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Study Finds Mask Wearing Reduced the Risk of COVID by Only Five Percent

mask at train station

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, societies throughout the world have been divided on the efficacy of face coverings to prevent influenza or influenza-like-illness (ILI), such as COVID. However, research conducted by the independent Cochrane, a charitable medical research organization based in London, England appears to have put to rest this longstanding dispute.

Published earlier this year, Cochrane’s analysis of 78 global studies involving over one million people provided evidence that masks reduced the risk of infection and death by a mere five percent, causing researchers to assert that the benefits of wearing masks and mask mandates did not outweigh the risks, such as impeding children’s academic and cognitive development in their early years.1

Considered the “gold standard” in demonstrating the accuracy of evidence-based medicine, most reviews by Cochrane follow a rigorous methodology, are generally less vulnerable to bias, and tend to only consider high-quality evidence in systematic reviews that investigate the effects of interventions for disease prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.2

Francois Balloux, director of the UCL Genetics Institute and professor of computational biology at University College in London said of the findings:

Irrespective of the limitations of the study, its results indicate that the true impact of medical/surgical masks and N95/P2 respirators on the transmission of respiratory viruses is at best small.3

Key Findings of Cochrane Analysis

  • There were no clear differences between the use of medical/surgical masks compared with N95/P2 respirators in healthcare workers when used in routine care to reduce respiratory viral infection.
  • Community mask-wearing makes little to no difference in lab-confirmed infections, compared to not masking.
  • Immunocompromised or vulnerable individuals may benefit from mask-wearing since interventions that are not effective at a population level may still provide personal benefit to at-risk individuals.1

    Mask Mandates: How Did We Get Here?

    With the onset of COVID in 2020, all major health authorities collectively decided that masks were effective and required for combating the flu-like virus. Almost immediately, mask mandates became ubiquitous, even on airplanes where safety announcements routinely thanked passengers for following the mandate “in accordance with federal law.”4

    A federal judge later ruled the 14-month mandate was unlawful, citing that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had “exceeded its authority, had not sought public comment, and did not adequately explain its decisions.” There have been transgressions within the legislative process and many parents opposed unprecedented masking and vaccine mandate bills.5

    Early on, guidance from public health officials was indecisive at best. Initially, the former  director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Anthony Fauci, MD warned that masks were not as protective as people think. He said:

    When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is.

    Shortly afterward, Dr. Fauci did an about-face and unequivocally supported mask usage, citing that the initial recommendation not to mask up was due to fears of PPE shortages for healthcare workers. Adding to growing distrust in public health officials, the recommendation was not for N95 masks, which at the time were in short supply, but for cloth face coverings, which the CDC admitted were least effective at virus prevention and spread.6 7

    Research on Mask Efficacy Limited Before the COVID Pandemic

    Despite health authorities forging full speed ahead with mask mandates at the outset of the crisis to minimize the impacts of the global pandemic, existing research on mask efficacy at the time was limited and, according to one analysis, too preliminary to support an informed policy. That didn’t stop public officials from enacting several years-long mask mandates, including one that required restaurant patrons to wear masks only until they were seated, where removal was permitted for drinking and eating.8

    It was not only society that was divided on the effectiveness of mask-wearing. Scientists have been divided on the subject as well. The same analysis shared that scientists have different opinions on wearing masks, claiming that masks are ineffective in preventing the spread of COVID. Further, a perspective published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that cloth face masks offer little to no protection to the general population and health care workers. The author pointed out that masking is not a standalone panacea, and without meticulous hand hygiene, eye protection, gloves, and a gown, masks alone would not protect healthcare providers from contracting the virus.9

    Masking Contributes to Developmental Delays in Children

    The latest analysis proving the inefficacy of masks is hardly the first to pose the question of whether or not the risks outweigh the benefits. One scientific paper established that face coverings made it harder to hear and understand speech and identify facial expressions and emotions—all critical developmental functions for children in their first few years of life.10

    Manfred Spitzer, a psychiatrist and a cognitive neuroscientist in Germany, shared concerns that masking interfered with nonverbal communication and emotional bonding. The latent effects of children being unable to see their friends or family smile or frown and pick up on emotional cues—all of which help children to develop empathy, an integral emotional response sociopaths are devoid of—are still unknown. While the CDC states that SARS-CoV-2 infections are  generally mild or 11 12

    One study, while not yet peer-reviewed, found a striking decline in cognitive performance since the onset of the COVID pandemic, with infants born since mid-2020 showing an average decrease of 27-37 points.13

    Public Health Measures Based on Force: Relic of the 19th Century

    Over the past several years, dissenters of mainstream opinion have been vilified and dehumanized—even losing their jobs—for not immediately complying with authoritarian public health policy mandates that have now proven to be ineffective at best, and overarchingly harmful at worst.14 15

    President Biden has made multiple remarks disparaging unvaccinated individuals, blaming them for slowing down the U.S economy in 2021 by costing jobs and putting unnecessary strain on the healthcare system. In the winter of 2021, he warned that unvaccinated individuals face “a winter of severe illness and death.”16 17

    One article published by bioethicists in the American Journal of Public Health in 2005 discussed the 1905 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Jacobson v. Massachusetts, in which a Lutheran pastor refused to comply with a smallpox vaccine mandate because he and his son had suffered a severe reaction to a previous smallpox vaccination. The authors emphasized the importance of balancing the constitutional authority of state government to protect the public’s health with the importance of upholding the constitutional right to personal liberty. Trust, they said, should not be underestimated:

    “People are more likely to trust officials who protect their personal liberty. Without trust, public officials will not be able to persuade the public to take even the most reasonable precautions during an emergency, which will make a bad situation even worse. The public will support reasonable public health interventions if they trust public health officials to make sensible recommendations that are based on science and where the public is treated as part of the solution instead of the problem. Preserving the public’s health in the 21st century requires preserving respect for personal liberty.”18


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    Click here to view References:

    1 Jefferson T, Dooley L et al. Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2023; Issue 1. Art. No.: CD006207 (accessed Feb 13, 2023).\
    2
    Useem J, Brennan A, LaValley M, Vickery M, Ameli O, Reinen N, Gill CJ. Systematic Differences between Cochrane and Non-Cochrane Meta-Analyses on the Same Topic: A Matched Pair Analysis. PLoS One. Dec 15, 2015; 10(12): e0144980.
    3 Francois Balloux, [@BallouxFrancois]. Cochrane reviews are the ‘gold standard’ in evidence-based medicine. They follow a rigorous methodology and only consider high quality evidence. As such, the review included a limited number of studies and has moderate power to detect small effects. Twitter Jan. 30, 2023.
    4 Face masks now a federal requirement in airports, on planes under new CDC order. Delta News Hub Feb. 1, 2021.
    5 Shepardson D. U.S. will no longer enforce mask mandate on airplanes, trains after court ruling. Reuters, Apr. 19, 2022.
    6 Jankowicz M. Fauci said US government held off promoting face masks because it knew shortages were so bad that even doctors couldn’t get enough. Business Insider June 15, 2020.
    7 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Types of Masks and Respirators. Sept. 28, 2022.f
    8 Nie J, Kang L, Pian Y, Hu J. Need for more robust research on the effectiveness of masks in preventing COVID-19 transmission. Future Virol. March 2022: 10.2217/fvl-2021-0032.
    9 Klompas M et al. Universal Masking in Hospitals in the Covid-19 Era. N Engl J Med May 21, 2020; 382: e63.
    10 Fitousi D, Rotschild N, Pnini C, Azizi O. Understanding the Impact of Face Masks on the Processing of Facial Identity, Emotion, Age, and Gender. Front Psychol Nov. 3, 2021; 3(12): 743793.
    11 Reilly P. Study finds children have harder time recognizing masked faces than adults. New York Post Feb. 7, 2022.
    12 CDC. Information for Pediatric Healthcare Providers. Feb. 10, 2023.
    13 Deoni SC, Beauchemin J, Volpe A, Dâ Sa V; RESONANCE Consortium. The COVID-19 Pandemic and Early Child Cognitive Development: A Comparison of Development in Children Born During the Pandemic and Historical References. medRxiv Aug. 16, 2022.
    14 National Public Radio.Thousands of workers are opting to get fired, rather than take the vaccine. Oct. 24, 2021.
    15 Sigalos M. You can’t sue Pfizer or Moderna if you have severe Covid vaccine side effects. The government likely won’t compensate you for damages either. CNBC Dec. 17, 2020.
    16 Towey R. Biden says unvaccinated Americans are ‘costing all of us’ as he presses Covid vaccine mandates. CNBC Sept. 24, 2021.
    17 Sink J. Biden Says Unvaccinated Face Winter of Severe Illness, Death. Bloomberg Dec. 16, 2021.
    18 Mariner WK, Annas GJ, Glantz LH. Jacobson v Massachusetts: it’s not your great-great-grandfather’s public health law. Am J Public Health April 2005; 95(4): 581-90.

10 Responses

  1. An “analysis of 78 global studies” also showed mercury doesn’t cause autism, aluminum is safe for the brain and other selective interpretations. I thought we were better than them?

    1. I’m not sure where you are getting your information. In trace amounts neither are harmful. However, the amount in vaccinations is considerably over the safe recommended amount. Both metals are harmful!!! You have to know where to look for accurate information.

    2. Understanding ‘Science™’. Policy for sale. Since the early 2000’s FDA initiated a fast track approval program where the corporations whos drugs they were tasked with approving, could pay substantial amounts more than regular application fees, to speed the ‘testing’ and ‘approvals’ along. Many instances involving vaccines resulted in hundreds of millions of additional monies spent for individual product approvals. Policy for sale.

  2. Thank you for your unwavering, diligent work. Ms. Barbara Lo Fisher of NVIC, you will go down in history as a hero of the 20th and 21st centuries. Your work is about to be rewarded in ways you didn’t expect.
    And thank you to Chocrane as well. God bless you.

  3. Most if not all of the “MASKS” are probably filled with toxins and carcinogens anyway. If I’m understanding things correctly. Oxygen deprivation will exacerbate or contribute to more diseases. Since when do masks work so well in unsterile environments?

  4. Upon reading the headline, I was already forming a generic response; these people are not experts, and this is not science. However, after having read the article in detail; surprisingly refreshing and what a great article. Amber Baker, great writing and excellent journalism. Thank you so much.

    A few housekeeping notes; ‘Throughout the covid-19™ scamdemic’… ‘Public health’ is a myth, a non sequitur. Our health is our own private and personal business and not the business of ‘the public’. We individuals collectively can not attain ‘public health’, any more than we could promote, examine, or otherwise materialize, a public arm, or a public leg, a public ear, or a public eye. ‘Health’ is the cumulative state of an individual person, and not an abstract concept applicable to entire groups of people. Individuals health outcomes are largely driven by environmental factors, and individual health management choices. The term ‘public health intervention’, is more aptly stated as controlling environmental factors for the benefit of the public at large, or providing certain treatments or medicines, for the benefit of the people.

    Because ‘public health intervention’ by any other name, is imposed tyranny, a result of departure from informed consent principals and philosophies of liberty which place individuals in charge of their own personal health decisions and subsequent health outcomes. There is no such thing as; ‘public health’. We certainly have a lot of tyranny and imposition into our personal health choices by the pharmasuetical industrial complexes, insurance companies, and dullard know nothing for sale to the highest bidder politicians!

    Try out this philosophy, if you may be inclined. ‘Good ideas do not require force’. Throughout this entire Covid™ event, and the subsequent science™ being promoted, our family opted out on principal alone. We never wore masks, never took the vaccines, never answered to the commands of supposed experts and supposed authority figures. We lived our own lives and simply skipped all of this. Therefore, we did not exhaust anywhere near as much of our energy or time pondering what was the correct course of action, if masks were effective or not, the origin of the virus, or if we should relinquish our liberties for the good of the public.

    Because we know ahead of time, regardless of the event of the day or subject matter at hand, that if we abandon the principals of liberty, all is lost anyways, and our individual health outcomes hardly matter. So let the scientists be scientists, and let the politicians keep politicking, let the salesmen be salesmen. The line in the sand is when they attempt to force our subscription to their point of view, way of life, or product subscriptions.

    In the future, should you become keenly aware of any of the many possible forms of tyranny creeping into your life or the society around you, simply opt out on principal. Good ideas do not require the force of government to be broadly accepted by the people living in society. No business is good business until it’s old business. Everyone whom participated in this grand experiment was a willing test subject, and they always had an individual choice, even if they were unaware at the time such choices were available to them personally.

    Such is the heavy hand of tyranny and force, people in their various states of individual vulnerability and confusion, forget what is most important in life. Because what is most important in life is not life itself, but rather the way we would live our lives, as free men, or as slaves. Never cared for what they do. Never cared for what they know. Never cared for games they play. Life is ours, we live it our way. Do not tread on me. Oh my, I’m getting heated and am about to quote John Patrick Henry on this board. In fact, why not. The Covid™ event is a clear illustration in our modern times; Those whom do not understand history, are indeed condemned to repeat it.

    It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. The war is actually begun! Our brethren
    are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to
    be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not
    what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

    John Patrick Henry – 1775
    https://academyatthelakes.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/PatrickHenryGiveMeLibertyAddressExcerptsFinal-rev-1-25-16.pdf

    1. Recently, we checked out this box of blue cloth like masks, the regular cheap ones distributed for free at hospitals and such, possibly the most widely used ones. We had them open from the initial covid events, set on a clean non contaminated no bugs no pests area of our basement, near to our well managed basement food storage area. We lifted mask after mask up and positively noted on all of them had some worm like creature or grub like insect in there. Many were shells dried up, but having had obviously grown and lived inside the mask box. They must have been on the fabric themselves, which is why they were pervasive on every single mask. Some were still alive, just pulsating and existing on a mask. So creepy and makes you wonder if this is purposeful or just god awful manufacturing process which caused contamination. We have kept a few of this exact same box from the same batch to furnish to someone one day and I’d bet you there will be worm grub deals in there too. Breath in the little eggs deeply, masks are scary.

  5. Masks have toxic chemicals in this recent study
    😷Measuring the quantity of harmful volatile organic compounds inhaled through masks
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0147651323004190?via%3Dihub=

    Per our favorite substack Coffee & Covid “The researchers found the ‘preferred’ disposable N-series masks contained up to fourteen times higher TVOC levels than did the cotton masks. The EPA recommends keeping TVOC levels below 0.5 parts per million in indoor air. The N-series sample with the highest level of TVOCs registered about 4.8 parts per million, more than eight times the recommended EPA limit.”

  6. It’s not about whether a face diaper reduces the risk of getting some scam “virus” by 5% or any amount, it’s about control and that oxygen deprivation causes permanent neurological damage and they know this.
    A sick dumb down society is easy to control.
    Masks breed bacteria and breathing your own waste and that bacteria cause oxygen deprivation and sickness.
    Fear sells and the brain can be programmed like a PC and they know this as well.
    Start thinking for yourselves and turn of the Tell-a Vision “Programs” this include the lying media, all of them.

    German Neurologist Warns Against Wearing Facemasks: ‘Oxygen Deprivation Causes Permanent Neurological Damage’
    https://i-uv.com/german-neurologist-warns-against-wearing-facemasks-oxygen-deprivation-causes-permanent-neurological-damage/

    1. Some lady at costco walked past us with the big deal pointy tip disposable black masks. And I was like, the mental health crisis is back. And the lady gave us really nasty looks, repeatedly as we passed her in the store over and over. Well, probably should not have said that quite as loudly but then again, their fear peddling makes everyone else as equally uncomfortable. Since when did being a germaphobe and hypochondriac become a virtue to embrace?

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