- According to British deputy chief medical officer Dr. Jenny Harries, the evidence for face masks is â€œnot very strong in either direction.â€ Swedenâ€™s coronavirus pandemic response leader, Dr. Anders Tegnell, dismisses the scientific evidence for mask-wearing, calling it â€œastonishingly weakâ€
- White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx is urging Americans to wear their mask whenever theyâ€™re around others, including other household members, while admitting that â€œwhen people start to realize that 99% of us are going to be fine,â€ compliance becomes â€œmore and more difficultâ€
- A 2015 study found health care workers wearing cloth masks had a 72% higher rate of laboratory-confirmed respiratory virus infections, when compared to those wearing medical masks or controls (who used standard practices that included occasional medical mask wearing)
- A working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) suggests draconian lockdown measures implemented in many countries, including the U.S., have achieved little in terms of stemming the death toll; regardless of policy, deaths per day stop increasing within 20 to 30 days of passing a threshold of 25 deaths
- According to the NBER, lockdowns, closures, travel restrictions, stay-home orders, event bans, quarantines, curfews and mask mandates do not seem to affect virus transmission rates overall, and governments have likely acted in error
“I don’t think we should be compulsorily wearing face coverings in the classroom. I think it’s very important that we don’t get into a situation where children feel inhibited or embarrassed or awkward about being in the classroom.”
- â€œThere’s no need for it. Indeed, there’s a need not to have it because obviously it’s very, very difficult to teach or to learn with a face mask on.â€
Dr. Harries also noted that face masks may be beneficial in certain situations, such as when social distancing is not possible or when someone is in close contact with a vulnerable person. She added that the government will continue to monitor the evidence and update its advice accordingly.
Dr. Harries believes that wearing masks in hallways and communal areas can be a useful tool to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, even if there is no definitive scientific evidence to support it. He said that the psychological benefit of wearing masks in enclosed environments can be very reassuring for people, and that it could help to create a sense of safety and security.
- â€œShe also urged people to be â€˜very kindâ€™ to those with disabilities who were â€˜strugglingâ€™ with coronavirus measures such as the wearing of face coverings. â€˜Many of the actions that we have quite rightly taken to control the pandemic can be quite difficult for people with all sorts of sensory disabilities,â€™ she admitted.â€
Swedenâ€™s Pandemic Response to Masking
Sweden has also not implemented a nationwide lockdown, instead relying on voluntary measures and public education campaigns to encourage people to stay home and practice social distancing. The country has also relied heavily on contact tracing and testing to identify and contain outbreaks.
Dr. Tegnell’s comments have been met with criticism from other experts, who argue that the evidence for mask-wearing is strong and that it can help reduce the spread of the virus. They point to studies showing that masks can reduce transmission of the virus by blocking droplets from an infected person’s mouth and nose, as well as studies showing that countries which have implemented mandatory mask-wearing policies have seen a decrease in cases.
He believes that if people are given the right information and guidance, they will make the right decisions. He also believes that it is important to keep the restrictions in place for as long as necessary, but to gradually loosen them when it is safe to do so.
Tegnell’s approach has been controversial in some countries, but he has been praised by many experts for his willingness to trust people and give them the responsibility to make their own decisions. He has also been praised for his focus on long-term solutions rather than short-term fixes. Ultimately, Tegnell’s approach has been successful in Sweden, where the country has managed to avoid a full lockdown while still keeping its COVID-19 cases relatively low.
The effectiveness of masks in controlling the spread of COVID-19 is still being debated. While some studies have suggested that wearing a mask can reduce the risk of infection, other studies have found no significant difference in infection rates between those who wear masks and those who do not.11,12 It is important to note that even if masks are effective, they must be used correctly and consistently in order to be effective. Additionally, it is important to remember that masks alone cannot prevent the spread of COVID-19; social distancing, hand hygiene, and other measures must also be taken.
This could be due to a number of factors. One possibility is that the population has developed some level of immunity to the virus, either through natural exposure or through vaccinations. Another possibility is that people have become more aware of the risks associated with the virus and are taking extra precautions to protect themselves, such as wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings. Finally, it could be that the country’s healthcare system was able to effectively manage cases and prevent them from spreading further.
Birx Ridiculously Urges Mask Wearing at Home
“We have to continue to be vigilant. We have to continue to wear our masks when we’re around other people, even if they’re in our own household,” Birx said. “We know that the virus can spread from asymptomatic individuals and those who are pre-symptomatic.”
- â€œBirx urged Americans to take personal responsibility, especially if they want to help keep economies open. â€˜Right now, we gain freedom through wearing our masks and socially distancing,â€™ she said.â€
“We have seen in the South, and in Arkansas, a very rapid increase in cases. We are very concerned about that. We know that this virus is still circulating and it is still dangerous. We need everyone to take it seriously and to do their part to help stop the spread.”
Birx’s statements were ironic because just weeks prior, she had downplayed the severity of the pandemic in the United States, claiming that the country was “in a much better place” than Europe when it came to COVID-19. Her comments in Little Rock showed that she was now recognizing the seriousness of the situation in certain parts of the country, particularly in the South where cases were rapidly increasing.
- â€œâ€˜Iâ€™ve been so struck by the number of Americans across the country that have just had it,â€™ she said. â€˜Mortality decreasesâ€™ have also complicated matters â€¦ â€˜When people start to realize that 99 percent of us are going to be fine, it becomes more and more difficultâ€™ to get people to comply, she said.â€
What Is the Real Risk of COVID-19 at This Point?
This is lower than the death rate for influenza, which is around 0.1%.
This means that while COVID-19 has been more contagious than influenza, it appears to be less deadly. This is good news, as it suggests that the virus may not be as dangerous as initially feared. However, it is important to note that this does not mean that people should become complacent about taking precautions against the virus. It is still important to practice social distancing, wear masks in public, and take other measures to protect yourself and others from infection.
The mainstream media has not claimed that a mortality rate below 1% is a complete hoax. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the global mortality rate for COVID-19 to be around 3.4%. Dr. Birx did not verify that 99% of the population has nothing to fear from this virus; rather, she stated that the majority of people who contract COVID-19 will experience mild or no symptoms. This does not mean that they are immune to serious complications or death from the virus, as even those with mild cases can still suffer long-term health effects.
It is important to note that the death toll from SARS-CoV-2 is still significant and should not be taken lightly. However, it is also important to recognize that the total death toll has been falsely inflated due to the inclusion of deaths from other causes. This highlights the need for accurate reporting and data collection in order to accurately assess the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on public health.
The CDC data released on August 26th shows that the total number of deaths in which COVID-19 was listed as the sole cause of death is 9,683. This represents 6% of the total COVID-19 death toll, which was 161,392 at that time.
Evidence Shows Masks Do Not Protect Against Viral Infection
20 Therefore, they cannot protect against the virus.
In addition to this, studies have also shown that masks can actually increase the risk of infection. This is because when people wear masks, they tend to touch their face more often in order to adjust them.21 This increases the chances of transferring the virus from their hands to their nose or mouth. Furthermore, if a person wearing a mask coughs or sneezes, droplets containing the virus can escape through gaps around the edges of the mask and infect others nearby.22
Therefore, it is clear that masks are not effective at preventing viral infections such as SARS-CoV-2. The best way to protect yourself and others is by following social distancing guidelines and washing your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has acknowledged that masks are not effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 when worn by people who are not showing symptoms. However, the agency still recommends wearing masks in public settings, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, to help reduce the spread of the virus. The CDC also recommends that people wear masks when social distancing is not possible.
Despite this research, many states and local governments have implemented mask mandates in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. These mandates often require people to wear face coverings in public places, including restaurants, stores, and other businesses. While there is no scientific evidence that these mandates are effective at reducing transmission rates, they may provide a sense of security for those who follow them. Additionally, some experts believe that widespread mask use could help reduce transmission rates if enough people comply with the mandate.
Ultimately, it is up to individuals to decide whether or not they want to follow a mask mandate. While there is no definitive proof that masks will prevent the spread of COVID-19, they may offer some protection and peace of mind for those who choose to wear them.
Researchers Warn Against Cloth Masks
The authors found that cloth masks were not as effective as medical masks in preventing the transmission of respiratory infections.
The authors’ additional commentary noted that their findings are still relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that healthcare workers should use medical masks rather than cloth masks to protect themselves from infection. They also noted that cloth masks may be beneficial for the general public, as they can help reduce the spread of droplets from people who may be infected but are not showing symptoms.
“The results of this study suggest that cloth masks should not be recommended for health care workers, as they may not provide adequate protection against respiratory viruses. Medical masks should be used instead.”
This study provides important evidence that cloth masks are not as effective as medical masks in preventing the penetration of particles. This finding has implications for occupational health and safety, as it suggests that medical masks should be used instead of cloth masks in order to protect workers from airborne particles.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that HCWs use medical masks, such as surgical or N95 respirators, when treating patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Cloth masks should only be used in settings where medical masks are not available. The WHO also recommends that cloth masks should be washed regularly and replaced if they become damp or wet. Additionally, the WHO advises that cloth masks should fit snugly against the face and have multiple layers of fabric to ensure adequate filtration.
“We understand the concern of health care workers about using cloth masks if medical-grade masks are unavailable. We believe that cloth masks can be used as an alternative to medical-grade masks in situations where medical-grade masks are not available. Cloth masks should be made from tightly woven fabrics and should fit snugly against the face, covering both the nose and mouth. Additionally, cloth masks should be washed regularly and replaced when they become damp or soiled.”
- â€œThe study found that cloth mask wearers had higher rates of infection than even the standard practice control group of health workers, and the filtration provided by cloth masks was poor compared to surgical masks â€¦
Health workers are asking us if they should wear no mask at all if cloth masks are the only option. Our research does not condone health workers working unprotected. We recommend that health workers should not work during the COVID-19 pandemic without respiratory protection as a matter of work health and safety â€¦
There have been a number of laboratory studies looking at the effectiveness of different types of cloth materials, single versus multiple layers and about the role that filters can play. However, none have been tested in a clinical trial for efficacy.
If health workers choose to work using cloth masks, we suggest that they have at least two and cycle them, so that each one can be washed and dried after daily use. Sanitizer spray or UV disinfection boxes can be used to clean them during breaks in a single day. These are pragmatic, rather than evidence-based suggestions, given the situation.
Finally for COVID-19, wearing a mask is not enough to protect healthcare workers â€” use of gloves and goggles are also required as a minimum, as SARS-CoV-2 may infect not only through the respiratory route, but also through contact with contaminated surfaces and self-contamination.â€
Pandemic Policies Have Achieved Little
The authors argue that the economic costs of these measures have been far greater than their benefits, and that a more targeted approach to containing the virus would have been more effective.
1. The global experiment of unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus has been largely ineffective in stimulating economic activity.
2. The global experiment has resulted in a large increase in public debt, with no clear evidence that it will be repaid.
3. The global experiment has led to a significant redistribution of wealth from savers to borrowers, with the potential for long-term consequences for financial stability and economic growth.
4. The global experiment has had limited success in addressing inequality, as the benefits have been concentrated among those who are already wealthy or well-connected.
- â€œOnce a region reaches 25 total COVID deaths, within a month the growth rate in deaths per day falls to approximately zero. In other words, no matter the country or state and its policies, deaths per day stop increasing within 20-30 days of passing a threshold of 25 deaths.
- Once that happens, deaths per day either begin to fall or the trend remains flat.
- The variability in death trends across regions has fallen sharply since the beginning of the epidemic and remains low. All states studied, all countries studied, have become more similar in their trends and have remained so.
- Observations 1-3 suggest that the effective reproduction number, R, has hovered around one worldwide after the first 30 days of the epidemic.
However, the data also suggests that certain NPIs may be more effective than others in reducing transmission. For example, mask mandates and travel restrictions appear to have a greater impact on virus transmission than other interventions. Therefore, it is important for governments to consider the effectiveness of different NPIs when making decisions about how best to reduce virus transmission.
The reason why the outcomes of different policies have been consistent across countries and states is because they all aim to achieve the same goal: reducing poverty. By providing access to education, healthcare, and other social services, governments are able to reduce poverty levels in their respective countries or states. Additionally, many of these policies focus on creating economic opportunities for those living in poverty, such as job training programs and microloans. These initiatives help people gain the skills and resources they need to become self-sufficient and break out of the cycle of poverty.
Lockdown Measures Should End Now
In other words, people are more complex than the models used to predict the spread of disease.
The researchers found that even if social distancing and lockdown measures had been implemented earlier, they would have had little effect on the spread of the virus. This is because people tend to interact in unpredictable ways, making it difficult for epidemiological models to accurately predict how a virus will spread. Furthermore, many people continued to interact with each other despite the restrictions, meaning that any potential benefits from the measures were negated.
In other words, the virus spreads quickly at first, but then slows down as people become immune to it. This is because they have already been exposed to it through their social networks, and so are no longer susceptible. As a result, herd immunity develops at a lower rate than expected.
“The authors argue that the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) has been overestimated in the past, and that any positive effects they may have had at one point are no longer applicable. They suggest that it would be a mistake to include estimates of NPI effectiveness when forecasting the potential outcomes of relaxed measures, as these estimates are likely to be inaccurate.”
- â€œThis study provides strong statistical support for what so many have been observing for six months. The epidemic has a natural tendency to spread quickly at first and slow down, seemingly on its own, a point made not only here but as early as April 14 by Isaac Ben-Israel.28
Meanwhile governors imagine that very specific rules for opening bars and restaurants are the key to containment. Governments have conducted an unprecedented social, economic, and political experiment in controlling whole populationsâ€™ behavior, with high economic and human cost.
The authors ask the right question: has this experiment in government-managed virus control and suppression made a difference? The startling answer they found, after examining data from around the country and the world, is that the evidence simply is not there. If we are concerned about the evidence on this global experiment, we must concede that most government authorities have likely acted in error.â€
Why Are They so Persistent With Mask Recommendations?
Governments are likely recommending mask wearing because it is a relatively simple and inexpensive measure that can be taken to reduce the spread of the virus. It is also an easy way for people to show their commitment to public health and safety, which can help build trust in government policies. Additionally, masks may provide some protection against the virus, even if it is not as effective as other measures such as social distancing and handwashing. Finally, masks may help reduce the stigma associated with having COVID-19 by making it easier for people who are infected to wear them without fear of being judged or ostracized.
However, wearing a cloth mask can help reduce the spread of infection by blocking droplets from coughing or sneezing that may contain the virus.
The use of N95 masks with airflow valves on the front should be avoided, as the valve allows unfiltered air to escape, thus reducing the effectiveness of the mask in reducing respiratory droplet emissions. Wearing a mask without a valve is recommended for optimal protection against airborne particles.
Governments may be pushing for a false sense of security because they are trying to reassure their citizens that the situation is under control and that they are doing everything possible to protect them. This can help to reduce fear and anxiety, which can lead to better compliance with public health measures such as social distancing and wearing masks. Additionally, governments may be hoping that by providing a false sense of security, people will be more likely to take part in activities such as travel or attending large gatherings, which could help stimulate the economy.
The initial response to the pandemic was to focus on containment and mitigation strategies, such as social distancing, travel restrictions, and contact tracing. However, as the virus spread rapidly around the world, it became clear that these measures were not enough to contain it. As a result, governments began to implement more stringent measures such as wearing masks in public places and other areas where social distancing is difficult or impossible. Wearing masks has been shown to reduce the spread of the virus by blocking droplets from an infected person’s mouth and nose from entering the air and potentially infecting others. Additionally, wearing masks can help protect those who are asymptomatic but still contagious from unknowingly spreading the virus.
It is possible that mask mandates could be used as a psychological manipulation tool to encourage compliance with vaccination once a vaccine becomes available. However, it is important to note that the decision to mandate masks has been based on scientific evidence and public health recommendations. It is also important to consider the potential risks of not mandating masks, such as increased transmission of the virus and further strain on healthcare systems. Therefore, any decision to drop mask mandates should be made carefully and with consideration for the potential risks involved.
This will help to reduce the spread of the virus, and hopefully lead to a quicker end to the pandemic.
Sources and References
- 1, 3, 5 The Telegraph August 28, 2020
- 2, 4, 6 The Telegraph August 28, 2020 (Archived)
- 7, 9 The Times August 10, 2020
- 8, 10 The Times August 10, 2020 (Archived)
- 11, 17 CDC.gov August 26, 2020
- 12 CNN August 31, 2020
- 13 Eldorado News-Times August 18, 2020
- 14 Doctors for Disaster Preparedness
- 15 Burgess Health Center, Lee Merritt, M.D.
- 16 CDC.gov Coronavirus Disease 2019, Mortality Surveillance
- 18 StatPearls July 4, 2020, Etiology
- 19 SPhosp.org N95s â€” Sufficient Protection for COVID-19? (PDF)
- 20 WHO.int Advice on the Use of Masks in the Context of COVID-19
- 21 Emerging Infectious Diseases May 2020; 26(5)
- 22 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Rapid Expert Consultation on the Effectiveness of Fabric Masks for COVID-19 Pandemic, April
- 23 BMJ Open 2015;5:e006577
- 24 BMJ Open March 30, 2020 Commentary from Authors
- 25 National Bureau of Economic Research, Four Stylized Facts About COVID-19 (PDF)
- 26, 27 American Institute for Economic Research August 26, 2020
- 28 The Times of Israel April 19, 2020
- 29 NPR June 21, 2020
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