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Masking, the Myth that Won’t Die

By May 23, 2024Commentary

Much as I would like to stop talking about these topics, research keeps popping up that is hard to ignore.  A reader kindly send me a link to the latest pro-mask nonsense, produced by researchers who just can’t let go of the idea that if we just all wore 82 masks 24 by 7, the epidemic could have been ended in a week.  Purporting to be a “meta-analysis” of research on mask effectiveness, it is basically a piece of gibberish designed to meet a specific end.  We have excellent ongoing reviews produced by people like the Cochrane Institute, the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine, and even a group associated with the federal government, none of which find any meaningful evidence to support the notion that masks limit community spread of a respiratory virus.  (Mask Review)

All you need to do to understand this piece of dreck is read the summary.  The reason we should mask is so we can virtue-signal to the rest of the world that we care about them.  And those who refuse to wear masks, despite their obvious uselessness, are ideologically driven morons.  That is clearly what the authors think.  They conflate mask research with respirator research.  People aren’t going to wear respirators and it would be dangerous for them to do so.  They attempt to rely on the same pathetic mask studies that were so deservedly and derisively debunked when first released.  They disrespect Cochrane and others because those groups insisted on actual evidence from randomized clinical trials, and rejected supposed evidence of benefit from poorly designed and obviously biased trials.  The most astounding thing is that anyone is still attempting to cling bitterly to the necessity of wearing masks.

I have said again and again that in a specific circumstance it is possible that a mask would prevent transmission, but that across the millions of encounters occurring in any community, they do nothing to slow or limit transmission.  All we had to do is look around and see case trends despite forced masking, social distancing, business and school closures, etc.  Mask wearing is bullshit.  Do it if you want to but you are simply delusional if you think it is protecting you to any meaningful degree.  And don’t forget that what the research does show is that they really are a virus collection device, and provide an environment the virus loves.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • joethenonclimatescientist says:

    The absolute only long term solution to covid is the development of immunity through the population, whether from natural infection or vaccination. There never was going to be any other solution. Vaccination was not a viable option until late 2020, so it was not on the table in march 2020.

    Assuming that masking did work to slow the spread (since stopping the spread of covid was impossible), the only thing that masking was ever going to accomplish was a delay in developing immunity throughout the population. The vaccine became available starting in Nov/Dec 2020, though there is legitimate debate on its true effectiveness.

    Fwiw, my educated assessment is that the vaccine was far less effective in reducing severity and death than typically reported due to errors in the data base, most notably an understatement of the denominator for the unvaxed. My apologies to Kevin, which this may be the only point on which we disagree.

    We are in full agreement that the majority of the pro masking studies are very weak.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      I think I have been pretty clear about my views on vax effectiveness, and done a ton of posts on that topic. I do think there was some effectiveness in the elderly against death and severe disease, but in general vax effectiveness was limited and waned quickly.

  • Jim says:

    In spring of 2020 the CDC website published an article with an illustration showing how cloth masks work. I was in disbelief at the armature level of the article – the article demonstrated the CDC had no idea how filtration worked. Without specification of medium used per the article a cloth mask would stop all aerosol particles from passing through the cloth. The formal education level of people at the CDC and to publish something like that is nothing but shameful. The other part of the message in that article was you not only wear the mask to protect yourself but to protect other people. That struck me has odd, turns out it was part of the messaging from our government institution.

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