila
March 16, 2021 8:49 pm

KN95/N95/FFP2 having a filtering capacity of 95 %” only for PM2.5 particles. The virus is five to a hundred time smaller than this. You 95% is on about 50% to 5% depending what type of virus aerosols you run into.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  MAL
March 18, 2021 1:27 pm

Aerosols vary in size. Some can be stopped by masks.

chemman
Reply to  Antero Ollila
March 17, 2021 12:33 am

Even the idea that the cloth mask will protect others does bear up to scrutiny. They will stop large droplets that would get on surfaces but fomites are no longer considered to be part of the equation in passing on the infection. Aerosols that are part of a sneeze or cough are so small they’ll pass right through the pores of the cloth mask.

If the Minimum Infectious Dose is only 300 virons as mentioned above a cloth mask is pretty worthless.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Antero Ollila
March 18, 2021 1:26 pm

“What is really alarming for me, is that professional personnel like nurses do not use the standard respirators in the work tasks like carrying out COVID-19 tests in very close contact with a person being a potential virus bearer.”

Good point. Those blue/green surgical masks you see many nurses and medical personnel wearing are not up to standards. They are not N-95.

Pflashgordon
Reply to  Antero Ollila
March 19, 2021 6:12 am

The KN95 respirators (not masks) are from China. Repeated testing by universities’ EHS departments have shown they don’t fit or perform as advertised. DO NOT BUY OR USE THE CHINESE KN95s. Properly fit tested, NIOSH-Approved N95s can at least be fit properly to an unbearded face. Also, while some N95s have valves, most do not. N95s are designed to protect the wearer from exposures to dusts and aerosols, not the other way around. This is not an endorsement or comment regarding use for COVID, merely a clarification.

Ed Hanley
March 16, 2021 7:11 pm

Having worked in an industry where not having the proper knowledge and use of PPE could result, in specific circumstances, in a certainty of death of 100%, I am more than sensitive to the extreme inadequacy of the education and protection of the general public during this pandemic. I applaud the efforts of the author, but his best efforts could not point to a path forward to 1.) knowing how to protect oneself; 2.) knowing how to protect others; 3) knowing the difference between the two; 4.) knowing what absolutely works for 1.) and 2.). The PPE used in industries such as mining, refining, chip production, and others that deal with lethal gases and particulates is tested NOT by putting gear onto brave volunteers and sending them into a deadly environment, then counting the bodies as they hit the floor. Yet that is the sort of “science” that has been offered to the entire world regarding masking during this pandemic. PPE can be adequately tested in a lab and then manufactured to lab-determined standards. Yet we, the public, have been denied that technology, forced, instead, to be strictly obedient to un-tested standards held up by authorities who knew full well that their “science” would kill us in large numbers, while firming up their power over our lives. This article clearly demonstrates how messy the “science” behind public protection has been.

Last edited 29 days ago by Ed Hanley
chemman
Reply to  Ed Hanley
March 17, 2021 12:37 am

Agreed. I’ve studied various levels of PPE since the mid 70’s when I was at the University earning my Microbiology/Chemistry degree. The real level of PPE necessary to protect from infectious microorganisms is certainly out of the price range for most people world wide.

Pathway
March 16, 2021 7:12 pm

Very good review. Anticdotely, I friend’s wife works in a COVID test center in Colorado and used all of the precautions prescribed by the CDOH and still contracted and spread the Covid virus. So, masks shields and hand washing made very little difference.

Antero Ollila
Reply to  Pathway
March 16, 2021 7:59 pm

Which kind of a mask? Nonstandard or K95, K99, or even better? It makes a huge difference.

MAL
Reply to  Antero Ollila
March 16, 2021 8:52 pm

Know how to use it and if is doesn’t protect you from paint fumes, it probably worthless. N95 come under the may help categories. Anything else is laughable.

chemman
Reply to  Antero Ollila
March 17, 2021 12:42 am

NIOSH sets the standards for the certification and use of N95/99/100 respirators in the US. The K designation means that it has been tested according to NIOSH standards but it isn’t necessarily certified. The problem is that NIOSH says it should be discarded after 8 hours in a toxic environment. NIOSH allows for 3 uses if you have the proper equipment to sterilize the respirator. Understand that sterilization breaks down the fibers of the respirator and thus reduces its efficacy.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  chemman
March 18, 2021 1:32 pm

“NIOSH allows for 3 uses if you have the proper equipment to sterilize the respirator. Understand that sterilization breaks down the fibers of the respirator and thus reduces its efficacy.”

In this case, a second mask worn over the first might have a benefit.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Pathway
March 16, 2021 8:55 pm

Face shields are worse than useless.

saveenergy
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
March 17, 2021 3:15 am

Not true, Face shields allow you to breath normally without re-breathing contaminated air filtered by a snot soaked rag.

In the UK you are ‘encouraged’ to wear a face covering to enter shops (I have witnessed people being verbally & physically abused & hit with shopping trolleys [ also reports of people removing their own mask to spit in the face of another !!! ] by other shoppers for not having a face covering) .

Best protection is a full hazchem suit
OR
stay away from most people (nasty dirty horrible things).

March 16, 2021 7:22 pm

Scroll past the annoying all-screen-consuming video that first appears at this link:

https://discover.hubpages.com/education/Forcing-Healthy-People-to-Wear-a-Face-Mask-Is-Criminal

The basic argument against mass masking has little to do with whether masks are effective or not. It has to do with considering healthy people as diseased people as disease threats. It has to do with considering unmasked healthy people as trespassers.

Bryan A
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
March 16, 2021 8:02 pm

It also has to do with
Do you have it? (Although you feel fine you won’t know for up to 10 days post exposure)
Are you sure? (Have you been “Self Quarantined” for at least 10 days since you last encountered anyone not in your household)
Have you come in contact with an asymptomatic carrier in the last 10 days? (How can you tell)
Are you certain? (How do you know that unmasked person is healthy and not asymptomatic)

Last edited 28 days ago by Bryan A
MAL
Reply to  Bryan A
March 16, 2021 8:56 pm

Have you come in contact with an asymptomatic carrier in the last 10 days?” nice question rather useless. You need the next question which is “were you in and enclosed space with for more than ten minutes” That is the question they as my son since his job did expose him to COVID and when he was and he ask do I need to be tested? The did you spend question was a no, the answer was a no.

Bryan A
Reply to  MAL
March 16, 2021 9:37 pm

The point is you can’t be 100% positive.
You simply have no way to know who has it, who doesn’t or who has been immunized

Sorry to hear about your son. My brother got it, was hospitalized and ultimately succumbed to it. He also brought it home and infected his entire household. They ultimately recovered.

So are you a masker or an anti-masker?

Last edited 28 days ago by Bryan A
chemman
Reply to  Bryan A
March 17, 2021 12:45 am

Do what your conscience dictates but don’t try to dictate to others.

Bryan A
Reply to  chemman
March 17, 2021 5:16 am

Those opposed to vaccinations have used the same argument

CptTrips
Reply to  Bryan A
March 17, 2021 1:48 pm

C. S. Lewis said it better than anyone else ever could:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

Reply to  Bryan A
March 16, 2021 9:28 pm

How do you know? How do you know? HOW DO YOU KNOW?

Well, you CAN do this! (h/t Doctor Michael Crichton, M.D., Harvard Medical School)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1vw7E7uE3E

And then enter your bubble for the remainder of your miserable life.

You up for it?

chemman
Reply to  Bryan A
March 17, 2021 12:44 am

Asymptomatic spread has not been shown to be a driver of the epidemic.

Sunsettommy
Editor
Reply to  Bryan A
March 17, 2021 8:28 pm

What about Pneumonia, Spanish Flu and other nasty viruses. How do YOU know they are not on you at this time?

Snicker…………

Scissor
March 16, 2021 7:35 pm

The drive to ramp up testing to cover as many and as often as possible is also a major flaw. It seems that asymptomatic spread is not a common occurrence, therefore screening with temperature meters is more appropriate.

MAL
Reply to  Scissor
March 16, 2021 9:00 pm

Testing is a point in time problem. Take test, then exposed after you have COVID now and not then. To bad our experts do not know that. Also if you want to know the direction that a virus is going in any given population, do a little over a thousand random test a day and that will tell you better than any I think I am sick testing.

Tom in Florida
March 16, 2021 7:35 pm

Masks have become the new security blanket for millions of people. Here is the test:
go to a grocery store where there are a good number of people. Stand near the check out register with your mask on and take a deep breath. Feel secure? Now remove the mask and take another deep breath. How secure do you feel now?

Reply to  Tom in Florida
March 16, 2021 9:29 pm

Perfectly so. Now, in the seafood department of some grocery stores… Yech.

rbabcock
March 16, 2021 7:37 pm

Gum disease is reported to be on the rise by dental groups as well as pneumonia, presumably due to mask wearing. It is a two edged sword. Only two of 15 people I know that contracted CV didn’t wear a mask.. and they got it way last February on a flight back from Park City before we even knew it was already here. 8 of these people were mask fanatics and couldn’t believe they got it.

chemman
Reply to  rbabcock
March 17, 2021 12:48 am

We’ve known about bacterial pneumonia as a result mask wear since the Spanish Flu pandemic.

Waza
March 16, 2021 7:42 pm

I applaud WUWT for providing articles about COVID.
Firstly, COVID is clearly a medical issue which very quickly become a political issue. This parallels the whole climate change debate.

Secondly, it has highlighted that WUWT readers with similar views on climate change may have different views on COVID.
I value these different views.

BTW
My views on COVID
1. It’s s Problem but not a big one.
2. The politicians have used it as an opportunity to save us.
3. The politicians had no ideas what to do, they made early decisions based on political grounds not medical grounds
4. When the politicians learnt they made early mistakes they covered it up by making more mistakes.
5. They used the good old “ the experts say”
6. They totally ignored any long term cost benefit analysis of their actions.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  Waza
March 16, 2021 8:26 pm

You forgot the ramblings of Fauci.

gringojay
Reply to  Gerald Machnee
March 16, 2021 9:04 pm

“Forever Fairy Tales”

97E84A28-7B1F-44C9-844E-7DC2791F244A.jpeg
niceguy
Reply to  Gerald Machnee
March 17, 2021 8:04 am

Not just Fauci. The CDC itself.

If anyone is serious about gov reform, both the CDC and the FDA (and the FBI) most go.

[And contrary to some conservative website proposal, the FBI must not be spread into DEA, DHS, etc. That would like a surgeon removing a cancerous tumor, cutting it into small fragments, and transplanting each and every fragment into a sane less cancerous organ. (But DHS leadership is clearly as far gone as FBI leadership, so is there anything salvageable in US executive?)]

AndyHce
Reply to  Waza
March 17, 2021 1:21 am

You just listed the SOP of politicians. It has nothing in particular to do with the virus situation, it is just the everyday schedule of activities.

S.K.
Reply to  Waza
March 18, 2021 5:40 pm

The unaccountable politicians apply that same logic to every decision.

Editor
March 16, 2021 7:49 pm

Like people looking at CO2 and global warming, I suspect the ebb and flow of Covid-19 depends on many factors, not just masks. And masks, of course have lots of variables from design to how they’re worn, and how long they’re worn.

What I don’t understand are things like:

1) How did we get off that 34% per _day_ exponential rate seen in Italy and New York City early on? Some of that was from ramping up testing, but heck, that’s 10X per week and it went on for three weeks. What stopped it?

2) How did the huge surge this fall come about? “Covid fatigue?” Less sunlight and hence less vitamin D3? I would have expected a wave from north to south, but maybe Texans start wearing coats in the same month as Yoopers.

3) And just what nuked the influenza season anyway? Whatever it was, it might be worth doing next year too. I wonder what it says about the relative infectiousness between the influenza du jour and a novel retrovirus that people haven’t encountered much before.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Ric Werme
March 16, 2021 8:06 pm

Ric, our COVID numbers have gone to zero around here, but we had a very active flu outbreak that put a lot of people in the flu ward at the hospital. I too would like to know what happened to the flu, but I don’t think it actually vanished. Wm. Ward sent me a very interesting graphic that plotted Covid, flu, and ILI on the same graph, and while covid dominated, the other two were also around and all three were coherent — numbers going up and down together. I think there is a combination of misattribution and lack of attention to flu.

Here is my take on this epidemic that has as its inspiration the 1918 flu outbreak. In 1918 the first two waves were in late spring then autumn. Another wave struck in spring 1919, but there were more outbreaks until 1922 at least and these began to appear mainly in winter — the usual flu season. Slowly what started out as not seasonal became seasonal. I wonder if covid hangs around it will become seasonal also.

What I think is that a novel virus finds a wide open field of naive immune systems to exploit and doesn’t need ideal conditions to propagate. All it needs is access to another naive population. We had a spring wave that waned; R dropped below 1.0. Then as summer began and people began to travel and move about, they spread the virus to new locations and we had a summer wave that peaked about third week of July. It waned. Then we had college kids scatter across the country, stirring the virus again which set off the autmn wave — I have data to back most of this up. When the students went home, back to where they had brought the virus from the third wave waned.

As long as there are no more naive populations around, the virus will need ideal conditions to propagate, and thus becomes seasonal.

It’s a theory.

Last edited 28 days ago by Kevin kilty
Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Kevin kilty
March 16, 2021 9:59 pm

SARS-Cov-2 is virtually certain to join its 4 pre-existing human respiratory Corona virus siblings in terms of endemic nature in the 7+billion human population. That is it will be virtually indistinguishable morbidity and mortality wise from the other 4 and ever present at low levels spiking during seasonal cold and flu seasons.

As for mortality on the under 65 yr old segment, once it is endemic at those low levels, it will be very low compared to influenza A morbidity and mortality.

The absolute striking thing about influenza is its morbidity-mortality on a immune-naive teenager compared to Covid. In my field of study, this is very strong evidence of the vital role of T cell immunity in controlling a covid infection and the lack of time SARS-2 virus has had to adapt and evade the human T cell response, unlike the highly adapted influenza A H1 and H3 strains constantly circulating.

chemman
Reply to  Ric Werme
March 17, 2021 1:00 am
  1. Italy had multi-generational households so population density in the house is higher than the normal household in the US. We saw something similar on the Navajo Nation as we saw in Italy. They live in multi-generational households and small dense communities.
  2. Respiratory viruses can come in waves. Spanish Influenza had 3 waves. Small wave late in the first season, large wave start of the second season, small wave in the third season. Covid-19 has followed the same trajectory. Might miss the third wave due to immunizations
  3. There are a couple of explanations. Dual infections and sense we are concentrating of Covid-19 we test for that and if it comes back positive we don’t go any farther. The second explanation is crowding out. SARS CoV-2 takes over the niche that ILI’s occupied The 2nd explanation is more likely than the first. We aren’t done with the normal Influenza Season so with Covid-19 waning we could see ILI’s hit big time in the next 6 weeks or so.
March 16, 2021 8:00 pm

Someone pointed out that humans in an enclosed room will be breathing in other’s exhaled breath – it is unavoidable. I visit an eye doctor once a month and the personnel do not use N-95 masks…I am sure the air conditioning is ordinary and not special filtration…they check your temp and require masks and only sit in seats that have no occupancy in the adjacent seats. If I had a CO2 meter I bet it would register a 1000 ppm easily because of the no. of patients and personnel. The no. of cases has plunged in my area recently so maybe it is about over…..what does Xi Jinping have in store next? I have read that as many as 30% of the Wuhan virus cases have long term effects.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Anti-griff
March 16, 2021 9:01 pm

what does Xi Jinping have in store next? I have read that as many as 30% of the Wuhan virus cases have long term effects.

This thing is like no other disease, especially other corona viruses. The likelihood of it being tailor made is very high. It had far too many fortuitous benefits for the CCP to be pure chance.

chemman
Reply to  Anti-griff
March 17, 2021 1:05 am

It hasn’t been around long enough to look at long term effects. Doctors who are looking at it are saying at this point it is following the same pattern as other respiratory viruses and the effects seem to wane after 6 – 9 months.

High Treason
March 16, 2021 8:01 pm

Masks will not stop a virus.
Since we are sometimes forced to wear one, under fear of fines or harassment from police, we should make a statement out of it.
My mask is bright yellow with AGAINST MY WILL on it. It gets looks. Perhaps we need a campaign to wear yellow rag masks with AGAINST MY WILL on them.
It will make the masks get dumped pretty quickly.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  High Treason
March 16, 2021 8:59 pm

I’ve seen a guy in my small town in WA State wearing a gaiter that says “This mask is as useless as our governor”.

Grumpy Bill
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
March 17, 2021 9:13 am

I have a thin, single layer, cloth mask that says the same. They’re quite popular around here.

Last edited 28 days ago by Grumpy Bill
Paul Penrose
Reply to  High Treason
March 17, 2021 10:06 am

I’m thinking of just writing OBEY on my paper masks.

TonyG
Reply to  Paul Penrose
March 17, 2021 10:35 am

I got a bunch of cloth masks I was going to put that on (in the right font, too) and sell, but never got around to doing it. Too late now, you think?

starzmom
Reply to  High Treason
March 17, 2021 1:26 pm

I have seriously thought of getting a burqua–one of the long black ones with just an eye-screen. Then I decided maybe I would have some professional trouble. (I am a lawyer.)

Mike Mcdermott
March 16, 2021 8:09 pm

i agree with the author that cloth masks are much less effective than surgical masks, which are less effective than properly fitted N95 masks. The author also correctly pointed out the poor mask wearing habits in the general public. Even an elected office holder (my dear governor Newsome) struggles to wear his mask correctly (if he wears it at all).

All of this makes it impossible to come to an accurate conclusion about exact mask efficiency in the pandemic, but it would have been easy to construct a valid clinical test if the CDC would have recruited young healthy volunteers to participate. For those under the age of 30, Covid-19 is less deadly than the flu.

Kurt
March 16, 2021 8:30 pm

Good article but I’m confused by this sentence:

They state, first of all, that masks may have effectiveness as large as 85%, but that this estimate has low confidence – precise number but narrow confidence interval.

Low confidence is shown by a wide (not narrow) confidence interval. Is this a typo or am I missing something? And when I looked up the cited article (https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31142-9), I could not find the reference to 85% effectiveness.  

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Kurt
March 16, 2021 8:46 pm

Note that when the authors speak about results of masking that they quote an adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of 0.15, i.e. 85% below 1.0. They have low confidence for other reasons perhaps, but many people in publicizing this wanted to quote just the aOR value. But there is just about no confidence at all in any point value. It is similar to the Danish mask study, where, despite the broad confidence interval, some people wish still to point to an OR a bit less than one and claim that this is some effectiveness that could add to that in other measures and thus be part of an effective strategy.

Jeff Alberts
March 16, 2021 9:03 pm

Nearly all the masks we see people wearing are constructed to no standard, made of varying sorts of cloth, are poorly fitting, are worn with near complete disregard for effectiveness, reused who knows how many times, used for what else we know not, and are often completely open at the cheeks, nose, chin and beard. They appear mainly useful for making a person touch their face constantly.”

I drive for Doordash and Uber Eats. So I’m in a lot of fast food places as well as other restaurants.

You may or may not be surprised at how awful mask wearing is with people who handle food. There is zero attention shown to reducing gaps. All workers are wearing gloves, then they touch their masks repeatedly, without changing gloves immediately. They have no clue whatsoever.

So, even if masks in and of themselves were at least somewhat effective, as Mr. Kilty points out, 98+% of them are worn or handled incorrectly all day long.

chemman
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
March 17, 2021 1:10 am

Glove wear in the food industry is really useless. Someone puts gloves on then touches multiple items and the gets around to touching the food.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
March 17, 2021 6:39 am

Jeff, you will then enjoy this anecdote. A woman my wife knows showed up at the grocery store without her mask. So, she improvised. She took a rag that she uses for wiping down her dog after his walk and wrapped it around her face. In the store she went. Who knows what she was spreading over the vegetables with each exhale — but she was legal and thinks she was safe, and kept others safe too.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Kevin kilty
March 17, 2021 10:13 am

I see people breezing into the grocery store all the time that have masks on and just grab a cart and go right in, skipping right past the free antiseptic wipes. Even if you believe that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted via airborne particles, it makes sense that touching contaminated surfaces is also a major source of infections (and in fact, I personally believe is the primary source). But of course, unlike mask wearing, wiping down surfaces is not a constant reminder to all observers that one is morally superior.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Kevin kilty
March 18, 2021 10:03 pm

I can quote a story that’s better than that. I saw a video of someone taking their underwear off, placing the garment over their head with the “gusset” over their nose and mouth, then entered the shop.

Joel O’Bryan
March 16, 2021 9:24 pm

The mask has become a virtue signal. Period.
In a healthy person with no symptoms, It is of no more practical use at lowering Covid risk to the individual or others than a rabbits foot worn around the neck or any other religious artifact.
When I have told family and friends that in past, some have look at me shocked because my doctorate is in human immunology (T-cell based) and T cell control of and responses to respiratory viruses. How can what I’m saying be squared with now obvious political actor-experts like Anthony Fauci? Simple, I tell them — a politicized application of biased science and ignoring the evidence they don’t like.
And Now that covid vacinees, weeks after their 2nd vaccine, are still being advised by Fauci and the CDC to continue mask wear, that point is becoming unavoidably obvious.

Last edited 28 days ago by joelobryan
Kevin kilty
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
March 16, 2021 9:48 pm

I don’t know if you have seen an interview of Kary Mullis that is available on Twitter and perhaps also YouTube, but at one point he makes it obvious he doesn’t think much of “Tony Fauci” as he calls him. The mask slips!

Abolition Man
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
March 16, 2021 10:18 pm

Thank you, Joel!
Please be careful! Knowledgeable truth tellers are in short supply and great danger in this current political environment!

noaaprogrammer
March 16, 2021 9:27 pm

I only wear a mask because our governor (a dem.) has mandated it, and I need to shop for whatever items I need. Consequently, I do not care one wit about its knit or fit because I know they’re useless. — And when no one in a store is looking at me, the mask comes down under my chin because I cannot stand the smothering feel of a mask. After all, I don’t want to be excessively breathing a gas that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled as being a pollutant! — Massachusetts v. EPA :: 549 US 497 (2007)

John Bayley
March 16, 2021 9:31 pm

We have known for more than 40 years that even surgical masks, worn in operating theatres by trained professionals, are useless in preventing infection of the patient being operated on.

Just a sample of full clinical trials that arrived at this conclusion:

  • Ritter et al (1975)
  • Orr, N (1981)
  • Tuneval, G (1991)
  • Webster et al (2010)
  • Da Zhou (2015)

Yet here we are, with masks being compulsory on all airports and on domestic flights here in Australia. They were also made compulsory for months in Victoria, and for up to a week in Perth, and Brisbane – in the WA & QLD capital cities, this was over just 1 positive ‘case’ each.

Have we lost our mind or what?

And this, ladies & gentlemen, is ‘Science – the 2021 edition’.

From the same university as the Climate Science, I would guess.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  John Bayley
March 16, 2021 9:42 pm

Thanks, I’ll have a look at those studies. What drives me just as mad are the absurdly inconsistent rules about usage. For instance, if I walk into a coffee shop or restaurant to pick up an order to take away, then I must don a mask. If I sit down with my coffee, and hang out with say eight friends to laugh and talk for an hour then I can doff the mask. Who wrote this rule? What were they thinking? Utterly superstitious. I think some MDs or PhDs have done a nice consulting business in this hysteria, and what they have produced is stuff that could have only come from the ignorant for the ignorant.

chemman
Reply to  Kevin kilty
March 17, 2021 1:13 am

Someone at another site mentioned they just flown home of a full aircraft. No social distancing as every seat was full. The person then said that the Aircraft crew made them social distance as they were exiting the plane.

TonyG
Reply to  Kevin kilty
March 17, 2021 11:28 am

The inconsistent rules scream to me that none of it is about “science”.

Some more studies/articles, if you want to do the reading:

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article (been linked a couple times already)

this article links several studies https://www.rcreader.com/commentary/masks-dont-work-covid-a-review-of-science-relevant-to-covide-19-social-policy

TonyG
Reply to  John Bayley
March 17, 2021 11:24 am

What I find interesting is how “the science” suddenly changed in 2020 from a long history of (RCT) studies showing masks don’t really help to saying they do. And practically none of the new studies are real-world, just models or simulations, and a couple of lab-only studies (the two-mask one was carried out with dummies in a lab setting)

Chris Nisbet
March 16, 2021 9:45 pm

Here in NZ we were told that masks make a ‘significant difference’, and used this as the reason for keeping masks mandatory on public transport in the South Island.
Any sort of mask at all will do – they all make a ‘significant difference’ (apparently).
No proof given, but as they tell us they’re the sole source of truth I guess there’s no need for any.

Alex
March 16, 2021 9:53 pm

The coronavirus itself is small, just 20 nm.
However, it never travels alone
It sits in a droplet that is around 1 um large.
So, masks do protect.
The protection is incomplete, of course, depending on the mask it is around 30-70%.
This does reduce the R0 number though.

chemman
Reply to  Alex
March 17, 2021 1:15 am

Nope. You apparently have studied pore size in various cloth masks. They are all much larger that 1 um.

John Bayley
Reply to  Alex
March 17, 2021 1:51 am

And what do you think happens as you breathe on the caught droplet?
That’s right – it evaporates and goes right through the mask.
But we don’t even need to think this hard. All you need to do is look at comparisons of places with no mask mandates and those with.
That’s all the answer one needs and after a full year of this BS it should not even need to be debated.

David A
Reply to  John Bayley
March 17, 2021 4:05 am

And if you are contagious, and inhaling through contaminated droplets, ( your own) are you increasing your viral load and the severity of your case?

bigoilbob
Reply to  David A
March 17, 2021 6:20 am

And if you are contagious, and inhaling through contaminated droplets, ( your own) are you increasing your viral load and the severity of your case?”

They let me take the easy ones, David A. No. In spite of what the aptly named congressman Louie Gohmert wants to believe.

https://www.pnas.org/content/118/4/e2014564118

Abolition Man
March 16, 2021 10:38 pm

Thanks, Kevin!
Having determined from numerous sources early on that this dempanic was exaggerated and politicized I decided to at least get masks that were comfortable to wear and inexpensive!
I got the stretch cloth gaiters in assorted camo designs and I wear them as little as possible! I do leave them sitting on the seat of my truck for the sunlight to sterilize them!
I wonder if we will ever know the actual number of excess deaths that have been and will be caused by the inept and disorganized response of our ruling class? Fauxi seems to be nothing more than a very expensive weathervane, turning whichever direction the wind blows; and many of our politicians seemed to take great pleasure in implementing recommendations from the CCP to control and even kill their constituents! If the corporate media wasn’t so involved in covering up the incompetence we might already be at the pitchforks and torches stage!

John F Hultquist
March 16, 2021 10:39 pm

“used for what else we know not, “

They are a handy tool for cleaning glasses.

Craig from Oz
March 17, 2021 12:02 am

Another point about masks.

Masks are PPE.

If you have done risk analysis and reduction at any sort of professional level you should know that PPE is the LAST choice to reducing risks and is done if the is no Reasonably Practical other method of risk reduction.

ie – there is no need to wear safety glasses if there is no big machine producing sparks. Remove machine and sparks go away.

What does this mean in context?

Masks were never the solution to the China Virus problem. They were a ‘hey, we are doing something’ action by governments to scared to be accused of doing nothing.

Note that this does not enter into the question about if masks help or not. Masks are PPE. PPE is last resort risk reduction.

n.n
March 17, 2021 12:11 am

Postoperative wound infections and surgical face masks: a controlled study
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1853618/

Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers
https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-6817

Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses
https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006207.pub5/full

Covid-19 — A White Paper – To @RealDonaldTrump and @CDC
https://www.market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=240811

Last edited 28 days ago by n.n
anna v
March 17, 2021 12:19 am

There are real experiments , a year after the pandemic.

See the total statistics for USA and Japan here https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?utm_campaign=homeAdvegas1?

USA deaths per million 1653

Japan deaths per million 68

Japanese wear masks as a matter of course, keep distances , do not hug and kiss, take shoes off before entering the house.. See this https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/06/world/asia/japan-coronavirus-masks.html .

The numbers say it all.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  anna v
March 17, 2021 1:26 am

Nonsense. The numbers say nothing at all. There are too many confounding factors. And the ny times? Please.

Scissor
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
March 17, 2021 5:38 am

Personally, I thinks it’s wearing slippers in the home, two of them, one for each foot. The numbers say it all.

Abolition Man
Reply to  anna v
March 17, 2021 1:53 am

Citing the NYTimes? TheJapanese populace is extremely different from that of the US! It is a mostly homogeneous population; that in the US is just the opposite! They have much better overall health and diet; and their Vitamin D levels are substantially higher! If you want to compare populations from different countries you should try to EXCLUDE confounding factors!
If you want to actually learn something about the ChiCom-19 virus try comparing fatality rates between Black Americans and Africans!

John Bayley
Reply to  anna v
March 17, 2021 1:57 am

And, amazingly enough, despite all these masks, the Japanese have multiple times the number of deaths per million of population from the seasonal flu then the USA.
Look it up; you might learn something.

Abolition Man
Reply to  John Bayley
March 17, 2021 3:02 am

John,
I think anna wants to hurry back to the orchard for a few more ripe cherries!
I doubt she’d be interested in actually learning something about the virus when the folks at the NYT can pour their great wisdom directly into her brain!

Vincent Causey
March 17, 2021 12:48 am

This is all very interesting, but it’s useful to look at the longer, broader picture. For generations it has been scientifically accepted that ordinary masks don’t stop the spread of viral infections. This was the view, apparently, right up to the early stages of Covid-19 when Fauci famously gave this accepted wisdom in that 60-minutes interview – the public should not wear masks.

Then something changed, specifically politicians got involved. Once mask wearing was selected as a package of measures, then suddenly “the science” changed, literally overnight. With that the entire establishment and media apparatus swung into supporting the state narrative. Thus, the censoring of the Danish study whose results were deemed “wrong.” Based on this, I would say the original scientific view is the correct one, and this new reality has been concocted to help support a political action.

Peta of Newark
March 17, 2021 1:50 am

In a nutshell: Western Society/Civilisation has entered a new Dark Age

The unadulterated scientific junk that is:

  • CFCs and the Ozone Hole
  • Avoidance of saturated fat in the human diet
  • Addition of fibre into human diet
  • Climate Change Science
  • That alcohol & cannabis are somehow ‘good’
  • That eating plants is ‘healthy’
  • That Cholesterol is bad
  • That Calories = Food

Collectively we have gone quite mad.
Commentators around here know that – How Many Times do we see reference to Charles Mackay and his ‘Popular Delusions’ book.

You know why I say that.
We are eating a perfectly junk diet that is being grown on (nearly) perfectly trashed dirt.

We Trashed That Dirt
We have done so since time immemorial.
We do so with ploughs, slashing & burning, Paddy Fields and Glyphosate (= a chemical plough)

Yet The Madness, crashing around in The Darkness and propelled by shit nutrient-free food causes Magical Thinking which says:
Everything Has Never Been Better
Even worse, we take pills (Statins) to try make ourselves ‘better’ after eating all that shit food.
But the Statins destroy Cholesterol, affecting large numbers of and amounts of our hormones.
2 especially = Vitamin D and Testosterone

Is THAT why Covid has been such a rip-roaring success as a virus AND possibly where all the babies have gone?
There already is a Male Contraceptive Pill and 10’s of millions of males are taking it daily.
Sometimes called Lipitor

So Much Wrong right now.
Just like El Nino is a cooling event, so also is a warming atmosphere.
Once heat energy gets into the air it has nowhere else to go but Outer and Intergalactic Space
Heat Energy needs to be retained in the water and the dirt. Not the atmosphere.

Also like the epic and ever increasing spend on healthcare does NOT mean better health, it points to the exact contrary.

We could not get more things wrong if we tried and then, in our muddled and mentally deranged panic/paranoia, we do even more wrong things to try to ‘fix’ what are in fact and a lot of the time, good things.

its all quite surreal
problem is, there is now nothing else to eat except, Shit Nutrient-Free Food

March 17, 2021 2:49 am

The way mask wearing was tested is IMHO worthless. Nobody knows, if while wearingthe mask the tested person was exposed to any virus in his surrounding.
Why don’t they analyse that was filterd by the mask, if possible, inside and outside ?
Or a combination of these 2 test variants ?

Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
March 17, 2021 2:58 am

Uggh. Covid19 lovers. They just won’t give up. We’ll be wearing these masks while we copulate if they have their way.

Bill
Reply to  Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
March 17, 2021 8:21 am

Whoa…you copulate? It’s good to be the king. 🙂

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
March 17, 2021 11:44 am

Julia? Is that you?

Matthew Sykes
March 17, 2021 3:55 am

N95 masks only protect the wearer, they have an exhaust valve, so it doesnt stop the virus spreading either.

Sara
March 17, 2021 4:40 am

Essentially, what this article says (and not downplaying the investigative methods or results), is that the Medieval bird beak mask with lavender stuck in the beak is just as effective as those throwaways I got, which have really done nothing but prolong my cold.

Except that the CV19 virus seems to mutate repeatedly to find new “food sources” (us), what else can be done other than self-isolation and don’t wear the cloth masks because they are useless? If all you need to do is wear some kind of barrier to keep from spreading something, then a bandana is just as effective.

I’ll keep the blue disposables, because they do keep me from inhaling minute dust particles from “dust-free” cat litter when I clean the cat boxes, and nobody wants silicosis, right?

Good article, supports what I suspected: that the precautions were well-meant but useless.

Jack Morrow
March 17, 2021 4:48 am

What about the eyes?

Bruce Cobb
March 17, 2021 4:48 am

Mask-wearing quickly became a quasi-religion based on emotion, and masks were (and are) a sort of talisman. They were also part and parcel to Covid hysteria. which had people wiping down any and all surfaces, and incessant hand-washing, use of hand-sanitizers, and doffing and donning of clothes. The CDC and medical establishment, much to their shame, fomented fear as a means of controling the populace, but they also went along with people’s Beliefs. For example, the initial messaging was that masks protected others, not the wearer. But people believed otherwise, and so the messaging was changed to fit the popular belief that they protected the wearer as well.

Craig W
March 17, 2021 5:08 am

The effectiveness of mask wearing is that they serve as a reminder to be cautious when around other people. Even my best OSHA workshop masks warn that the filter is not suitable against bacteria, virus, radiation, or gases.

Timo, not that one
Reply to  Craig W
March 17, 2021 6:19 am

In hospitals (in Ontario), before covid, staff were forbidden from wearing a mask, except while in direct contact with an infectious person. In those cases, the mask (a properly fitted N95) must be safely disposed of upon leaving the room with the infected person, or there is risk of spreading the pathogen to the rest of the hospital.
Masks used by the public, N95 or otherwise, only serve to spread pathogens because they are not discarded after a single use.
People make the assumption that there is a pathogen in the store, (otherwise they wouldn’t put a mask on) so they should also make the assumption (but they don’t) that the mask is contaminated after leaving the store. Taking it into another store, they should assume (but they don’t) that they are now spreading the virus to the other store.
Freedom is the solution to everything. Oppression always leads to catastrophe.

cedar hill
March 17, 2021 5:55 am

It seems to be overwhelmingly clear that prevention is mostly useless regarding viral respiratory pathogens (VRP) unless there is a complete quarantine. Isolation like used on internationally traveling pets, for example, or what is imposed on third world Ebola outbreak countries.
Modern commerce with direct, non-stop flights from a large number airports around the globe mean a modestly contagious VRP can literally circle the globe several times before anyone discovers it’s “emergence”. Applying pet isolation quarantines would likely work but imagine living in a facility for 3 months if one crosses an international border?

Fact:
As CDC famously says “keep the mask on after the vaccine because you can still catch it”. Which means you still need treatment protocols. If billions are vaccinated, you still need treatments. And you should push for 100% effective ones. As cheap as possible (think third world).

The elephant in the room is the need to have the 99%+ treatment protocols in place for all VRP classes. HCQ, ivermectin, doxycycline, nebulizers, aspirin, antibodies — whatever works clinically. Include having people do the things that improves/strengthens the immune system.

And then you won’t even need the mask, the social distancing, the faux lockdowns, the ever changing monthly need for a new vaccine or even better, no need for the Fauci Fables. After all, preventing RVP spread is just like Sisyphus’ punishment.

very old white guy
March 17, 2021 6:01 am

I will simplify it. MASKS DON’T WORK.

Gerald Machnee
March 17, 2021 6:15 am

In Canada I would say there are two reasons for wearing a mask: 1) Avoid a $1,000.00 fine and 2) Avoid getting kicked out of a store. Many people actually believe a mask is 100% protection. As late as April last year Fauci said the masks do not help.

Tom
March 17, 2021 6:35 am

I still think masking works, so I will continue to wear one, even though I’ve had my two shots. I don’t see any harm in it.

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  Tom
March 18, 2021 3:49 am

At least you avoid thinking about it.

March 17, 2021 7:17 am

It is a mistake to conflate mask wearing, and mask wearing MANDATES.

Wearing a mask may or may not do anything. There is overwhelming data showing MANDATES do Nothing.

yirgach
March 17, 2021 7:20 am

In the US, most of the State’s Mask Mandates contain a clause which allows anyone an exemption from mask wearing and also no need to provide any proof of that exemption.
This came legal wrangling came about from the ADA (American Disability Act).

Also, an excellent article on the effects of NPI’s (Non Pharmaceutical Interventions – e.g. Masks and Lockdowns) on the development of more virulent mutations.

There are some virologists who are advocating a cessation of the global vaccination scheme for exactly that reason.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  yirgach
March 17, 2021 8:05 am

The local mandates had the perverse effect of reducing compliance by my estimation for exactly the reason you mention. But whether compliance was 85% or 65%, there was no apparent difference on outcome.

Fran
Reply to  yirgach
March 17, 2021 12:32 pm

In BC you are only mask exempt in indoor public places if you are disabled to the extent that you cannot take the mask off by yourself.

March 17, 2021 7:43 am

Here’s some data: Flu incidence in the US this flu season was 2% of usual. The measures taken against COVID-19 were more effective against flu than against COVID-19 because flu is less contagious and a higher percentage of Americans were vaccinated against flu than against COVID-19. Things would have been much better if all Americans would have worn masks where and when recommended, and properly as opposed to showing off their nostrils.

There’s also something that some Americans still seem to not know: Most masks are more effective at blocking outgoing viruses than against incoming ones. Outgoing viruses are mostly riding droplets of mucus and/or saliva that are easy for masks to catch. If these droplets are not caught right after being exhaled, they evaporate down to smaller particles that pass through masks more easily. And people without symptoms still should wear masks, because some of the people who get asymptomatic infections are contagious, and those who do get symptoms tend to become contagious before they get symptoms. It is even usual of respiratory viruses in general and not just COVID-19 for infected people to become contagious a couple days before getting symptoms. As for people who have a COVID-19 infection with symptoms: Those people need to do even more to avoid spreading the virus, namely staying home.

John Tillman
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
March 17, 2021 9:34 am

In 2019, the CDC published this study finding that hand washing and masks had no significant effect on the spread of flu. Granted, COVID may be more contagious than seasonal flu, for which there are shots, which part of the time guess the strain right.

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article

Abstract
There were 3 influenza pandemics in the 20th century, and there has been 1 so far in the 21st century. Local, national, and international health authorities regularly update their plans for mitigating the next influenza pandemic in light of the latest available evidence on the effectiveness of various control measures in reducing transmission. Here, we review the evidence base on the effectiveness of nonpharmaceutical personal protective measures and environmental hygiene measures in nonhealthcare settings and discuss their potential inclusion in pandemic plans. Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza. We similarly found limited evidence on the effectiveness of improved hygiene and environmental cleaning. We identified several major knowledge gaps requiring further research, most fundamentally an improved characterization of the modes of person-to-person transmission.

It does stand to reason that mask can protect others from my virus-laden droplets, however ineffective it might be against airborne viruses from other infected people. In any case, they’re of at best limited use outdoors in the open air, wind and sunshine, away from crowds.

Last edited 28 days ago by John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
March 17, 2021 6:14 pm

I am concerned about people not wearing masks or wearing masks only over their mouths and not their noses while on crowded downtown sidewalks, in buses and trains and indoor train stations, in retail stores, and while handing restaurant food orders to customers and delivery service couriers in restaurants while the restaurants are takeout/delivery only, and the like. If people would merely wear masks and wear them properly in these and similar situations, other measures that harm businesses get less necessary.

John Tillman
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
March 18, 2021 10:02 am

Masks and keeping our distances does seem to a braces and belt situation.

TonyG
March 17, 2021 7:45 am

Has there been any study on aerosol spread from a saturated cloth mask after being worn 1-2 hours?

Reply to  TonyG
March 17, 2021 6:16 pm

The mask is getting saturated by catching aerosols. The mask getting more moist is from it trapping outgoing aerosols that outgoing respiratory viruses are usually in.

TonyG
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
March 18, 2021 8:32 am

Your response does not answer my question nor does it provide any facts. Are you seriously suggesting that there are no aerosols being pushed through the outside of a saturated mask? If so, please provide the evidence.

March 17, 2021 7:54 am

“They have a poor effect of civil society”

One of the poor effects is that everywhere I look these days I see these disgusting things on the ground.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  D, Anderson
March 17, 2021 8:02 am

Ooof. “Poor effect ON civil society.” Yes, masks are just about the #1 item of litter around here.

Reply to  D, Anderson
March 17, 2021 6:18 pm

I only see littered masks in places where people litter, including littering snotty used tissues. For that matter, cigarette butts get littered more than anything else.

Farmer Ch E retired
March 17, 2021 7:55 am

In order to work, masks have to attenuate the guilty aerosols.”

This is not necessarily so. Masks could work simply by directing the guilty aerosols in a different direction. In watching persons exhaling smoke w/ and w/o masks it becomes obvious. A mask in effect, converts exhaled air from horizontal to vertical – similar to a horizontal car exhaust vs. a vertical smokestack. Warm air (exhaled breath) rises and when the horizontal momentum is interrupted by a mask, the exhaled air rises staying close to your head and away from your neighbors breathing zone.

Reply to  Farmer Ch E retired
March 17, 2021 8:04 am
Last edited 28 days ago by Krishna Gans
Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Krishna Gans
March 17, 2021 8:42 am

The video I saw did not show that much horizontal dispersion with a mask. Could have been different mask material or colder where warm exhaled air would rise faster or his method did not heat the breath as much as if he were breathing naturally. I am HAZWOPER-trained and the Doctor’s point showing exhaled smoke from a respirator is a good one. For comparison, he should have demonstrated smoke exhalation w/o a mask.

Reply to  Farmer Ch E retired
March 17, 2021 8:57 am

The smoke is spread in different directions, horizontal left and right among others.

Last edited 28 days ago by Krishna Gans
Reply to  Farmer Ch E retired
March 17, 2021 6:20 pm

There is also the matter of exhaled droplets of saliva/mucus mostly being larger than most smoke particles, and wetness makes droplets of saliva/mucus makes them easier for a mask to catch.

Farmer Ch E retired
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
March 18, 2021 4:03 pm

The larger droplets would most likely contain a higher viral load. I would still like to see the exhaled smoke without a mask by the good doctor because w/o a control, we don’t know if the mask reduces the radius of influence.

Enginer01
March 17, 2021 8:00 am

Tilting at Windmills

I wear an N95 mask. Not carefully fitted, but valve (illegal in some jurisdictions) makes the N95 mask easier to put on and remove, and eases the breathing effort. Since moist breath does not have to leave via the melt-blown polypropylene, I’m sure the masks are effective longer.

I have also taken four (4) prophylactic doses of ivermectin. (2 grams 1% ivermectin in Propylene glycol and Glycerol formal.) My wife, bless her heart, has relied instead on two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine.

I recently bought Dr Sebastian Rushworth’s eBook, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08YKJXRKF?crid=2VTV0MLGN917U&dchild=1&keywords=sebastian+rushworth&qid=1615453900&sprefix=SEBASTIAN+rushw,aps,305&sr=8-1&linkCode=sl1&tag=sebastianrush-20&linkId=7a46ad9d45b0e202650f3c56dcf11999&language=en_US&ref_=as_li_ss_tl

but most of what is in there I have been preaching for 9 months.

All this information (masks hardly work, stay six feet apart doesn’t help much, etc) has been totally absent from the Extremely Expensive, population funded Government playbooks.

These playbooks appear to be modeled more over George Orwell’s “1984.” (Obey!)

Still no good answer as to why Equatorial African and India are nearly Covid-free compared to our great USA.

The difference appears to be widespread acceptance of ivermectin and/or Hydroxychloroquine, Vitamin D3 and zinc.

When did you ever hear this from the (Windbags) in Washington?

In line with Kevin Kilty’s excellent article, remember I have told you over and over to make sure the humidity is not allowed to drop to low in your living spaces. It shrinks the viruses, enabling to be airborne longer, and makes them more like to penetrate masks.

I still believe the major SARS-CoV-2 vector is airborne aerosol particles.

John Tillman
Reply to  Enginer01
March 17, 2021 9:47 am

The valve concentates any virions you might exhale, making matters worse. An N95 respirator with a valve needs a surgical mask over it.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  John Tillman
March 18, 2021 2:30 pm

“An N95 respirator with a valve needs a surgical mask over it.”

Probably wouldn’t hurt.

Neo
March 17, 2021 8:09 am

The reality on the ground is the face mask use is closely tied to the “whiteness” aspects and assumptions of “Must always ‘Do Something’ about a situation”
(see National Museum of African American History and Culture guide)

Scott Manhart
March 17, 2021 9:00 am

Do not be caught in the false argument over masking. In the real world, masks are only a part of an aseptic protocol that must be adhered to 24/7/365 to have any effect. Regardless of the efficacy of mask on their own (their not) wearing a mask is like the little much like the little dutch boy with his finger in the leaky dyke. The whole thing is washing away around him but for the moment it looks good where he is standing. We have repeatedly tested face masks protocols in the health care setting and found them to be lacking with respect to small particle viruses. If HCP’s can not make them work, the public at large has no hope. Fortunately there is the immure system that has developed over millions of year for just such situations

Anthony
March 17, 2021 10:19 am

This article and discussion is confused as to function of masks. Masks can serve as “source control” and/or “personal protection equipment (PPE)” The physics presented relates to the PPE function–but it is well established that only N95(or equivalent) are effective PPE.If this is true, epidemiological studies suggest that cloth masks are effective for source control.The only truly relevant research is reported by O.Aydin et al. “Performance of fabrics for home-made masks against the spread of COVID-19 through droplets:a quantitative mechanistic study”Extreme Mechanics Letters,40,100924(2020).The paper shows that nearly all virons emitted are contained in relatively large droplets that are efficiently “blocked” by a cloth mask.Fortunately cloth masks are easily cleaned by washing.Thus the basic physics shows that it is good advice to have the general public wear at least a cloth mask indoors and when social distancing is impractical.Outdoors,let the droplet residues containing virons dissipate into the wide blue yonder!

Paul Penrose
March 17, 2021 10:30 am

A couple of points. First, masks don’t protect anybody in the case of coughing or sneezing. When you cough into a mask the amount of air forced out is much more than the mask is designed to handle and the excess blows out the side (along with any virus laden droplets). I’ve seen people blow paper masks right off their face. Second, nobody in their right mind would sneeze into a mask unless they have a replacement handy (most don’t) because it becomes full of snot and unusable. Every time I’ve seen someone wearing a mask sneeze, they pull the mask down and sneeze into their elbow. Third, if masks had a large effect on transmission of viruses it would be obvious by now based on the data we have. As it is, it must be small or non existent, rendering the mask mandates security theater and an unreasonable violation of our freedoms.

I will also note that in some states, like mine, face shields are allowed as an alternative to masks, which just proves that the mandates are all about the “optics” and not about health and safety.

Nick Schroeder
March 17, 2021 11:25 am

The US, Brazil, Mexico, India, UK and Italy together have more C-19 related deaths than the ENTIRE rest of the globe combined!!
CA, NY, TX, FL and PA together have as many C-19 related deaths as the ENTIRE rest of the country combined.
Denver, El Paso, Jefferson and Arapahoe counties together have more C-19 deaths than the ENTIRE rest of Colorado.
That takes some kind of special talent like maybe crappy (BLUE) health care systems.

Between 3/5/21 and 12/9/20 CDC logged 867,627 deaths from ALL causes, 2,643 per million.
During the same period CDC logged 232,705 C-19 “involved” deaths, 709 per million.

To date 400,228, 81.0%, of ALL C-19 deaths are among those 65+, 16% of the population.
32.2% of C-19 deaths occurred in nursing homes, hospice or residence.
65-74 accounted for 22.0% at 3,405 per million.
75-84 accounted for 28.8% at 8,631 per million.
85+ accounted for 31.3% at 23,494 per million w/ 2% of the population.
85.6% of C-19 CASES are among those UNDER 65.
 
Japan has the highest percentage of 65+, 27%, yet only 8,120 deaths, 64.2 per million.
What do they know/do the rest of the world does not?
 
C-19 is not a problem for the young and healthy herd.
Mother Nature and her buddy Grim Reaper are just doing their jobs, culling the herd of the too many, too old, too sick warehoused too close together as Medicare/Medicaid cash cows in poorly run (BLUE) contagious lethal elder care facilities.
 
If C-19 is mostly killing off old sick people why are super-legislator Chancellor comrade Biden, Fauci, their minions and our elected morons suspending civil liberties, due process, bankrupting the country with lockdowns, distancing and masked clown shows?

And the lying, fact free, fake news MSM left-wing coup de’tat propaganda machine has betrayed its responsibility to democracy and an informed public.

March 17, 2021 12:25 pm

I think that masks probaby have very little effect BUT they remind people to take care and they probably do very little harm and they are cheap.
I think there is really very little downside to them.
They are, as theh snooker players say, a shot to nothing. they might work, but if they don’t, there is no real downside, despite what you say.

TonyG
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 17, 2021 12:46 pm

I don’t know where you live, but here in NC I’m seeing just the opposite – people put on the mask and then throw everything else they should do out the window.

niceguy
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 17, 2021 5:24 pm

Except those in the metro who put down their mask, sneeze into their hand, then put their mask up again…

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 18, 2021 4:45 am

Except that the Executive Orders that mandate masks are an affront to the Constitution in the US and a serious erosion of our personal liberties. In this light, they are more of a sign of obedience than anything else. There is the downside, and it’s a real danger.

PaulH
March 17, 2021 12:28 pm

Even the redoubtable (sarc) WHO recognized the limitations of face masks in their October 2019 publication:

Non-pharmaceutical public health measures for mitigating the risk and impact of epidemic and pandemic influenza

Follow the link to the PDF document, wherein you will find the following conclusion:

“There have been a number of high-quality randomized controlled trials (RCTs) demonstrating that personal protective measures such as hand hygiene and face masks have, at best, a small effect on influenza transmission, although higher compliance in a severe pandemic might improve effectiveness.”

and…

“Face masks worn by asymptomatic people are conditionally recommended in severe epidemics or pandemics, to reduce transmission in the community. Although there is no evidence that this is effective in reducing transmission, there is mechanistic plausibility for the potential effectiveness of this measure.”

It’s very frustrating that accumulated knowledge and experience was abandoned by the current generation of public health experts.

S.K.
March 17, 2021 3:29 pm

Why do I have no right at all to demand that another person wear a mask? Even inside my home? Even when people are only a foot away from me? Even when we hug or shake hands?
Because I have no right to raise their blood pressure by an average of 12 points systolic.[13] I have no right to force anyone to incubate an average of 100,000 bacterial colonies in their airways or on their skin, which were cultured from the used masks of European train commuters.[14] I have no right to immobilize the cilia of people’s airways, which they need to help escalate inhaled viruses, bacteria and fungi up the trachea, away from the lungs.[15] I have no right to put asbestos fiber size particles deep into their lungs, where those can begin the process of pulmonary fibrosis (the most frightening and hopeless disease I have seen as a physician) and are unlikely to be exhaled.[16] I have no right to interfere with the function of a person’s immune system to perform its usual functions.[17] [18] [19]
My research team has compiled the most comprehensive research in the English language on the hazards of masks, through several peer-reviewed articles here,[20] in which we cited and linked to over 200 studies in the peer-reviewed published medical literature.

https://principia-scientific.com/noted-physician-makes-compelling-case-against-mask-mandates/

Ken
March 17, 2021 3:53 pm

Quite a good article, but will it be seen by those that make the use of masks mandatory?

Something that the author touched upon a few times was the proper fit of the mask to the face. Yet this article and many others assume that everyone wearing a mask is clean shaven. ANY type or quantity a facial hair, either on men or women, that contacts a mask edge makes that mask completely ineffective.

Surgical settings are where masks are worn the most. What is never mentioned is that these surgical masks are replaced often, usually when the mask becomes damp or wet from exhaled breath. The primary function of these surgical masks is to help maintain the sterile surgical area from bacteria. These masks provide no protection from a virus, either going out of the mask or coming in.

I’m in northern Florida where there never was any mask mandate. The only times I have worn a mask is to enter an establishment that requires the use, usually in Alabama for grocery shopping. Then I wear a very thin single layer, almost transparent cloth mesh mask. Face coverings are mandated but the exact item is not, so it can be anything.

March 17, 2021 6:36 pm

I have noticed that most of the anti-maskers have also been conservatives or libertarians who oppose other mandates having been done. These conservatives & libertarians not only oppose mask mandates, but also they claim that masks don’t work, to such an extent as even bringing up studies that are only half true about masks not having effectiveness against the SARS-COV-2 virus. I have even noticed some libertarian-type rightwingers saying that people are only responsible for their own health and not the health of others, when COVID-19 is the health issue. I have also noticed that most masks other than N95 are more effective at blocking outgoing viruses than against incoming ones because outgoing viruses are mostly riding exhaled droplets of mucus/saliva that are easy for non-N95 masks to catch on the way out, and if these droplets are not caught on the way out they evaporate down to smaller particles that more easily pass through masks. I wonder if these conservatives & libertarians even think about people avoiding making others sick and avoiding contributing to spread of this virus decreasing tendencies of governments to mandate other things that are more harmful to generating economic activity than mask mandates are.

Independent
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
March 17, 2021 9:59 pm

Did you even read the article? There is zero effectiveness of face diapers in stopping the Wuhan communist Chinese virus. A year’s worth of data proves that without any doubt. Places where less people wore muzzles had no worse outcomes than those that strictly mandated them. Even the CDC admitted that there’s no statistically significant effect. Stop spreading lies.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
March 18, 2021 4:51 am

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a long reply in which every sentence was either a lie or a logical fallacy, but you managed it. It must have taken some effort, so I suppose I should give you credit for that at least.

TonyG
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
March 18, 2021 8:34 am

I have noticed that you are rather long on opinion but quite short on evidence.

March 17, 2021 7:50 pm

I remain the world’s leading expert on respirators. My dad and I made a lot of money in this business, and I learned everything that could be learned.

He said, “Michael, you know more about respirators than anyone I know, and I know them all!” He did, and I do.

there are two kinds of respirators/masks, those that make an air-tight seal to the face, and those that do not. No cloth or surgical or N-95 masks make an air-tight seal to the face. This requires a properly designed elastomeric face piece.

In the hospitals conversation is very important, but almost impossible through an air-tight facepiece. So they use the N-95 masks and the face shields, which are almost as good.

This virus is mostly transmitted indoors at close quarters with poor ventilation. Cloth masks can only absorb sneezes, coughs, and shouting, but this is slightly better than nothing as the virus is basically transmitted by droplets expelled from sick people.

wearing a mask outdoors is absurd, as to the Wind.

I know everything about masks and respirators, ask me anything.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Michael Moon
March 18, 2021 5:01 am

Please provide links to real studies that show “the virus [C19] is basically transmitted by droplets expelled from sick people” and that contact with virus laden surfaces is not a major transmission path. By focusing on masks and social distancing and ignoring hand and surface cleaning, the “experts” are doing the public a disservice. This may be one of the reasons that countries like Japan, which are habitual hand washers, seem to have a lower transmission rate.

Pat Frank
March 18, 2021 1:46 pm

Kevin, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you! 🙂

March 18, 2021 4:01 pm

Whoa!

I put off reading beyond the first page because of questionable assumptions:

  • the simpler masks are to stop droplets that contain the tiny particles of the virus, especially that fall on you from someone coughing or sneezing
  • the six feet criteria without mask comes from the probable limit of trajectory of droplets, which are ballistic – they fall down as they travel outward (I’d go for 9 feet to be safe, make it three metres to get ten feet)
  • ‘aerosols is a vague term that is misused, there apparently is a common scientific term but interpretation by most people varies from droplets to mist
  • ‘cloth’ is a misleading term, it should mean without a filter layer (cotton bandana the simplest example), but even disposables usually have three layers including a filter layer in the middle.
  • problem with simple masks is breathing air in around the side of the mask as sides are not sealed
  • shortage of N95 masks because gummints failed to prepare for the inevitability of another pandemic, like SARSv1, Asian Flu, Hong Kong flu, Swine flu – all killer respiratory virus
  • there is a question as to how much virus is needed to overcome body’s rejection of it
  • missing from your list of ways to evaluate/experiment/test is airflow tests of actual masks, on mannequins with nasal passages, and measurement of what gets through. Perhaps the research prompting the Shimbu article does that.
March 18, 2021 5:39 pm

Furthermore, beware of misunderstanding the term ‘surgical mask’. I gather the common pleated three-layer mask is that, whereas the superior N95 is not but people tend to assume the term ‘surgical mask’ means a device that actually seals.

And recently there was a cry to wear two masks, I did not understand what that would achieve over one ‘surgical mask’.

There are clear face shields, which will stop splatter, but are much less effective at stopping mist as they are wide open at the sides.

Of concern to me is sealing around the nose to keep glasses from fogging up so you don’t trip over something and really hurt you health. That sealing should reduce ingestion of mist.

Recall research that shows ventilation of enclosed areas is key in preventing transmission. Yet politicians insist on a 50 person limit even in a large modern stadium or huge church. They are just stumbling around.

And keep in mind the real risk from the SARS-CoV-2 virus is to persons in quite poor health, ‘underlying conditions’ is a popular term. Lungs of course as it is a respiratory virus, heart as it is to some degree also a vascular virus and in any case lungs depend on good blood flow from the heart. Alberta is smartly going to vaccinate people with deficient immune systems, such as recent cancer treatment and people with a transplanted organ. I know such a person, and someone with very slow growing cancer which does occur in old age, and someone prone to lung problems (think strong asthma) – all self-isolated a year ago. Note the risk is not from age, but health, there are healthy 90yos but in general more older people have more serious problems, and less resilience. That’s why INFLUENZA kills so many – weakened body succumbs to pneumonia bacteria.

Note that deaths are overwhelmingly in care residences which by definition are full of people in quite poor health, and are environments of high transmission risk from aids helping more than one customer in a shift. Yet some care residences did not have deaths, they took assertive action early as they recognized the risk from an emerging virus and knew it would eventually come to North America. (In Canada a large chain of residences did that, as well as smaller chains.) And Florida saw the Italian experience so quickly acted toward care residences, starting with those whose last inspection was less than great.

March 18, 2021 5:51 pm

Interesting that the substantive movie production industry in Vancouver BC had a fall without INFLUENZA problems, credited to physical distancing, masks worn when not on camera, avoiding socializing, and staying away when sick.
Hollywood North: One year later, moving forward looks good | The Province

PaulH
Reply to  Keith Sketchley
March 20, 2021 4:50 pm

Perhaps they stayed away from all public hospitals and long-term healthcare facilities.

Maxbert
March 18, 2021 6:55 pm

This is by far the most intelligent analysis I’ve seen on the COVID situation.