Opinion | According to the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, life will not be returning to your old normal anytime soon. What’s more, things will only get worse unless the public follow health advice such as wearing masks and social distancing. The somber announcement came during a July 13, 2020, press conference.
This, despite the fact that the WHO’s June 5, 2020, guidance memo1 on face mask use states there’s no direct evidence that universal masking of healthy people is an effective intervention against respiratory illnesses.
What’s more, people are being urged to use cloth masks or bandanas (ostensibly to prevent shortages among health care staff), none of which conform to any kind of quality standards, and according to what little scientific evidence is available have been shown to provide only about half of what little protection you may get from a surgical mask.
No Direct Evidence to Support Universal Mask Usage
SARS-CoV-2 is a beta-coronavirus with a diameter between 60 nanometers (nm) and 140 nm, or 0.06 to 0.14 microns (micrometers).2 This is about half the size of most viruses, which tend to measure between 0.02 microns to 0.3 microns.3
Virus-laden saliva or respiratory droplets expelled when talking or coughing measure between 5 and 10 microns,4 and it is these droplets that surgical masks and respirators can block.
For example, N95 masks can filter particles as small as 0.3 microns,5 so they may prevent a majority of respiratory droplets from escaping. They cannot block aerosolized viruses, however, that are in the air itself. Additionally, many N95 masks only protect the wearer, as they have exhalation ports that allow you to exhale unfiltered air.
Lab testing6 has shown 3M surgical masks can block up to 75% of particles measuring between 0.02 microns and 1 micron, while cloth masks block between 30% and 60% of respiratory particles of this size. As noted in the WHO’s guidance memo:7
Meta-analyses in systematic literature reviews have reported that the use of N95 respirators compared with the use of medical masks is not associated with any statistically significant lower risk of the clinical respiratory illness outcomes or laboratory-confirmed influenza or viral infections …
The use of cloth masks (referred to as fabric masks in this document) as an alternative to medical masks is not considered appropriate for protection of health workers based on limited available evidence …
At present, there is no direct evidence (from studies on COVID- 19 and in healthy people in the community) on the effectiveness of universal masking of healthy people in the community to prevent infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.
Curiously, while cloth masks and face coverings are far less effective for blocking respiratory droplets, the WHO recommends that cloth or nonmedical masks “should only be considered for source control (used by infected persons) in community settings and not for prevention.”8
CDC Policy Review Found No Evidence of Usefulness Either
A policy review paper9 published in Emerging Infectious Diseases in May 2020—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s own journal—has also reviewed “the evidence base on the effectiveness of nonpharmaceutical personal protective measures … in non-healthcare settings,” and they too found no evidence of benefit:
Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.
Pages 970 to 972 of the review include the following quotes:10
In our systematic review, we identified 10 RCTs [randomized controlled trials] 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 …
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 …
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 … In this review, we did not find evidence to support a protective effect of personal protective measures or environmental measures in reducing influenza transmission.
These Mistakes Undermine the Protection Masks May Provide
If and when you do use a mask, you have to follow proper protocols, or else you can nullify what little protection they do offer against potentially infectious respiratory droplets. As detailed in WHO’s guidance memo, you need to make sure your medical mask is:11
- Changed when wet, soiled or damaged
- Untouched. Do not adjust or displace it from your face for any reason. “If this happens, the mask should be safely removed and replaced; and hand hygiene performed”
- Discarded and changed after caring for any patient on contact/droplet precautions for other pathogens
The memo also points out that “Staff who do not work in clinical areas do not need to use a medical mask during routine activities (e.g., administrative staff).” Now, if administrative hospital staff do not need to wear masks, why would healthy individuals need to wear them when walking around, especially in open-air areas?
Broward county, Florida, has gone so far as to issue an emergency order12 mandating masks to be worn inside your own residence. But why, if administrative hospital staff aren’t even advised to wear them at work?
In summary, it is likely that masks are not entirely useless in all circumstances. However, the literature rather strongly suggests the usefulness of masks depends on a significant number of factors—type, fit, length of use, purpose and circumstances—which are effectively impossible to account for in public universal-masking policies.
The science, contrary to the ignorant platitudes we are bombarded with, has NOT proven that universal masking is effective for viral containment, and has instead provided substantial grounds for skepticism of such a policy.
Benefits of Mask Wearing Do Not Include Infection Control
Despite the lack of scientific evidence showing masks do much of anything to prevent the spread of viral infections, the WHO still manages to make a case for universal mask wearing. The “potential benefits” listed, however, have little to do with health, and much more to do with learning submission. According to the WHO, potential benefits of mask wearing include:13
•“Reduced potential stigmatization of individuals wearing masks to prevent infecting others or of people caring for COVID-19 patients in nonclinical settings”—In other words, we should all wear masks to make people caring for COVID-19 patients feel more accepted, as if that’s actually a significant problem.
•“Making people feel they can play a role in contributing to stopping spread of the virus”—I.e., masks, while providing a false sense of security, make people feel like they’re “doing something” to help. Put another way, it makes people feel virtuous and “good.”
•“Reminding people to be compliant with other measures”—In other words, mask wearing is a sign of overall compliance.
•“Potential social and economic benefits”—This is perhaps the most ludicrously strained reason of all. According to the WHO:
Encouraging the public to create their own fabric masks may promote individual enterprise and community integration … The production of non-medical masks may offer a source of income for those able to manufacture masks within their communities. Fabric masks can also be a form of cultural expression, encouraging public acceptance of protection measures in general.
Potential Harms and Risks of Mask Wearing
The WHO also lists a number of potential harms and risks of mask wearing, which “should be carefully taken into account when adopting this approach of targeted continuous medical mask use.” These include:14
- Self-contamination due to the manipulation of the mask by contaminated hands or not changing the mask when wet, soiled or damaged
- General discomfort, as well as facial skin lesions, irritant dermatitis or worsening acne
- False sense of security that may reduce adherence to other well recognized preventive measures such as hand hygiene
- Disadvantages for or difficulty wearing them by specific vulnerable populations such as those with mental health disorders, developmental disabilities, the deaf and hard of hearing community, and children
- Difficulty wearing them in hot and humid environments
Aside from these, several people have demonstrated that masks can rapidly result in the buildup of toxic carbon dioxide, which can have a markedly detrimental impact on health.
In one video, a science teacher tried to evade YouTube censorship by saying children should wear face masks to school—all while holding up handwritten signs informing viewers the tactic was for censorship evasion, and to pay attention to the carbon dioxide metering results, which show carbon dioxide levels behind the mask shoot up above 10,000 parts per million (ppm) after just 10 breaths.
After garnering several hundred thousand views, the video was removed for “violating YouTube community guidelines.”
Del Bigtree of The Highwire has performed an identical demonstration.15 With an N95 mask on, the carbon dioxide level spikes above 8,480 ppm within seconds. Above 5,000 ppm, OSHA warns that “toxicity or oxygen deprivation could occur.”
Carbon dioxide levels between 2,000 ppm and 5,000 ppm are associated with headaches, sleepiness, poor concentration, loss of attention, increased heart rate and slight nausea. The maximum permissible daily exposure limit is 5,000 ppm.
Wearing a standard surgical mask, carbon dioxide levels again reached above 8,000 ppm, although it took longer. Shockingly, wearing a cloth bandana resulted in carbon dioxide buildup near the nose and mouth exceeding 8,000 ppm.
Even wearing a clear plastic face shield (without a mask) resulted in carbon dioxide levels in the 1,500-ppm range, which is associated with drowsiness and poor air quality. The video at the top of this section also addresses many of the potential harms and risks of masks wearing.
Toxic ingredients that can worsen breathing problems are yet another potential hazard of certain masks. For example, surgical masks are made of plastics like polypropylene, a known asthma trigger.16
The 2018 study,17 18 “Hypoxia Downregulates Protein S Expression,” also describes how hypoxia (low oxygen concentration) increases your risk of blood clots by reducing protein S, which is a natural anticoagulant. Wearing a mask, especially for long periods of time, may reduce your oxygen concentration, and considering COVID-19 is already associated with abnormal blood clotting, inducing hypoxia may be ill advised.
PPE Waste Is Becoming an Environmental Hazard
Last but not least, environmentalists are now warning that personal protective equipment (PPE) such as medical face masks may turn into a devastating environmental problem. As reported by The Guardian, June 8, 2020:19
The French non-profit Opération Mer Propre, whose activities include regularly picking up litter along the Côte d’Azur, began sounding the alarm late last month.
Divers had found what Joffrey Peltier of the organization described as ‘COVID waste’—dozens of gloves, masks and bottles of hand sanitizer beneath the waves of the Mediterranean, mixed in with the usual litter of disposable cups and aluminum cans … ‘It’s the promise of pollution to come if nothing is done,’ said Peltier.
In France alone, authorities have ordered two billion disposable masks, said Laurent Lombard of Opération Mer Propre. ‘Knowing that … soon we’ll run the risk of having more masks than jellyfish in the Mediterranean,’ he wrote on social media alongside video of a dive showing algae-entangled masks and soiled gloves in the sea near Antibes.
The group hopes the images will prompt people to embrace reusable masks and swap latex gloves for more frequent handwashing. ‘With all the alternatives, plastic isn’t the solution to protect us from COVID. That’s the message,’ said Peltier.
1 WHO.int Advice on the Use of Masks in the Context of COVID-19.
2 StatPearls July 4, 2020, Etiology.
3 SPhosp.org N95s — Sufficient Protection for COVID-19? (PDF).
4 WHO.int Transmission of SARS-CoV-2, Contact and Droplet Transmission.
5 See Footnote 3.
6 medRxiv April 24, 2020 DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.17.20069567 (PDF).
7 See Footnote 1.
9 Emerging Infectious Diseases May 2020; 26(5).
11 See Footnote 1.
12 Broward County Administrator Emergency Order 20-22 (PDF).
13 See Footnote 1.
15 The Highwire July 7, 2020.
16 Ontario Lung Association, Known Asthma Triggers (PDF).
17 Blood July 26, 2018; 132(4): 452-455.
18 Renegade Tribune July 26, 2020.
19 The Guardian June 8, 2020.
20 Pew Research June 23, 2020.
Wearing a mask is very different from mandatory vaccines. We need to pick our battles so we are not so fringe that our choices are disregarded completely. There are many studies that conflict with above.
Could you post the links to studies that you have found to conflict with the information contained in this article? Thanks.
Thank you. I tried in vain to tell my friends about the risks but no one believed me. Now I can forward your article and they hear it from someone else. I also agree about the waste. The disposable wipes, hankies and napkins already make up so much, now all these masks are added to the heaps of waste. Ridiculous indeed, how people have now jumped on the fashion cart to wear masks of all sizes, fabrics, colors… it is abominable.
“To mask or not to mask”
Nurses have been wearing masks for years when working with patients who could transmit organisms via the respiratory tract. I worked in long term care and assisted livings for about 15 years – which is one of the highest risk populations for getting influenza.
In all those years I did not take flu vaccines but did wear a regular surgical mask when caring for someone with a cough. I credit my not getting influenza to wearing that mask and following strict handwashing using soap and water. I also took a multiple vitamin each day along with 500mg of vitamin C and 3,000 IU’s of Vitamin D3. I believe masks can help prevent the spread of respiratory illness.
Where I live, there are masks laying about…some are used and some look new. You can also find them in parking lots. Give me some honest, solid reasons why I should trust the CDC, WHO, FDA or Fauci? Has anyone bothered to read about the 2009-10 Swine flu epidemic that never was? Fauci and the CDC tried to invent a massive panic promoting fear and the need for a vaccine. Sound familiar? They bounce their advice back and forth in favor of whoever pays them the most payola. I am glad the environmentalist are going bonkers over masks invading the environment. You reap the crap that you sow, brother. The same goes for silly windmills that cannot be recycled…ditto for toxic solar panels. Maybe all masks should be painted green so that they blend in with the environment as they flutter about in the wind.
The face diaper mandates are to teach submission to the slaves. That way, it will be easier to convince more of the slaves to willingly line up for the Gates-Fauci-Trump Death Jab. And those who will not line up willingly, well they will attempt to tie you down and force the needle into you. And if that doesn’t work, well, they really have no compunction about eliminating you. By whatever means necessary.
Thanks for the informative article again. I just wish this could be published and therefore viewed in higher visible media.
Thankfully for me where I live, one family owned supermarket (3 stores in town) has refused to comply with the county mandate of mask wearing, so we can still shop there without the constraint of a mask… the one issue is that it does not carry all the products I need and the prices are a bit higher on some products, so it is a bit tricky for those of us who are in a difficult financial situation. However it allows us to support small businesses. when I do have to occasionally go to a place where masks are required, I go as fast as I can, as I quickly feel overwhelmed and stressed by having something over my mouth and nose. But the worst for me is seeing parents having small children wearing a mask… why are they even bringing kids to a supermarket????
When will all this madness stop?
Could you post the links to studies that you have found to conflict with the information contained in this article? Thanks.
I never dreamed that people would be so afraid of dying that they were willing to stop living.
That the masks increase the serious risks for co-morbitities to be amplified is irresponsible. I agree with Nathalie…when will this madness stop.
I agree with you
Whenever masks are discussed people are quick pointing to nurses in hospital’s as their proof, however this notion has been defeated in court by expert’s more then once. Further they’ve stated the practice of masking in hospital’s are based in “tradition and habit” rather then scientific reasoning:
Mask effectiveness defeated in court https://www.ona.org/news-posts/ona-wins-vaccinate-or-mask-flu-policy/
Universal masking is stated to be a reflexive reaction to anxiety (rather then being based in science)
New England journal of medicine April 1, 2020 “We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2006372?fbclid=IwAR0sz2XONIpHASO9eAse5L-gnGNuJt5lDcMuZ4YLHAkaa1DHOKJ2_lrAICQ
This trend supported by CDC/WHO Says No Direct Evidence Masks Prevent Viral Infection https://thevaccinereaction.org/2020/08/who-says-no-direct-evidence-masks-prevent-viral-infection/
Europe’s Top Health Officials Say Masks Aren’t Helpful in Beating COVID-19.
“From a medical point of view, there is no evidence of a medical effect of wearing face masks, so we decided not to impose a national obligation,” said Medical Care Minister Tamara van Ark.
Others, echoing statements similar to the US Surgeon General from early March, said masks could make individuals sicker and exacerbate the spread of the virus.
“Face masks in public places are not necessary, based on all the current evidence,” said Coen Berends, spokesman for the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. “There is no benefit and there may even be negative impact.”
In Sweden, where COVID-19 deaths have slowed to a crawl, public health officials say they see “no point” in requiring individuals to wear masks.
With numbers diminishing very quickly in Sweden, we see no point in wearing a face mask in Sweden, not even on public transport,” said Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s top infectious disease expert.”
That said, it’s important to understand the sort of misrepresentation of facts and even deception coming out in attempts to save the mask narrative:
(Let’s take the number one cited study as of today) And prime example of the kinda untruthful anecdotal shenanigans behind these narratives!
With a headline such as this
“Int J Infect Dis. 2020 Jul
Human coronavirus data from four clinical trials of masks and respirators”
You’d conclude these are “clinical trials”, right?
“In ‘four trials’ (emphasis added) that we conducted, we tested for human coronaviruses, but only composite viral endpoints were reported in the ‘trials.’ We reviewed and analyzed the coronavirus data from ‘four of our trials.'”
But it’s actually an anecdotal study on four PATIENTS, out of over 1,700 patient’s. So all the conclusions were drawn not from four clinical trials of masks, but from four patient’s. Their LYING!
And what are those conclusions?
The first line that’s highlighted by the arbitrators of truth at google is
“No coronavirus infections were transmitted in households to parents who wore P2 or surgical masks”
Neglecting the couple sentences above which says
“trial of mask use by sick patients”
Yes only the four… And It wasn’t the parents wearing masks! It was the sick patients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7263249/