Monday, April 12, 2021

Do Masks Do Any Good?

This study on the CDC website evaluated the effectiveness of hand cleaning procedures and use of the surgical masks that we are supposed to be using for COVID-19.   In this study they were checking for effectiveness against influenza.  These are two similar sized viruses. 

In our systematic review, we identified 10 RCTs that reported estimates of the effectiveness of face masks in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infections in the community from literature published during 1946–July 27, 2018. In pooled analysis, we found no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks (RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.51–1.20; I2 = 30%, p = 0.25) (Figure 2)...

Disposable medical masks (also known as surgical masks) are loose-fitting devices that were designed to be worn by medical personnel to protect accidental contamination of patient wounds, and to protect the wearer against splashes or sprays of bodily fluids (36). There is limited evidence for their effectiveness in preventing influenza virus transmission either when worn by the infected person for source control or when worn by uninfected persons to reduce exposure. Our systematic review found no significant effect of face masks on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.

They did not look at
Respirators (N95) because they require a fit level not usually achieved and not likely available in sufficient quantity for an influenza pandemic.  Perhaps this is why Fauci initially argued against masks. 

There are listed reasons why the experiments were perhaps not very effective tests, so as annoying as they are, we should probably keep using them for the moment to humor our supposed betters.  At some point they will either call the All Clear or they will eventually face pitchforks and torches. 


  1. Clayton, all of the facemask mandates ignore the downsides of masks and wildly over-state their effectiveness. From NIH:

  2. "Counties that reported high mask use show no statistical difference from counties that reported low mask use. I performed this analysis using NYT Coivd19 data. Read below for more details."
    - @LH_Banker (twitter thread)

  3. I would guess that Fauci originally stated that the public shouldn't bother with masks due to the paper he authored in 2017 that attributed deaths in various viral outbreaks to mask wearing. Very conducive to encouraging the growth of respiratory bacterial infections, which an earlier paper (2012?) labeled the biggest killer in the 1918 Spanish Flu, and later ones. Those cloth masks that are so popular? Same thing worn in that really big flu, and most all following since.
    His 2017 paper seemed to disappear from the NIH site, and I haven't looked for it again.