Tuesday, April 13, 2021

A little bit of science …

… Facemasks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis. (Hata tip, Dave Lull.)


The existing scientific evidences challenge the safety and efficacy of wearing facemask as preventive intervention for COVID-19. The data suggest that both medical and non-medical facemasks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious disease such SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, supporting against the usage of facemasks. Wearing facemasks has been demonstrated to have substantial adverse physiological and psychological effects. These include hypoxia, hypercapnia, shortness of breath, increased acidity and toxicity, activation of fear and stress response, rise in stress hormones, immunosuppression, fatigue, headaches, decline in cognitive performance, predisposition for viral and infectious illnesses, chronic stress, anxiety and depression. Long-term consequences of wearing facemask can cause health deterioration, developing and progression of chronic diseases and premature death. Governments, policy makers and health organizations should utilize prosper and scientific evidence-based approach with respect to wearing facemasks, when the latter is considered as preventive intervention for public health.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Frank,

    It's good that in these times of a deadly pandemic, when we know that wearing face masks significantly reduces mortality, that we further research the dangers of wearing a face mask. Following this period of mass death and suffering that we're in, hospital workers will still need to wear them, and so we need to get as smart as we can about this matter.

    A problem this study that you've featured has, is that it quotes dated WHO and CDC reports, reports that came out when the efficacy of wearing face masks was only a hypothesis. For a time last year, that wearing masks would help at all was only a hypothesis, even though it seemed so obviously beneficial. This is why WHO, for instance, would report, "no evidence is available on its usefulness to protect non-sick person." No evidence was yet available, of course not. The Covid-19 pandemic had just started.

    Another odd assertion from the study, is that the size of the aerosol particles are much smaller than the holes in the masks -- as if to say we should throw the masks away. All it means is that the masks will not yield 100% protection. Anything we do, including vaccines, only reduce the chances of the virus spreading. Everything we do is like wearing a condom with holes in it. But every condom helps. Double masking is better than single masking. Getting a vaccination and wearing a mask is better than only one or the other. It's like wearing 2 holey condoms, better than 1, better than none.

    In all of this, masks are known as the primary reason that lives have been saved and fewer people have gotten ill. Will vaccinations overtake masks as the biggest life saver? Soon, hopefully. Would we have done better at saving lives to put as much effort into good ventilation systems as with masks? Maybe, but masks are more cost effective.

    What is it, weekly that a new study comes out to confirm the efficacy of masks, the reason the CDC and WHO have both long been proponents of as many people as possible wearing them? Here's one from today's releases: Assessment of the COVID-19 Vaccine Program: Impact of the No Mask Mandate Executive Order in the State of Texas. Going into the pdf, we find this:

    We assessed the impact of combining the routine vaccination strategy with a public mask use strategy. Our result shows that 38% mask coverage is needed to complement the vaccination program in order to effectively control the spread of the virus in the community. However, if businesses are to reopen 100% (this we assume corresponds to a 20% increase in the baseline value of the community contact rate parameter) and face mask is no longer required in public places, our result shows that approximately 51% of the entire population needs to be fully vaccinated in order to bring the control reproduction number to a value less than one. This is consistent with the result obtained in Iboi et al. [8]. In summary, this study shows the importance of complementing the recent success in the fight to eliminating COVID-19 in the state of Texas through vaccination with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as the use of face mask and practising social distance. The relaxation of these interventions should to be a gradual process and not a one time order so as not to jeopardize the ongoing reduction in daily cases and deaths being recorded.

    Notice how I slipped the footnote link in, as this study confirmed the earlier study.

    The fault of the study that you cited, is that the researchers did not find what was in their discussion. The discussion is merely discussion.