Here’s a few choice quotes from this FEE article on the non-science of face masks reducing the spread of the Wuhan virus.
“All these countries recommending face masks haven’t made their decisions based on new studies,” said Henning Bundgaard, chief physician at Denmark’s Rigshospitale, according to Bloomberg News.
“From a medical point of view, there is no evidence of a medical effect of wearing face masks, so we decided not to impose a national obligation,” said Medical Care Minister Tamara van Ark.
“Face masks in public places are not necessary, based on all the current evidence,” said Coen Berends, spokesman for the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. “There is no benefit and there may even be negative impact.”
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons recently put out this article which cites numerous studies that all conclude wearing a face mask to protect yourself from the Wuhan virus is a dumb idea. In the only study that focused specifically on cloth masks, it found a potentially increased risk of infection by people who wore them and they also promote the aerosolization of viral particles by breaking large droplets into smaller ones.
How many times a day are people touching their grimy cotton face diapers with unwashed hands, and then pressing that damp contaminated surface against their facial orifices? How many people are dead now because they wore a face diaper and they infected themselves because of this bad advice?
Here’s a list of randomized control trials showing face masks either don’t work or potentially make things worse. These studies are the best form of scientific evidence available, far better than epidemiological studies that most mask recommendations are based on.
The largest SARS-CoV-2 specific RCT for masks was just done by the Danes. Even though they enrolled over six thousand participants, the study showed wearing a mask did not provide a statistically significant protection. Don’t be fooled by highly adjusted epidemiological studies that say masks work, the RCTs speak for themselves.
A total of 3030 participants were randomly assigned to the recommendation to wear masks, and 2994 were assigned to control; 4862 completed the study. Infection with SARS-CoV-2 occurred in 42 participants recommended masks (1.8%) and 53 control participants (2.1%). The between-group difference was −0.3 percentage point (95% CI, −1.2 to 0.4 percentage point; P = 0.38) (odds ratio, 0.82 [CI, 0.54 to 1.23]; P = 0.33). Multiple imputation accounting for loss to follow-up yielded similar results. Although the difference observed was not statistically significant, the 95% CIs are compatible with a 46% reduction to a 23% increase in infection.
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.
This study is the first RCT of cloth masks, and the results caution against the use of cloth masks
- Penetration of cloth masks by particles was 97% and medical masks 44%, 3M Vflex 9105 N95 (0.1%), 3M 9320 N95 (<0.01%).
- Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection.
- The virus may survive on the surface of the face masks
- Self-contamination through repeated use and improper doffing is possible. A contaminated cloth mask may transfer pathogen from the mask to the bare hands of the wearer.
- Cloth masks should not be recommended for health care workers, particularly in high-risk situations, and guidelines need to be updated.
Conclusion: Face mask use in health care workers has not been demonstrated to provide benefit in terms of cold symptoms or getting colds. A larger study is needed to definitively establish noninferiority of no mask use.
Both surgical and cotton masks seem to be ineffective in preventing the dissemination of SARS–CoV-2 from the coughs of patients with COVID-19 to the environment and external mask surface.
There is some evidence to support the wearing of masks or respirators during illness to protect others, and public health emphasis on mask wearing during illness may help to reduce influenza virus transmission. There are fewer data to support the use of masks or respirators to prevent becoming infected. Further studies in controlled settings and studies of natural infections in healthcare and community settings are required to better define the effectiveness of face masks and respirators in preventing influenza virus transmission.
None of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask/respirator use and protection against influenza infection.
We found no significant difference in risk of influenza-like illness between N95 respirators and surgical masks in the meta-analysis of the 3 RCTs (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.19–1.41; I2 = 18%) (Figure 2). We also found no significant difference in risk of workplace absenteeism between N95 respirators and surgical masks in the 1 RCT that measured this outcome.
Our analysis confirms the effectiveness of medical masks and respirators against SARS. Disposable, cotton or paper masks are not recommended.
Dr. Jeffrey Barke gives a detailed explanation of why wearing cloth face diapers is at best a useless idea, and at worst a harmful one.
As a side note, here’s a study on children:
We studied 23 family clusters of COVID-19.
While children become infected by SARS‐CoV‐2, they do not appear to transmit infection to others. Furthermore, children more frequently have an asymptomatic or mild course compared to adults.
Let me restate that again, just in case you missed it.