Masks?

 

In the midst of renewed calls for universal masking in the name of Covid-19, can we have a reasoned, data-oriented discussion of how well universal masking prevents Covid deaths? Universal masking harms people and harms society. To justify such harms, I expect strong evidentiary support for the theory that universal masking prevents a significant number of Covid deaths.

Universal masking harms people. Many mask wearers experience anxiety, increased blood pressure, difficulties breathing. Universal masking cuts off much if not most interpersonal communication for many people, and interferes with the ability of children to learn and to develop social skills.

Universal masking harms society (American perspective; may be different in other cultures). Mask wearing fosters suspicion, distrust, and individual isolation. Masking discourages communication and cooperation. I believe that, along with stay-at-home orders, universal masking contributed to the widespread violence we saw in 2020.

I hear assertions that the intent of universal masking is to reduce Covid deaths. I seem to have missed the data (not just the theories and intentions) that universal masking reduces Covid deaths.

I am not looking here for philosophical arguments about liberty. Nor for arguments involving vaccinations.  Many of the calls for universal masking do not distinguish on the basis of vaccination. None of the Covid vaccines has been fully tested, so it is entirely rational for individuals to decide that the risks (known and unknown) of receiving a vaccine outweigh the risks (mostly known) of contracting Covid itself. Finally, the discussion should focus on Covid deaths (or serious illness or hospitalization). “Spread of Covid” and “Covid cases” confuses the discussion by including the vast majority of people who get Covid and have no or mild symptoms.

Studies that show Covid deaths in 2020 were not materially different between places with mask requirements and places without mask requirements (or between times before and after mask requirements) are of little to no help. In 2020 the rates of mask-wearing were high regardless of requirements, so the differences in actual mask-wearing were not all that large. Are there studies that use actual mask-wearing rates, as opposed to mandates?

I’m skeptical of extrapolating evidence from mask-wearing by medical personnel in medical facilities to mask-wearing by the general public in general environments. Medical personnel are trained in protocols for wearing and handling masks, and wear them in facilities designed and equipped with systems for limiting the spread of disease. We have seen that the general public does not follow medical mask protocols. The places frequented by the general public do not have the disease-limiting facilities and systems that medical facilities have.

Laboratory experiments showing that mask material captures viruses when virus-laden air is blown at the mask material are also of limited value. There are major differences between the laboratory conditions and how people use masks in general environments, so the correlation between the laboratory experiment and the “real world” is unclear.

“Intuitively obvious” seems to carry a lot of weight in the masking debate. We heard that a lot in the arguments about wearing two or more masks. The proponents said “of course” if one mask was good, two were better. But I never saw them present much evidence for that proposition. Even with respect to single masks, many of the arguments for masking just assume that putting cloth or paper over a person’s face will reduce the spread of the virus, and thus deaths. There must be data somewhere supporting that theory.

As you can tell, I am not convinced that universal masking prevents enough Covid deaths to justify the individual and societal harms universal masking imposes. But, I like to think that I could be persuaded.

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  1. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I would not frame the argument with studies that show masks are ineffective in and of themselves in perfectly controlling the spread of upper-respiratory diseases.

    I would frame it in the context of a collection of measures that could possibly be taken, many of which have been rejected by the public as inconvenient or intolerable. On the list of thirty steps that could be taken, we’ve rejected fifteen already for one reason or another, and we want to push this one into the reject column in public nonmedical settings.

    • #31
  2. Captain French Moderator
    Captain French
    @AlFrench

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Making kids mask up is not only contrary to an abundance of science about kids and COVID but a perverse willingness to promote fear and disrupt normal life for kids.

    Portland’s wealthiest suburb has announced plans to require students twelve and under to wear masks next year. (And to recommend masks for those over twelve. If masking makes any sense, isn’t that backwards?)

    • #32
  3. Captain French Moderator
    Captain French
    @AlFrench

    MarciN (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    At this point, I think the best we can hope for is to get mask wearing on local ballots.

    I don’t want to be ruled by the Karens.

    In other words, do you think the proponents for wearing masks would win a local vote?

    I think it would be very close even in Massachusetts, so close that I couldn’t guess how it would turn out.

    I don’t share your confidence should such a vote be held in Oregon.

    • #33
  4. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    The other interesting fact is that the CDC is telling everybody to retire the PCR test.

    After December 31, 2021, CDC will withdraw the request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel, the assay first introduced in February 2020 for detection of SARS-CoV-2 only. CDC is providing this advance notice for clinical laboratories to have adequate time to select and implement one of the many FDA-authorized alternatives.

    Not until the end of the year, but why?

    CDC recommends clinical laboratories and testing sites that have been using the CDC 2019-nCoV RT-PCR assay select and begin their transition to another FDA-authorized COVID-19 test. CDC encourages laboratories to consider adoption of a multiplexed method that can facilitate detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses.

    Emphasis mine. Are they telling me that the PCR can’t tell the difference between Covid and seasonal flu? Is that why the flu season last year was a big zero?

    I’d appreciate hearing from anybody who is an expert on this stuff.

    That is hugely important news.

    The first round of PCR tests were thrown out by the CDC because they were picking up too much noise–upper respiratory diseases of all kinds, including influenza–and not enough signal–the covid-19 virus.

    The flu generally disappeared from the globe.

    Or did it?

    Of course, people do not die from the flu but from the viral or bacterial pneumonia or opportunistic fungi that travels with it. So one could say that people had the flu but it was the SARS-CoV-2 virus that actually killed them.

    So this finding would not necessarily affect the death statistics, just the case number statistics.

    • #34
  5. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    MarciN (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    At this point, I think the best we can hope for is to get mask wearing on local ballots.

    I don’t want to be ruled by the Karens.

    In other words, do you think the proponents for wearing masks would win a local vote?

    I think it would be very close even in Massachusetts, so close that I couldn’t guess how it would turn out.

    That’s why I don’t want to take a chance. I’ve seen how our locals vote. That’s why we have such a STUPID City Council. I don’t want these same people making decisions about mask mandates.

    • #35
  6. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    At this point, I think the best we can hope for is to get mask wearing on local ballots.

    I don’t want to be ruled by the Karens.

    In other words, do you think the proponents for wearing masks would win a local vote?

    I think it would be very close even in Massachusetts, so close that I couldn’t guess how it would turn out.

    That’s why I don’t want to take a chance. I’ve seen how our locals vote. That’s why we have such a STUPID City Council. I don’t want these same people making decisions about mask mandates.

    It would be interesting to see an actual vote. :-) Cape Cod is full of tourists at the moment from all over the country. They aren’t wearing masks unless it’s required by a business. So I’m wondering if the country has moved on from masks. 

    Trump and I believed the vaccines were the best way to go to get the world back to normal. Looking at the tourists on Cape Cod right now, I can see we were right. :-) :-) 

    • #36
  7. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    The other interesting fact is that the CDC is telling everybody to retire the PCR test.

    After December 31, 2021, CDC will withdraw the request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel, the assay first introduced in February 2020 for detection of SARS-CoV-2 only. CDC is providing this advance notice for clinical laboratories to have adequate time to select and implement one of the many FDA-authorized alternatives.

    Not until the end of the year, but why?

    CDC recommends clinical laboratories and testing sites that have been using the CDC 2019-nCoV RT-PCR assay select and begin their transition to another FDA-authorized COVID-19 test. CDC encourages laboratories to consider adoption of a multiplexed method that can facilitate detection and differentiation of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses.

    Emphasis mine. Are they telling me that the PCR can’t tell the difference between Covid and seasonal flu? Is that why the flu season last year was a big zero?

    I’d appreciate hearing from anybody who is an expert on this stuff.

     

    Very curious how  “The Delta Variant” is identified if PCR testing can’t differentiate between Covid-19 and the flu.

    • #37
  8. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Veering somewhat off the original topic, but today (Tuesday July 27) I am hearing a lot of the mask discussion in the context of school openings. The cost / benefit ratio of universal masking and other mechanisms intended to reduce the transmission of the Covid 19 virus seems even worse for school children than for the general public. The benefits to children of trying to keep them from coming into contact with the virus seem minimal. Thus, any more than minimal costs imposed on children are disproportionate to the risks.

    Supposedly 14% of Covid “cases” are children (presumably meaning under age 18). But less than 0.26% of Covid deaths are children. And less than 4% of hospitalizations are children. Children have a statistically insignificant probability of having a medically severe consequence to Covid-19. So schools are imposing costly virus transmission mitigation measures on a population for which the virus has a statistically insignificant risk. Yes, 400 of the 600,000 Covid deaths are children, which is 400 more than any of us would like to see. But there are about 75,000,000 children in the United States (22% of the population) who may be subjected to potentially significant restrictions. 

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/children-are-not-supposed-to-die-cdc-director-gives-passionate-response-about-how-children-make-up-400-of-the-600-000-covid-19-deaths/ar-AAMAx78 

    Imposing virus transmission mitigation (including masks) burdens (cost) on tens of millions of children who have a statistically insignificant risk from the virus seems like a poor trade off.

    This illustrates another difference with the medical facilities systems. Medical facilities inherently have diseased people in them, as well as people whose ability to combat new diseases may be weak. So the risk of disease transmission is relatively high, which justifies the costs of extensive efforts to mitigate disease spread. The costs of extensive efforts to mitigate disease spread are harder to justify in facilities occupied by people who are generally disease-free, and who have normal abilities to combat diseases they may encounter. 

    • #38
  9. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Roderic (View Comment):
    My impression is that studies purportedly showing that masks don’t work have no credibility in they eyes of most medical people.

    One of the weird things going on is that health care workers are one of the larger demographics among the COVID-vax refuseniks. Here are their reasons given.

    Maybe the health care workers, who are seeing first hand the results of the adverse effects that are now so wide spread, are not vaccine hesitant but “real health protective.”

    Many health workers are speaking out about how often people who have gotten the jab at their clinic then report in to demonstrate the  serious damage being done to them. (And to ask for remedies, of course.) Due to social media platforms  allowing for avatars and pseudonyms, these health workers  can speak out in public forums.

    But in the work place they are told by their clinic administrators to tells the vax-injured that “this condition you are reporting is simply coincidental to your getting the shot.”

    • #39
  10. Headedwest Inactive
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Here is the mask report from Texas:

    • #40
  11. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    From Breitbart:

    https://www.breitbart.com/clips/2021/07/27/desantis-biden-admin-wants-kindergartners-muzzled-with-masks-but-they-dont-give-a-damn-about-covid-on-border/

    • #41
  12. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    Here is the mask report from Texas:

    I think Mr. Abbott is making a tactical error here.

    Rather than framing his opposition to mandates in personal liberty, I think he should say that he might consider mask mandates if anyone can show him an example of a mandate altering the spread of COVID.

    • #42
  13. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    Here is the mask report from Texas:

    I think Mr. Abbott is making a tactical error here.

    Rather than framing his opposition to mandates in personal liberty, I think he should say that he might consider mask mandates if anyone can show him an example of a mandate altering the spread of COVID.

    I’m looking for those examples (or at least evidence) to see if we can move the discussion away from just political philosophy. 

    The pro-mask people have offered little other than “because the ‘experts’ say so,” matched by anti-mask people saying “individual liberty.” 

    • #43
  14. Headedwest Inactive
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    Here is the mask report from Texas:

    I think Mr. Abbott is making a tactical error here.

    Rather than framing his opposition to mandates in personal liberty, I think he should say that he might consider mask mandates if anyone can show him an example of a mandate altering the spread of COVID.

    I’m looking for those examples (or at least evidence) to see if we can move the discussion away from just political philosophy.

    The pro-mask people have offered little other than “because the ‘experts’ say so,” matched by anti-mask people saying “individual liberty.”

    The time series data I see generally shows little to no support for the hypothesis that mass mask wearing has a big impact on Covid outcomes. This is state or national data which captures the actual total outcomes for the population, and has the actual net effect of all the people wearing or not wearing masks. I saved one of those which compares Sweden (basically fully open) and Germany (many mask mandates). This is a legit comparison because they are geographically relatively close:

    If you looked at the Germany data in isolation you might conclude that the January 20 mask mandate drove the decline, but when you overlay the maskless Sweden data, you see that the seasonality is the key.

    • #44
  15. Roderic Coolidge
    Roderic
    @rhfabian

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Roderic (View Comment):

    In the face of all this evidence that masks are not effective one has to as oneself why medical authorities universally recommend their use. At hospitals where I work their continuous use on the job has been mandated without interruption since the beginning of the pandemic. Nobody I know of where I work is questioning this. (Strange that we haven’t seen anyone dying of mask use. No depression, anxiety, social alienation, etc., either.)

    My impression is that studies purportedly showing that masks don’t work have no credibility in they eyes of most medical people. They’ve seen many studies over the years on various topics that turn out to be unreproducible. Those especially likely to be unreproducible are those dealing with political hot-button issues.

    Why were these studies on masks, calling into question verities established for over a 100 years, even done? Would they have been published if the results were different? Are these groups making good faith efforts to find the truth, or do these groups have an ax to grind? The spate of studies on masks in recent months tells you it’s most likely to be the latter.

    It’s a shame that simple public health issues have been politicized

    I’m asking for evidence that the experience of trained medical personnel gathered for particular purposes in use-specific medical facilities with systems and protocols translates to the general public in places whose primary purpose is not medical care. The cited studies suggest the experience of medical professionals does not translate to the general public.

    Here’s a review of the evidence for mask effectiveness.  From the abstract:

    The preponderance of evidence indicates that mask wearing reduces transmissibility per contact by reducing transmission of infected respiratory particles in both laboratory and clinical contexts. Public mask wearing is most effective at reducing spread of the virus when compliance is high. 

    There are no credible studies showing that masks don’t work.

    Even if they are not 100% effective mask use is worthwhile because the effect is multiplied across contacts.

    There is no good evidence that using masks is harmful.

    It’s wrong to think that if viruses are smaller than mask pores that the masks won’t work.  Viruses mostly travel on much larger particles like water droplets.  Also, a mask can stop a virus even if the mask pores are larger because sieving the air is not the only way masks work.

    Besides, if the studies show they work then they work regardless of the mechanism.

    Mask use can be effective even if some people don’t use masks properly.

    Here’s another review from Nature, more for popular consumption.

    To be clear, the science supports using masks, with recent studies suggesting that they could save lives in different ways: research shows that they cut down the chances of both transmitting and catching the coronavirus, and some studies hint that masks might reduce the severity of infection if people do contract the disease.

    In the medical profession the fact that masks work is for all intents beyond dispute.  There is a general recognition that masks are far from perfect, though.

    • #45
  16. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Roderic (View Comment):

    There are no credible studies showing that masks don’t work.

    I listed ten such studies at the start of this thread. Here are more.

    There is no good evidence that using masks is harmful.

    There are studies showing that masks are indeed harmful. Here are three.

    Dangerous pathogens found on children’s face masks

    Experimental Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Content in Inhaled Air With or Without Face Masks in Healthy Children — A Randomized Clinical Trial

    Study finds prolonged mask use may lead to intermittent hypoxia and an increase in hemoglobin mass

     

    • #46
  17. Headedwest Inactive
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):
    Study finds prolonged mask use may lead to intermittent hypoxia and an increase in hemoglobin mass

    If I wear an N95 mask, I’m breathless in less than a half hour.

    • #47
  18. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    Here is the mask report from Texas:

    I think Mr. Abbott is making a tactical error here.

    Rather than framing his opposition to mandates in personal liberty, I think he should say that he might consider mask mandates if anyone can show him an example of a mandate altering the spread of COVID.

    Don’t you think the NIH already has dummied up a study showing that masks did save countless lives last year?

    Two nights ago, listening first to a vid by Dr Lee Merritt, and then one by Dr Charles Martin, one of the two stated their research has revealed both Big Pharma and the “health” agencies now realize many people do not trust the studies coming from Pfizer, Moderna, NIH, CDC, FDA et al.

    So according to one of those two, the tactic now is to find doctors willing to accept payments in exchange for slapping their names on studies done by the company and agency  members of The Global Medical Mafia, thereby perhaps creating some credibility. (The public is in “indie research mode” these days.)

    Someone here was using a study by some doctor from Yale’s school of medicine, which was positive about one of the COVID issues. (Masks or vaxxes, but I can’t remember which one.) I found it of great interest that in reading the study, that doctor had said there were no industry ties for him to reveal. Either that doctor doesn’t know Bill Gates has his foundation submit beaucoup donations to The Yale Med School, or he is a liar.

    Even Marcie Angell of the New England Journal of Medicine stated 15 years ago that research has been tainted by the overwhelming presence of monies coming from sources indicating a definite conflict of interest as far as researchers being able to have autonomy in the pursuit of science.

    • #48
  19. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Honestly, if you want real data regarding COVID, you have to look outside the United States.

    And China, obvs.

    • #49
  20. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Traditionally, before bureaucrats and Rockefeller Institute’s version of medicine took over the information flow relating to health matters, masks being worn by all members of the public for an epidemic  made sense only if done in the initial six weeks of the outbreak.  

    That stands to reason. After six weeks, so many people have interacted with so many other people that the infection has left the barn. Shutting the gate after that makes sense how?

    I have worn a mask for a total of 3 hours since Mar 13th 2020. I avoid businesses that require it. I live in a small community where many business owners know me and I guess their thinking is that “She must have that service dog for a reason.” Once or twice I have been asked to mask up by solicitous and polite business owners. I explain my health problem and they then apologize.

    The local grocery has lost over $ 300 a month from my household as they went into full mask mode by the last week of June 2020. They refused to make accommodations I suggested, which by the way were accommodations suggested by Fed law for those who need them. I suppose I might have tried suing them, but not shopping there any more has offered them a penalty that costs me nothing while lawsuits are always expensive.

    By the last week of June, the one billion bucks in mask products ordered by the Beloved Governor Newsom had been shipped over from China, shipped back due to flaws, and then shipped back here after the problems were mitigated.

    It was thought initially stores would require mass by May 15th, but Newsom’s business model wasn’t up and running until June.

    (By the way, I had COVID in Mar 2020, and by end of April I could not have still  been contagious. No masks were required when I had it. Had the news media ever mentioned that it was possible to have a mild case of it, circa the first 3 weeks in Mar, I would have worn a mask. But all I had heard about COVID was that you knew you had COVID as you were on death’s door overnight.)

     

     

    • #50
  21. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Honestly, if you want real data regarding COVID, you have to look outside the United States.

    And China, obvs.

    Both Taiwanese and Vietnamese officials have mentioned they have government agencies whose personnel  take down all information that China releases and then evaluate it, often deciding to do an approach 180 degrees from what Chinese officials suggest should occur.

    • #51
  22. Headedwest Inactive
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    I’ll just add this:

    If you think masks work, please explain these data series.

    • #52
  23. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Roderic (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Roderic (View Comment):

    In the face of all this evidence that masks are not effective one has to as oneself why medical authorities universally recommend their use. At hospitals where I work their continuous use on the job has been mandated without interruption since the beginning of the pandemic. Nobody I know of where I work is questioning this. (Strange that we haven’t seen anyone dying of mask use. No depression, anxiety, social alienation, etc., either.)

    My impression is that studies purportedly showing that masks don’t work have no credibility in they eyes of most medical people. They’ve seen many studies over the years on various topics that turn out to be unreproducible. Those especially likely to be unreproducible are those dealing with political hot-button issues.

    Why were these studies on masks, calling into question verities established for over a 100 years, even done? Would they have been published if the results were different? Are these groups making good faith efforts to find the truth, or do these groups have an ax to grind? The spate of studies on masks in recent months tells you it’s most likely to be the latter.

    It’s a shame that simple public health issues have been politicized

    I’m asking for evidence that the experience of trained medical personnel gathered for particular purposes in use-specific medical facilities with systems and protocols translates to the general public in places whose primary purpose is not medical care. The cited studies suggest the experience of medical professionals does not translate to the general public.

    Here’s a review of the evidence for mask effectiveness. From the abstract:

    The preponderance of evidence indicates that mask wearing reduces transmissibility per contact by reducing transmission of infected respiratory particles in both laboratory and clinical contexts. Public mask wearing is most effective at reducing spread of the virus when compliance is high.

    There are no credible studies showing that masks don’t work.

    Even if they are not 100% effective mask use is worthwhile because the effect is multiplied across contacts.

    There is no good evidence that using masks is harmful.

    It’s wrong to think that if viruses are smaller than mask pores that the masks won’t work. Viruses mostly travel on much larger particles like water droplets. Also, a mask can stop a virus even if the mask pores are larger because sieving the air is not the only way masks work.

    Besides, if the studies show they work then they work regardless of the mechanism.

    Mask use can be effective even if some people don’t use masks properly.

    Here’s another review from Nature, more for popular consumption.

    To be clear, the science supports using masks, with recent studies suggesting that they could save lives in different ways: research shows that they cut down the chances of both transmitting and catching the coronavirus, and some studies hint that masks might reduce the severity of infection if people do contract the disease.

    In the medical profession the fact that masks work is for all intents beyond dispute. There is a general recognition that masks are far from perfect, though.

    Aside from a lot of qualifications and caveats in these studies the fundamental problem is that if these small group studies can accurately claim reductions of as much as 70 to 80%, (even when not using high-end N95 masks) how the bloody hell is it possible that there has not even a detectable drop of 5 or 10% anywhere where mask compliance is reported to be in the range of 90+%. If you line up curves of jurisdictions within related seasonality regions where masks were mandated in some but not others, they are indistinguishable. Not a blip.

    I am delighted that the medical profession is supremely confident that masks prevent viral transmission.  I am really annoyed that the prevailing self-satisfaction that goes with endorsing mask mandates apparently bars any serious, scientific effort to explain why mask mandates have had no impact. That is the issue. Telling us all the reasons why it should have worked is not an answer. I don’t know why that is so hard to grasp. Why didn’t it help?

    • #53
  24. Roderic Coolidge
    Roderic
    @rhfabian

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Roderic (View Comment):

    There are no credible studies showing that masks don’t work.

    I listed ten such studies at the start of this thread. Here are more.

    What is listed at this link are not studies but opinion pieces.  I don’t have time to go over the whole laundry list.  I’ll focus on the one that seems to be the most credible, the NEJM article, which is double counted in the list.  In short, it doesn’t say what the News Lists site claims it says.  It doesn’t say that masks are only for symbolism, it mentions this as one possible benefit.  It says that they are effective in a health care setting, but raises doubts about effectiveness out in public.  Fair enough, but that’s hardly a widely shared opinion among public health experts.

    Moreover, the authors of this article followed it up with a letter to the NEJM in which they state, “We strongly support the calls of public health agencies for all people to wear masks when circumstances compel them to be within 6 ft of others for sustained periods.”

    There is no good evidence that using masks is harmful.

    There are studies showing that masks are indeed harmful. Here are three.

    Dangerous pathogens found on children’s face masks

    Experimental Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Content in Inhaled Air With or Without Face Masks in Healthy Children — A Randomized Clinical Trial

    Study finds prolonged mask use may lead to intermittent hypoxia and an increase in hemoglobin mass

    They don’t really claim to prove any actual harm.

     

    • #54
  25. Headedwest Inactive
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Here is another data set with geographically near locations with different mask rules. How many of these do you need?

     

    • #55
  26. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Veering somewhat off the original topic, but today (Tuesday July 27) I am hearing a lot of the mask discussion in the context of school openings. The cost / benefit ratio of universal masking and other mechanisms intended to reduce the transmission of the Covid 19 virus seems even worse for school children than for the general public. The benefits to children of trying to keep them from coming into contact with the virus seem minimal. Thus, any more than minimal costs imposed on children are disproportionate to the risks.

    Supposedly 14% of Covid “cases” are children (presumably meaning under age 18). But less than 0.26% of Covid deaths are children. And less than 4% of hospitalizations are children. Children have a statistically insignificant probability of having a medically severe consequence to Covid-19. So schools are imposing costly virus transmission mitigation measures on a population for which the virus has a statistically insignificant risk. Yes, 400 of the 600,000 Covid deaths are children, which is 400 more than any of us would like to see. But there are about 75,000,000 children in the United States (22% of the population) who may be subjected to potentially significant restrictions.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/children-are-not-supposed-to-die-cdc-director-gives-passionate-response-about-how-children-make-up-400-of-the-600-000-covid-19-deaths/ar-AAMAx78

    Imposing virus transmission mitigation (including masks) burdens (cost) on tens of millions of children who have a statistically insignificant risk from the virus seems like a poor trade off.

    This illustrates another difference with the medical facilities systems. Medical facilities inherently have diseased people in them, as well as people whose ability to combat new diseases may be weak. So the risk of disease transmission is relatively high, which justifies the costs of extensive efforts to mitigate disease spread. The costs of extensive efforts to mitigate disease spread are harder to justify in facilities occupied by people who are generally disease-free, and who have normal abilities to combat diseases they may encounter.

    We must continue to do what has not worked so we can protect the children!

    Unless we can include kids in the fear scenarios grounding policy, public compliance might end. Sure, breathing through a snot-encrusted pathogen collector/CO2 reservoir may not be healthy. Yeah, kids may have a distorted risk calculus and some other cognitive or emotional issues from being surrounded by fear symbols. But how else can the Experts give us the benefit of The Science except by means of externally visible acts of submission? Do you hate Science? Do you want kids to die?

    And through all this crapola there is the unstated utterly bogus presumption that any of what has been done up to this point was actually working. We are supposed to be the natives who think the strange explorer visitors caused the solar eclipse then made it go away and thus defer to their magical powers. Nobody seems to notice that none of this made any difference other than to damage lives, especially kids.

    • #56
  27. Headedwest Inactive
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    It seems that the CDC reversal on masks was based on a single study from India that was rejected for publication by peer review:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited an unpublished study from India to justify its recommendation Tuesday that fully vaccinated people “wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission” of COVID-19.

    That study, which claimed the Delta variant produced an unusually large viral load in more than 100 vaccinated healthcare workers with “breakthrough infections,” was listed as having failed peer review in the journal Nature when the CDC cited it.

    Archives of the study’s page on Research Square, a preprint server for unpublished research, show that it was marked “reject” on July 9 and remained so at least through the eveningof July 26, Eastern Daylight Time.

    SCIENCE!

    • #57
  28. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    It seems that the CDC reversal on masks was based on a single study from India that was rejected for publication by peer review:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited an unpublished study from India to justify its recommendation Tuesday that fully vaccinated people “wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission” of COVID-19.

    That study, which claimed the Delta variant produced an unusually large viral load in more than 100 vaccinated healthcare workers with “breakthrough infections,” was listed as having failed peer review in the journal Nature when the CDC cited it.

    Archives of the study’s page on Research Square, a preprint server for unpublished research, show that it was marked “reject” on July 9 and remained so at least through the eveningof July 26, Eastern Daylight Time.

    SCIENCE!

    India has had a nationwide mask mandate for the last 15 months so doesn’t that suggest that masks did not work very well in controlling the spread?  

    • #58
  29. Headedwest Inactive
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    As usual, our national Paper of Record (The Babylon Bee) has the final word:

    Face Masks Found To Be Effective At Making You Look Like A Giant Dummy Who Doesn’t Know How Vaccines Work

    • #59
  30. Captain French Moderator
    Captain French
    @AlFrench

    Oregon will require K-12 students to wear masks in classrooms this fall

     

    • #60
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