National Addiction News

A policy review paper9 published in Emerging Infectious Diseases in May 2020 — the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s own journal — has also reviewed “the evidence base on the effectiveness of nonpharmaceutical personal protective measures … in non-healthcare settings,” and they too found no evidence of benefit:

“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.”

Pages 970 to 972 of the review include the following quotes:10

“In our systematic review, we identified 10 RCTs [randomized controlled trials] that reported estimates of the effectiveness of face masks in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infections in the community from literature published during 1946–July 27, 2018. In pooled analysis, we found no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks …

Disposable medical masks (also known as surgical masks) are loose-fitting devices that were designed to be worn by medical personnel to protect accidental contamination of patient wounds, and to protect the wearer against splashes or sprays of bodily fluids …

There is limited evidence for their effectiveness in preventing influenza virus transmission either when worn by the infected person for source control or when worn by uninfected persons to reduce exposure.

Our systematic review found no significant effect of face masks on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza … In this review, we did not find evidence to support a protective effect of personal protective measures or environmental measures in reducing influenza transmission.”

These Mistakes Undermine the Protection Masks May Provide

If and when you do use a mask, you have to follow proper protocols, or else you can nullify what little protection they do offer against potentially infectious respiratory droplets. As detailed in WHO’s guidance memo, you need to make sure your medical mask is:11

  • Changed when wet, soiled or damaged
  • Untouched. Do not adjust or displace it from your face for any reason. “If this happens, the mask should be safely removed and replaced; and hand hygiene performed”
  • Discarded and changed after caring for any patient on contact/droplet precautions for other pathogens

The memo also points out that “Staff who do not work in clinical areas do not need to use a medical mask during routine activities (e.g., administrative staff).” Now, if administrative hospital staff do not need to wear masks, why would healthy individuals need to wear them when walking around, especially in open-air areas?

Broward county, Florida, has gone so far as to issue an emergency order12 mandating masks to be worn inside your own residence. But why, if administrative hospital staff aren’t even advised to wear them at work?

In summary, it is likely that masks are not entirely useless in all circumstances. However, the literature rather strongly suggests the usefulness of masks depends on a significant number of factors — type, fit, length of use, purpose and circumstances — which are effectively impossible to account for in public universal-masking policies.

The science, contrary to the ignorant platitudes we are bombarded with, has NOT proven that universal masking is effective for viral containment, and has instead provided substantial grounds for skepticism of such a policy.

Benefits of Mask Wearing Do Not Include Infection Control

Despite the lack of scientific evidence showing masks do much of anything to prevent the spread of viral infections, the WHO still manages to make a case for universal mask wearing. The “potential benefits” listed, however, have little to do with health, and much more to do with learning submission. According to the WHO, potential benefits of mask wearing include:13

•”Reduced potential stigmatization of individuals wearing masks to prevent infecting others or of people caring for COVID-19 patients in nonclinical settings” — In other words, we should all wear masks to make people caring for COVID-19 patients feel more accepted, as if that’s actually a significant problem.

•”Making people feel they can play a role in contributing to stopping spread of the virus” — I.e., masks, while providing a false sense of security, make people feel like they’re “doing something” to help. Put another way, it makes people feel virtuous and “good.”

•”Reminding people to be compliant with other measures” — In other words, mask wearing is a sign of overall compliance.

•”Potential social and economic benefits” — This is perhaps the most ludicrously strained reason of all. According to the WHO:

“Encouraging the public to create their own fabric masks may promote individual enterprise and community integration … The production of non-medical masks may offer a source of income for those able to manufacture masks within their communities. Fabric masks can also be a form of cultural expression, encouraging public acceptance of protection measures in general.”