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The Mass(k) Delusion Continues

By August 17, 2021Commentary

Updated to hopefully fix the link in the cite to the first study.

While the literal idiots who run the federal government, and there can’t be more than ten people in the country who don’t really think they are idiots at this point, are extending the transportation mask mandate and forcing children to be masked in school, with no science or data to support those policies; evidence on how well masks really work is piling up.

This study takes an unusually open-minded approach in these ideological times.  The authors say in the paper’s background section that “pandemic mitigation requires evidence-based strategies”.  What a novel idea.  They then attempt to ascertain whether mask mandates or their absence was associated with case growth.  (Medrxiv Paper)   I know the answer from looking at epidemic curves.  (My usual caution as well that I prefer studies that look at actual mask wearing behavior versus just a mandate.)  They compare various jurisdictions with mandates and those without.  Mask mandates were, dare I say it, not associated with lower case growth or lower maximum growth rates.  There might have been a very slight association with lower minimum growth rates.  And looking by wave, there was no association at all in last spring and fall’s wave, the biggest so far.  Remember my caution above, well these authors did go on to also look at mask use.  Shockingly, just shockingly, there was no association between actual mask-wearing behavior and cases or case growth, even though mask mandates were associated with greater mask use.

Next up, another study on virus in aerosols and mask effectiveness.  (Medrxiv Paper)    Another good study because the researchers used actively infected patients, all asymptomatic or mild, and tested what spewed forth while wearing and not wearing a mask.  They found that viral RNA (so not necessarily actual viable virus) was present in 45% of fine aerosols, 31% of coarse aerosols and 65% of fomite samples.  As a refresher, fomites are particles that fall onto a surface.  A lot of virus is in fine aerosols.  A mask blocked only 48% of fine aerosols and 77% of coarse ones.  Alpha variant virus apparently had an 18 times greater presence in fine aerosols.  There was no significant difference in performance between cloth and surgical masks.  Uhh, this is interesting, none of the fine aerosol samples collected while people weren’t wearing masks had virus that cultured.  Two of the samples of fine aerosols collected while wearing masks did have culturable virus.  Strangely, the authors said their results indicated that many aerosols have viable virus that can be passed to another person.  That is not what their culture results would indicate.  So let me translate the main finding for you.  Masks don’t work.  A lot of virus in is fine aerosols and half the time masks aren’t going to block those.   But these authors subscribe to the mask religion; their solution is everyone should wear more and stronger masks.

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Colonel Travis says:

    Kevin, when you said this: “none of the fine aerosol samples collected while people weren’t wearing masks had virus that cultured. Two of the samples of fine aerosols collected while wearing masks did have culturable virus.”

    What does cultured mean and why does it matter?

    • Kevin Roche says:

      Culturing a virus, or any pathogen, means putting the sample in a medium designed to encourage replication and growth and seeing if that growth actually occurs. if it doesn’t, the virus you supposedly detected was only fragments or disabled virus. The fact that so few of these samples cultured suggests the weakness of PCR testing, it just picks up a lot of fragments and doesn’t identify infectious people.

  • J. Thomas says:

    Been talking to all of the teachers I know around the country. The reality to kids and masks is: they NEVER wear them correctly for longer than a few minutes at a time, they trade them back and forth because they might like someone else’s motif, teachers spend more time monitoring mask nonsense than teaching and the kids routinely see the [so called] adults [teachers] not following the rules because most know it’s STUPID ! It’s all about control and messaging that they are in control ! There are ZERO health excuses, as well all know.

    Local (SE PA) school board meetings going on to hear input on masks this week. The good news is that apparently the boards are willing to listen? Not sure if it’s just an illusion just to say that they took input while their districts already have the mask protocols written? I witnessed one event, you can’t believe the crap on the pro-mask signs. Very typical ‘feelings’ driven narratives, no facts to be found anywhere. I just kept thinking that these poor kids have to go home and be [raised] by these morons. In most cases, it’s the mom’s who are holding the signs and chanting the fact-less mantras. They are all self proclaimed ‘activists’ for one cause or another. Morons raising morons, a horrible cycle to witness and maybe next to impossible to break.

    On a bright note, for reasons that are not needed here, I have an engagement at Costal Carolina University at the end of September. I went online to see what they have posted regarding Covid protocols, knowing that I would be challenged to comply with the nonsense. What I found was a short paragraph that basically said; “There is no longer a ‘pandemic’, that corona viruses were endemic in our world, and that you are free (and will be supported) to use anything (mask/vaccine/rabbit’s foot/voodoo doll/etc.) that gave you piece of mind”. BRILLIANT ! I can’t wait to get there and hang out with smart people !

  • Ann in L.A. says:

    Have you noticed how quiet people have gotten over Sweden lately? Those Swedish idiots don’t act like tyrants and force everyone to mask, distance, and destroy their businesses and lives! Their kids even went to school last year!!! Murderers!


    Share of cases that are Delta: Sweden = 99.5%, US = 95.4%. About the same, ok.Delta’s the bad one, right?

    People fully vaxxed: Sweden = 49%, US = 50%. About the same again…

    7-day avg cases per million: Sweden = 87, US = 416. Huh. That’s not what’s supposed to happen!

    7-day average deaths per million: Sweden = 0.01, US = 2.22. Now, wait a minute!!! They don’t even MASK!!!

    Cumulative deaths per million: Sweden = 1452, US = 1883.. Unpossible!! They didn’t destroy their economy! They educated their kids, for gosh sake!!

    • Kevin Roche says:

      Excellent summary. Is there anyone who wouldn’t rather be living in Sweden for the last year? Far less damage to their society and their economy and sure looks like they have sufficient population immunity to limit spread. And they aren’t insane about trying for CV-19 zero.

  • virgil rolfsrud says:

    The embeded link for mask mandates in the first item takes me to an article on seasonality. Was that intentional?

  • Jason says:

    Kevin, do you forsee some sort of “smoking gun” in regard to mask mandates,( i.e. a study or enough anecdotal evidence)? Which is to say, some mass “awakening” that will sway those in the power positions to shift mitigation strategies. Such as not treating it like an emergency, but more like something that is endemic (like flu)? I feel it’s gotten the point of wash, rinse, repeat…to cliche it up.

  • Thomas L Heller says:

    “A lot of virus is in fine aerosols. A mask blocked only 48% of fine aerosols and 77% of coarse ones.” i’m trying to understand this. as a lay person i look at this and think, ‘a mask is blocking some particles, that’s good.’ But is it that there are so many particles (thousands, millions ?) that blocking some makes no difference? I hope you understand this is an honest question.

  • rob says:

    I’m posting this link for people to browse the comments attached to it. Is it any wonder why average citizens are confused as to what is true and what is false? You cannot expect a lay person to figure it out by themselves. There are “experts” on every side providing conflicting evidence and most of us are unwilling to spend our entire lives sifting through data in hopes of determining what is real. I’m not big on conspiracy theories but I’m convinced that foreign powers are behind a massive disinformation campaign going way beyond just Covid, and their goal is to destabilize western civilization by getting us all to distrust and hate each other.

  • Anthony DeF says:

    Every chemical equation has a rate-limiting step. When it comes to masks, it’s not whether a sufficient inoculum (and who knows what viable virus count that is, and at what distance?) can pass through a test mask worn by a laboratory avatar. The rate-limiting step is whether masks worn by fickle fallible feckless humans pretending that wearing masks reduces their transmission of C19 makes ANY difference. It does not. For example, I love when a patient and 2 family members seem surprised when I walk into the exam room and exclaim, “The doctor’s here! Masks Up!” as if the presence of the mask now partially over the nose sterilizes the entire room they have been contaminating for 30 minutes.
    This is no longer a PANdemic. Covid is ENdemic. Thanks to the CCP, it is now with us like nearly every other communicable disease in our species’ evolution. Vaccination to improve innate defenses (and deaths, but perhaps not incidence), research to understand residual vulnerability, therapeutics to fight the breakthroughs, etc. – then let us “move on” (to coin a phrase).
    It’s a fallacy of the left to profer that we can fully CONTROL nature (the virus’ origins notwithstanding); simultaneously, they argue that we have NO control over nature. Lefties cannot see shades of grey (The psych term is “black and white thinking.) The truth is that we can INFLUENCE nature, but control in the fundamental sense of the word – that is human arrogance. We must accept we’ve made remarkable progress against this booger. Now let’s go shopping, dining, fraternizing, and returning to normal life. Ah, those Swedes….

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