Is the Mask-Wearing Policy Promoted by the CDC Actually Supported by Science?
Editor’s note: This article argues that the CDC mask-wearing policy is not supported by science. It is written by an experienced attorney, published legal author, and knowledgeable researcher, Allison Lucas, Esq., who worked for ten years in hospital laboratories and operating rooms in some of the largest level I trauma hospitals in the country. Many of our readers have been asking for an update of this article, which we published in May. Here you go!
What Happens When the CDC Uses Crude Science to Support Public Policy?
By Allison Lucas, Esq.
When coronavirus first became a concern, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) told the American people not to wear face masks. But in April 2020, the CDC did an about-face on its previous mask-wearing policy. Government officials started aggressively promoting mask-wearing in public as a means to limit the spread of COVID-19. The current recommendation by the CDC is for all people to wear cloth masks in public spaces.
But the CDC’s mask-wearing policy lacks viable scientific support. It’s not supported by science. Let me explain why.
The benefits of mask-wearing by the general population are solely theoretical
The CDC asserts that cloth face coverings “are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.”
This policy is balderdash. Here’s why:
The use of masks, especially cloth masks, is not supported by science
The University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy calls out CDC for using bogus sources to support its revised cloth mask-wearing policy because the sources “employ very crude, non-standardized methods” and “are not relevant to cloth face coverings because they evaluate respirators or surgical masks.”
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit organization of the country’s leading researchers and provides objective, science-based advice on critical issues.
In April of 2020, the National Academy published the following statement:
There are no studies of individuals wearing homemade fabric masks in the course of their typical activities. Therefore, we have only limited, indirect evidence regarding the effectiveness of such masks for protecting others, when made and worn by the general public on a regular basis. That evidence comes primarily from laboratory studies testing the effectiveness of different materials at capturing particles of different sizes.
The evidence from these laboratory filtration studies suggests that such fabric masks may reduce the transmission of larger respiratory droplets. There is little evidence regarding the transmission of small aerosolized particulates of the size potentially exhaled by asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals with COVID-19. The extent of any protection will depend on how the masks are made and used. It will also depend on how mask use affects users’ other precautionary behaviors, including their use of better masks, when those become widely available. Those behavioral effects may undermine or enhance homemade fabric masks’ overall effect on public health. The current level of benefit, if any, is not possible to assess.”
Other recent peer-reviewed science concurs: “There is no good evidence that [any] facemask protect[s] the public against infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID‐19.”
Zero efficacy trials have been conducted regarding the use of cloth masks by the general public as a means to limit or prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Thus, as suggested by the National Academy of Science, the current public policy that a cloth mask prevents the spread of COVID-19 is scientifically invalid.
Mask-wearing policy of limited benefit to healthcare workers
While the use of cloth masks in the general public have not been scientifically studied for effectiveness, in 2009 a study found no benefit to healthcare workers wearing medical masks to prevent the common cold.
Six years later, in 2015, researchers studied the efficacy of cloth masks in hospital setting and concluded that healthcare workers “should not use cloth masks as protection against respiratory infection. Cloth masks resulted in significantly higher rates of infection than medical masks.” (My emphasis.)
A more recent study from June 2020 reiterated that a cloth mask should only be considered as “a last resort” and will only offer “limited success.”
In fact, after a recent review of the available research, CIDRAP determined that “[c]loth masks are ineffective as source control” and that “very poor filter and fit performance of cloth masks and very low effectiveness for cloth masks in healthcare settings lead us conclude that cloth masks offer no protection for healthcare workers inhaling infectious particles near an infected or confirmed patient.” (My emphasis.)
Based upon available data, the World Health Organization does not recommend use of facemasks in the general public as a means to prevent transmission of COVID-19, stating that the
lower filtration and breathability standardized requirements, and overall expected performance, indicate that the use of non-medical masks, made of woven fabrics such as cloth, and/or non-woven fabrics, should only be considered for source control (used by infected persons) in community settings and not for prevention.” 
WHO’s guidance is further supported by a June 2020 study concluding that the questionable benefits of masks did not justify the use of them for healthcare workers and a recent article appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine opined that:
a mask alone will not prevent health care workers with early Covid-19 from contaminating their hands and spreading the virus to patients and colleagues. Focusing on universal masking alone may, paradoxically, lead to more transmission of Covid-19 if it diverts attention from implementing more fundamental infection-control measures.”
Finally, the CDC does not know COVID-19 is spread predominantly by droplets or aerosols.
Any type of facemask is ineffectual if COVID-19 transmits via aerosols.
Theoretical benefits of mask-wearing policy undermined by improper use
The small and theoretical benefit of any mask, cloth or otherwise, is nullified once other factors are considered.
- Facemasks do not protect the wearer from getting the virus into the eyes,
- People may not fit the masks properly or take them on and off hygienically, and
- People wearing the mask may have a false sense of reassurance and neglect to engage in behaviors vital to reducing transmission, such as hand washing.
For example, a recent article provides proper practices for donning and doffing a mask for preventing the spread of COVID-19. But the general public is not aware of these directives and people are certainly not heeding them consistently.
[I]t is important to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds prior to putting on the face mask. An alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can also be used if soap and water are unavailable.
After cleaning your hands, place the face mask over your nose and mouth. Make sure there are no gaps between the face mask and your face, and ensure a tight seal. Try to avoid touching the face mask when wearing it. If you do touch the face mask, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer again. When you are done using the face mask, remove it without touching the front of the face mask, and discard it into a closed bin. Wash your hands again after discarding the face mask.”
In order to provide some benefit, cloth masks must be laundered after each use.
But how many Americans are actually washing their masks each day?
Perhaps it is of no consequence because it is unknown if variations in frequency and type of cleaning affect the already questionable efficacy of cloth masks.
Moreover, cleaning methods and rates will inevitably vary by household, creating yet another variable affecting the tenuous efficacy of the cloth mask.
Mask-wearing carries risk of tangible harm
Some argue that even if in the absence of scientific evidence, the precautionary principle requires the use of a mask—even a cloth mask. For example, see this finding that “the evidence base on the efficacy and acceptability of the different types of face mask in preventing respiratory infections during epidemics is sparse and contested” but arguing anyway that masks should be worn because “we have little to lose and potentially something to gain.”
However, this narrow-sighted, fantasy ignores the real and potential harms of mask-wearing: cloth masks increase the likelihood of infection and transmission, hinder communication, limit oxygen exchange, and cause headaches.
Let’s take a closer look at these problems.
Cloth masks increase the likelihood of infection
Cloth masks increase the risk of infection to the wearer because people do not comprehend the importance of removing the mask correctly. “[P]oor doffing techniques can lead to the transfer of infectious material to the user’s hands.”  Moreover, a 2015 study compared the efficacy of cloth masks to medical masks in hospital healthcare workers. Healthcare workers who elected to wear cloth masks were directed to wash and dry the mask after daily use. Even so, the authors advised against the use of cloth masks because “moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks, and poor filtration may result in an increased risk of infection.”
The authors elaborate that the:
…virus may survive on the surface of the facemasks, and modelling studies have quantified the contamination levels of masks.” Self-contamination through repeated use and improper doffing is possible. For example, a contaminated cloth mask may transfer pathogen from the mask to the bare hands of the wearer. We also showed that filtration was extremely poor (almost 0%) for the cloth masks. 
Cloth masks increase the likelihood of transmission
Cloth masks, such as cotton masks, do not trap the virus, and particles can be detected on the outer surface of the masks for up to 7 days.
“A pre‐symptomatic or mildly infected person wearing a facemask for hours without changing it and without washing hands every time they touched the mask could paradoxically increase the risk of infecting others.”
Reused and reusable masks have the potential to harbor bacteria
To my knowledge, no study has been conducted to refute this finding. The general public is not professionally trained in the practices of medical hygiene and universal precautions. On the contrary, all the above-cited studies were performed on healthcare workers in a medical setting. Healthcare workers’ health, livelihood, and patient well-being depend on constant use of universal precautions and other forms of personal protective equipment such as gloves. Yet, even in the ideal conditions provided in the studies, masks provided either no benefit or increased the risk of virus transmission.
Masks hinder facial expression and nonverbal communication
Covering the face is detrimental for adequate social connection because “[f]acial expressions are one of the more important aspects of human communication. The face is responsible for communicating not only thoughts or ideas, but also emotions.” A 2013 study found that facemasks “had a significant and negative effect on patients’ perceptions of the doctors’ empathy.” Also, consider that:
[E]very time you interact with another person  the two of you subconsciously and subtly reflect each other’s facial expressions. By mirroring the other person’s expressions, you not only signal you are engaged and participating, but it’s also a kind of feedback loop that helps you empathize. If you hinder your ability to do that even slightly, you’re changing the social dynamic between you and the other person” and “we might be grossly underestimating just how powerful our facial expressions are,”  We have to recognize how informationally rich facial feedback is and when we block it, we are cutting off a major channel about our own emotions and information about social emotions.”
Mask-wearing eliminates an important form of communication and social interaction and will have a substantial negative impact on everyone; however, the people who already struggle with communication and social interaction will disproportionately carry the weight.
Masks limit oxygen exchange
Masks lower blood oxygen levels and raise carbon dioxide blood levels. For further consideration, see:
“Two Chinese boys drop dead during PE lessons while wearing face masks amid concerns over students’ fitness following three months of school closure”
“Student deaths stir controversy over face mask rule in PE classes”
and “Jogger’s lung collapses after he ran for 2.5 miles while wearing a face mask”
We also know that mask-wearing can alter breathing physiology by increasing nasal congestion.
Masks cause headaches or exacerbate headache disorders
The prolonged use of masks has been shown to cause headaches or exacerbate pre‐existing headache disorders.,
A hand-washing policy, not a mask-wearing policy is an appropriate and scientifically sound mitigating measure
Respiratory viruses are transmitted more commonly via contact than droplet, and the control measure to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses should, therefore, focus on contact precaution.
In fact, “[t]he single most important protective measure is hand washing, rather than mask wearing.”
So, it is no surprise that during the 2009 swine flu pandemic, “encouraging the public to wash their hands reduced the incidence of infection significantly whereas wearing facemasks did not.”
The CDC used crude science to support its mask-wearing policy
Wishful thinking is the basis for mask-wearing by the general public, not science. This public policy was born of fear and anxiety, as noted in “Universal Masking in Hospitals in the Covid-19 Era”:
masks serve symbolic roles. Masks are not only tools, they are also talismans that may help increase health care workers’ perceived sense of safety, well-being, and trust in their hospitals. Although such reactions may not be strictly logical, we are all subject to fear and anxiety, especially during times of crisis. One might argue that fear and anxiety are better countered with data and education than with a marginally beneficial mask, particularly in light of the worldwide mask shortage, but it is difficult to get clinicians to hear this message in the heat of the current crisis. Expanded masking protocols’ greatest contribution may be to reduce the transmission of anxiety, over and above whatever role they may play in reducing transmission of COVID-19.
Even if a mask serves as a security blanket to some during unsettling times, we deserve sound public policy measures that account for actual benefits and tangible harms.
The leading medical agency in the county does not get to use a talisman and call it science or sound public policy.
So, what happens when the CDC uses crude science to support public policy?
You take notice.
You realize government agencies are fallible.
You become discerning.
You question if other CDC policies are based on junk science.
You read this and this and determine that they are.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7323223/ See also, https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.01.20049528v1 (stating that “evidence is not sufficiently strong to support widespread use of facemasks as a protective measure against COVID-19.”)
See also, https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1422 (finding that “[v]ery little good quality research exists on the use of cloth masks, especially in non-medical settings”; https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1422 (recently finding that “[t]here 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.”)
https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/04/commentary-masks-all-covid-19-not-based-sound-data See also, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2762694 (“face masks should not be worn by healthy individuals to protect themselves from acquiring respiratory infection because there is no evidence to suggest that face masks worn by healthy individuals are effective in preventing people from becoming ill.”
 https:// jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2768396
 Id. See also, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7293495/ (“the effectiveness of the use of masks for the control of [COVID-19]-laden aerosol transmission from an infected person to a susceptible host is uncertain and not fully conceivable; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7108646/ (“we would not recommend the use of homemade face masks as a method of reducing transmission of infection from aerosols”).
 https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1422. See also, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32329337/ (“[o]ur studies also imply that gaps (as caused by an improper fit of the mask) can result in over a 60% decrease in the filtration efficiency, implying the need for future cloth mask design studies to take into account issues of “fit” and leakage, while allowing the exhaled air to vent efficiently).
“Wash cloth mask at least once per day.” (https://www.who.int/images/default-source/health-topics/coronavirus/clothing-masks-infographic–web—part-1.png?sfvrsn=679fb6f1_26); “Cloth face coverings should be washed after each use” (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wash-cloth-face-coverings.html).
 “Cloth masks are generally retained long term and reused multiple times, with a variety of cleaning methods and widely different intervals of cleaning.”
 Validation and Application of Models to Predict Facemask Influenza Contamination in Healthcare Settings found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4485436/
 A cluster randomised trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers found at https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/4/e006577
 International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, found at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B0080430767017137
 Effect of facemasks on empathy and relational continuity: a randomised controlled trial in primary care, found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3879648/
 Can Botox and Cosmetic Surgery Chill Our Relationships With Others? found at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/18/well/mind/can-botox-and-cosmetic-surgery-chill-our-relationships-with-others.html
 Effects of long-duration wearing of N95 respirator and surgical facemask: a pilot study, found at http://medcraveonline.com/JLPRR/JLPRR-01-00021.pdf
About the Author: Allison Lucas, Esq. is an experienced attorney, published legal author, and knowledgeable researcher. Before attending law school, Allison Lucas worked for a decade in hospital laboratories and operating rooms in some of the largest level I trauma hospitals in the country. She has also worked at the National Institutes of Health, the nation’s leading medical research agency. Allison is the mother of four children.
Liz Schmidt says
Thank you, Allison and Jennifer, for this thorough discussion of a very important problem. Have you read about the fiasco at Fort Benning? It provides some good proof that masks don’t work, instead of theoretical possibilities that they do… “Four recruits tested positive and were removed from the group while the remaining soldiers were placed in isolation for 14 days without any training exercises. After the 14-day quarantine, they were all retested and every single one was negative. Only then did the training commence – with the full panoply of obsessive social distancing measures, including mask wearing. You can imagine that there will never be greater compliance to these rules than during military training. Yet, just eight days later, after one recruit exhibited symptoms, 142 of the trainees tested positive. That is 22% of the entire group isolated and quarantined together. As they were young, none of them were hospitalized and most were asymptomatic.” https://www.conservativereview.com/news/horowitz-fort-benning-japan-hawaii-face-masks-not-working
Allison Lucas says
Thank you for reading the article. I appreciate the response and information. I hadn’t heard of this. I will read up on it. It sounds very interesting.
This was very educational. Most I was aware of but you empowered me with more knowledge. I thank you for that. I just wish more people would wake up and pay attention to the facts.
What is frustrating is that in order to go shopping they force us to wear these retarded masks. And yet we still have months more of this until the government wakes up.
Again thank you for sharing this information.
“What is frustrating is that in order to go shopping they force us to wear these retarded masks. ”
Do I need to point out the absurdity of that statement? If you don’t think masks are effective, you stay the hell home. What part of contagion do you not understand?
Allison Lucas says
Thank you for reading the article.
Sheri S says
Our experiment of locking down healthy people has failed and never had any long term potential as a remedy for C19. Outbreaks in populations that has “successfully” locked down are indications that we can’t hide out from C19, particularly when we try to hide out everyone. Those that are trying to shame the healthy into thinking they are in charge of the health of the sick and the fearful, should do things to mind their own health. That is what we have done with previous bouts of illness and with the immune compromised.
PS; I don’t ask you to carry a gun for my safety and you shouldn’t ask me to wear a mask for your safety. That is particularly true when NO GOOD EVIDENCE EXISTS PROVING MASKS WORK IN A PUBLIC SETTING.
Richard Hudon says
What part of the uselessness of mask wearing against contagion do you not understand?
The absurdity of the CV19 outbreak transmission scenario being offered is what is confusing everyone, even the so-called experts who actually do not understand that they have been bamboozled into believing that this virus outbreak is more serious than it actually is: ask yourself why!
Consider the following:
“If the world seems insane, it’s because it is run by insane people.”
“Stop be-LIE-ving blindly and question everything, because belief precludes knowing.”
No….if you think my not-so-nearby existence will kill you, you stay the hell home.
Allison Lucas says
Thank you for reading the article.
Sally B says
I totally agree.
Seems somewhat misleading. CIDRAP on the reference you list state the following in the article you reference:
Do we support cloth mask wearing where mandated?
Despite the current limited scientific data detailing their effectiveness, we support the wearing of face coverings by the public when mandated and when in close contact with people whose infection status they don’t know. However, we also encourage everyone to continue to limit their time spent indoors near potentially infectious people and to not count on or expect a cloth mask or face covering to protect them or the people around them. The pandemic is not over and will not likely be over for some time. As states and local jurisdictions reopen, we encourage people to continue to assess and limit their risks. Cloth masks and face coverings likely do not offer the same degree of protection as physical distancing, isolation, or limiting personal contact time.
Allison Lucas says
Thank you for reading the article and providing the constructive feedback. The focus of the article was the CDC’s lack of scientific support for its mask-wearing public policy. Thus, CIDRAP’s issue with CDC’s studies used to support its policy was relevant to mention in the article but CIDRAP’s own conclusion was not. Also, the citation was made available so that the audience could read all source materials. Having said that, I am grateful for your feedback and will keep it in mind as I write additional articles.
LINDA G. says
Incredible information with all the resources you supplied from your research. Thank you.
Allison Lucas says
Thank you for reading the article. I appreciate the positive feedback.
Great research and timely information. When oh when will the gov’t and medical public policy makers get it? What and who is behind the dumbing down of these people? And why? Thank you for the work you do to research and expose the lies and reveal the truth.
Allison Lucas says
Thank you for the reading the article and for the positive feedback.
It is a non invasive preventable measure based on the best available science. Did you want to wait until there are more cases, until x number of people get corona virus from spit, respiration droplets, etc. Perhaps you would like to be in that study, where you get spit on and see if you come down with the virus. How exactly are you going to do a double blind placebo controlled trial on that.
Allison Lucas says
Thank you for reading the article and for the feedback. The available science does not support the use of masks. As stated in the article, masks increase the risk of transmitting viruses and May have other negative consequences.
I was spit talked on by a man that died of CV. I was hugged and drove home a friend from the airport that was symptomatic at the time. No mask and I didn’t get sick. How is that “so contagious?”
It’s just my anecdotal scenario, not the absolute for the universe, but there are studies that have concluded this to be the norm.
Richard Ulrich says
Thank you, Jennifer and Allison, for such an extensive review of the literature regarding masks. I am a retired RN. I received my training at the University of Wyoming with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. Just a few quick comments before my main comment on your writings: The culture of Japan has for a long time worn masks. The reason is that the individuals feel they may have a cold or some ailment and want to alert others to their condition. Not to “save the life of someone by wearing a mask.” In the history of modern medicine when it was determined that washing hands reduced disease, it was a major breakthrough in medicine. So! Wash Your Hands often! Not just for the virus but for better protection from all kinds of pathogens. I do not want to waste my time on the discussion of cloth masks. If you don’t see the fallacy of them from this article then don’t pretend to know anything about the scientific method! My main comment is about “Cross Contamination.” I have noticed that almost nowhere does this term get introduced or talked about. When I would have occasion in the hospital to protect myself and/or a patient from potential contamination, here’s what I would do: wash my hands thoroughly, put on clean gloves, put on a disposable gown (cloth-like), put on a small head cover (cloth-like), and finally a mask. The mask had to be properly fitted to reduce any air from coming in around the sides top and bottom of my face. Usually a “procedure” mask. I would then enter the patient’s room and do whatever I was needing to do. Just upon leaving the room I would stand next to the medical disposal bin and remove all of the items, peeling the gloves off last. Then I would wash my hands again. If you are exposed to a virus, please do not think that the only place a virus wants to go is to your mask! The virus itself will go EVERYWHERE! SO, when you walk through a store and if by chance there are droplets with the virus floating in the air or on a surface, you will be covered with them and the moment you touch any part of your clothes, face, hair, etc., the virus will transfer to your hands. You get in your car and drive home and the virus will get all over your seats and steering wheel. Then when you walk in your home and sit down – virus transfers to EVERYTHING! This is the basic idea behind Cross Contamination. We go to great lengths in the hospital to control it and still it is not 100% effective.
Sorry Folks – you can’t stop virus! It is too small! As I mentioned, the masks most often used are procedure masks – and they can stop the virus. The manufactures say not to wear one for more than 4 hours. Then you must properly dispose of the mask and get a new one. In our real day-to-day lives almost none of the procedures to prevent Cross Contamination can be done effectively. The Answer? Forget thinking the mask is an answer. An unclean and overused face covering is not going to help. Instead, enhance your immune system. The human immune system is truly a think of wonderment! I am 75 years old and I’m not afraid of COVID-19 (I call it “COVERT-19”) because I have many ways I enhance my immune system. I will leave that to another time. For now, get as healthy as you can, the virus doesn’t like that!!!
Allison Lucas says
This! I couldn’t agree more. Thank you stating it all so simply. I appreciate that you read the article and shared your own professional experience.
Karen Fritzemeier says
I am looking up information online about Allison R. Lucas. I see that she lives in my area, so perhaps local friends know her personally. I am wondering exactly what experience she has in hospital laboratories and trauma hospitals? If you try to look up her name it is very hard to find anything on her experience in that area. This is all I came up with so far, but no medical experience is mentioned. I also cannot find any websites for Westshore Law, where she works. Would appreciate further info please.
Sheri S. says
Read the article and sources again. Then go through them with a fine tooth comb. That is all you need to do if you want to critically review the science. Instead, people resort to the appeal to authority argument under some false assumption that nobody but an authority can read, understand, and write about science.
PS; It merely takes common sense to see that mask wearing can not and will not work in a public setting. Look around you and see all the ways masks are improperly worn. This only gets worse when you through children and teens in the mix.
Allison Lucas says
Thank you for the comment. I agree that the merits of the argument are clearly supported, even without me disclosing additional, private information about myself. No matter what my experience and education, it will never be enough to satisfy all.
Richard Hudon says
since you can’t raise doubts about the science presented, you indirectly attempt to discredit the author and her credentials.
Shame on you.
Her research speaks for itself; anyone can do good research once they put their mind, plenty effort and energy to the task.
I’ve read a random number of the citations and they stand on their own merit as I’m sure the rest of them do.
But then, as Allison, I also very good at research and know the trials and tribulations of doing it and reaching conclusions therefrom…
Allison Lucas says
Thank you for reading the article and responding.
Linda Johnson says
Your comment is perfect because as a retired FCS teacher I remember constantly telling students about cross contamination when I was teaching Food Preparation. It is so scary that the public think a mask and gloves will protect from a virus which is so much smaller than bacteria. Enhancing our immune system is our best defense as you stated in you your comment. I so wish that REAL education about viruses and defense against them would become newsworthy!
Allison Lucas says
Thank you for reading the article and for the feedback.
Dr Zilika says
Great write up, loved the wide rage of evidence in your article.
A lot of people have been debating and showing that masks work based on a few researches mentioned in this article claiming it’s science: https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/21299527/masks-coronavirus-covid-19-studies-research-evidence
But, none of the papers except the Jena model have compared it to a non-mask wearing population, so how do we exactly know it’s worked?
None of the them have used only mask as a protocol but social distancing, hygiene etc with it. No mention whether they were on any preventive medicines (HCQS or others)
None of them except the CDC study did an antibody screening to know if they were previously affected by the virus
The initial two studies clearly mention there is low certainty they work and mentions that medical masks are ineffective and cloth masks are even further ineffective, and that only N95 and respirators were useful
The CDC report states many in the sample were antibody postive so they already had the infection, how do we assess that masks worked in them as they have the antibodies?
The worry is when they mandate it based on bad science and talk about prevention when the cure rate is 99.6%, which is a better rate than all the mask studies. Isn’t it like you’re wearing a seatbelt even though you’re not driving?
Allison Lucas says
I love your critical thought process. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Bryan Mann says
Thanks for this breakdown. However I went out to The National Academy of Sciences and it seems they may have flipped on their position based on what I could find in a quick search. One of the articles mention that we do not know the particle size, but in another study breakdown I saw that it is .125 micro meters. I think what frustrates me the most are the folks who are “science based’ don’t recognize the “bad science” and when I do my reading and aggregate data and present they default to “well you are not a doctor/scientist” or they default to “you are just a denier”….
Allison Lucas says
I appreciate your feedback. I understand and relate to your frustration.
Allison Lucas says
Can you link the The National Academy of Sciences article that you are referencing?
Richard Egg says
The following study found that in a real world context, mask wearing reduced transmission
“Figure 3A shows the effects we infer for wearing and mandates in the form of percentage reductions in R. We find that the difference between zero mask wearing and 100% self-reported mask-wearing (most or all of the time) corresponds to a 24.6% [6%, 43%] reduction in transmission.” and
“Figure 3B shows the distribution of mask-wearing effects across the regions we study, using the observed median wearing percentage in each region. In this window of analysis, we infer a median reduction in transmission of 20.8% [2.7%, 23.2%].”
So masks alone will not prevent transmission, but are effective at reducing the rate of transmission.