Masks Do Not Work, Period
Unfortunately, no scientific study has demonstrated that masks do any good at all in terms of protecting people from COVID-19. Some mask wearers may feel a little better, because they may feel like they have some protection, even though in reality they have none.
Governors and mayors, caught up in the mindless frenzy, are imposing fines on constituents who go au naturale. Houston’s mayor will issue $250 fines, after a single warning, for those caught without a face covering. Miami issues $100 citations for a first and second offense, followed by an arrest on the third offense. Broward County fines violators $1,000 a day, and continued malfeasance can put someone behind bars for 60 days.
There might be some slight justification for these draconian measures if masks worked. But they don’t.
Neither the N95 mask, top, nor the hospital mask has proved efficient to prevent Covid-19 infections
Surgical masks also filter incoming air, but since they are designed for sterile environments, they quickly become clogged in normal outdoor environments. Consequently, they must be changed or thrown out every 20-30 minutes in a non-sterile environment. And if you happen to come in contact with pathogens, the particles just become trapped in the mask, and the mask becomes little more than a portable virus dispenser. Every time you take one off and put one on you transfer whatever is on the mask to your face. You are breathing in pathogens from everywhere you’ve been.
The cloth masks, homemade or not, are the worst. Cloth masks do not filter anything, going out or coming in. As you breathe out all you are doing is trapping carbon dioxide in your mask, which is the one thing cloth masks are actually good at. So by wearing one, you are endangering your health more than you are protecting it. The moisture from your breath is caught in these masks and can become mildew-ridden overnight. You may wind up with mask-induced dry coughing, allergies and a sore throat from the micro-mold in your mask.
A review of the scientific literature on COVID-19 reveals that, simply put, “masks and respirators do not work. There have been extensive randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies, and meta-analysis reviews of RCT studies, which all show that masks and respirators do not work to prevent respiratory influenza-like illnesses, or respiratory illnesses believed to be transmitted by droplets and aerosol particles.”
The reason is that none of the available masks has a mesh that’s fine enough to capture the COVID-19 particles. In fact, the known facts of physics and biology say that masks cannot work. “The main transmission path is long-residence-time aerosol particles (smaller than 2.5 μm), which are too fine to be blocked, and the minimum-infective dose is smaller than one aerosol particle.” (Emphasis mine.) In other words, it only takes a dose smaller than one aerosol particle to infect someone, and none of the masks can capture even a single particle that small.
Here’s a sample of the medical literature on the subject:
Doctors do not see benefit in the use of masks to prevent infections by viruses - from the top, Dr. Joshua L. Jacobs, Dr. Benjamin J. Cowing & Dr. Faisal bin Reza
- Jacobs, J. L. et al. (2009) “Face mask use in HCW (Health Care Workers) was not demonstrated to provide benefit in terms of cold symptoms or getting colds” (which of course are caused by viruses). Plus, the health care workers were significantly more likely to experience headaches.
- Cowling, B.J. et al. (2010) “None of the studies reviewed showed a benefit from wearing a mask, in either HCW or community members in households therein.
- bin-Reza, F. et al. (2012) “There were 17 eligible studies. … None of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask/respirator use and protection against influenza infection.”
- Smith, J.D. et al. (2016) “We identified six clinical studies … . In the meta-analysis of the clinical studies, we found
no significant difference between N95 respirators and surgical masks in associated risk of (a) laboratory-confirmed respiratory infection, (b) influenza-like illness, or (c) reported work-place absenteeism.”
- Offeddu, V. et al. (2017) “Evidence of a protective effect of masks or respirators against verified respiratory infection (VRI) was
not statistically significant.”
- Radonovich, L.J. et al. (2019) “Among outpatient health care personnel, N95 respirators vs medical masks as worn by participants in this trial resulted in
no significant difference in the incidence of laboratory-confirmed influenza.”
- Long, Y. et al. (2020) “There were no statistically significant differences in preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza, laboratory-confirmed respiratory viral infections, laboratory-confirmed respiratory infection, and influenza-like illness using N95 respirators and surgical masks.”
- Conclusion: “No RCT study with verified outcome shows a benefit for HCW or community members in households to wearing a mask or respirator. There is no such study. There are no exceptions. Likewise, no study exists that shows a benefit from a broad policy to wear masks in public.... All of this to say that: if anything gets through (and it always does, irrespective of the mask), then you are going to be infected. Masks cannot possibly work. It is not surprising, therefore, that no bias-free study has ever found a benefit from wearing a mask or respirator in this application.”
The bottom line is quite simple: Masks do not work, cannot work, and never will work.
Bryan Fisher can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org