Folks, the science is settled on masks.
As I have repeatedly pointed out they do nothing for viruses. There are a number of reasons for this — and physics tells us that they shouldn’t work. If you want to read the whole screed it’s here, complete with a link to another source from before when these became politicized that includes links to multiple random controlled trials, which are the gold standard in medicine. They found no evidence that masks even when worn by medical personnel who are trained, did anything to inhibit viral transmission.
There are plenty of observational studies that claim effectiveness. Observational studies are worthless; by definition they cannot prove causal links. Further, as I’ve repeatedly pointed out the person who wants to make an extraordinarily claim (or impose an extraordinarily order, such as a lockdown or a mask requirement) has the burden of proof, not suggestion.
There are people who say “well, but one viral particle isn’t enough to get infected, so if you block some of them that’s benefit.” That’s only half-true. All viruses have what is called a “MID”, or “minimum infective dose.” The problem is that one <2.5um aerosol particle, which is not filtered effectively by even an N95, and not filtered at all by anything less, has enough virons in and on it to infect you. In other words, just one of those particles that gets through has more than a MID on it and thus the claim is false.
In fact masks may actually make the situation worse in that they radically concentrate larger droplets, such as are expelled in a cough or sneeze and leave them on the mask surface where they can then be transferred to your hands and infect someone. If not on the mask they drop rapidly onto the ground because they’re too large and gravity gets them. It is what are known as the “fine particulates” that can remain part of the fluid motion of the air for an extended period of time — in fact, almost-permanently.
Larger particles can be forcefully expelled by yelling, singing, playing wind instruments (although most of them collect in said instrument; thus the spit drain in a trombone, trumpet, etc) and, of course, coughing and sneezing. But those large particles drop to the ground quickly; they are much heavier than air. You want those to drop to the ground because they can’t infect anyone who isn’t running their hands on the ground immediately thereafter! Concentrating them where you can touch them is bad, not good. (Incidentally while we all now say “cough or sneeze into your sleeve” there’s no science supporting that either — in fact what studies we have say doing it doesn’t decrease transmission.)
But a particle that is small enough passes through in both directions with a mask. That is, what you exhale passes through and so does what you inhale. That’s the physics, and it’s also the result of RCTs of which there have been many over the decades. Remember, we’ve tried to figure out how to stop flu transmission for decades as the flu kills upwards of 60,000 a year in the United States alone — and have never succeeded.
That’s not because we didn’t study it.
We did study it.
Here are four controlled trials in the general population. I also have multiple ones over the last 20 years in health care settings with the same results. This isn’t my data, it isn’t conjecture, these are published medical studies.
And these are surgical masks and N95s — not bandanas or your girlfriend’s panties.
What do these studies repeatedly show?
HAND HYGIENE, that is WASHING YOUR ****ING HANDS, works.
It produces statistically significant reductions in virus transmission, repeatedly, in controlled trials.
MASKS NEVER HAVE.
Never mind that the CDC itself published a retrospective look at various RCTs and found that masks on people in the general population are useless. When did they say this? In May of this year.
Do continue reading this article HERE