At Hot Air, David Strom points to studies saying masks typically do nothing to protect against the coronavirus or other respiratory viruses — citing randomized controlled trials:
Cochrane Library, an extremely well-regarded service that aggregates a database of high-quality medical studies and analyzes them, has published a new analysis of randomized controlled trials on physical interventions designed to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses….the review …. reveals … the truth: masks don’t work; even N95 masks don’t work. The latter is true probably because compliance and proper use are too burdensome over time to maintain, although that is speculation.
Medical/surgical masks compared to no masks
We included 12 trials (10 cluster‐RCTs) comparing medical/surgical masks versus no masks to prevent the spread of viral respiratory illness (two trials with healthcare workers and 10 in the community). Wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference to the outcome of influenza‐like illness (ILI)/COVID‐19 like illness compared to not wearing masks (risk ratio (RR) 0.95, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.84 to 1.09; 9 trials, 276,917 participants; moderate‐certainty evidence. Wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference to the outcome of laboratory‐confirmed influenza/SARS‐CoV‐2 compared to not wearing masks (RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.72 to 1.42; 6 trials, 13,919 participants; moderate‐certainty evidence)….
As Strom observes,
Human beings are only human, so even if the best-designed interventions could theoretically work–which is unlikely with surgical masks and not especially likely with N95s even used by medical professionals–chances are good that adherence to protocols will be low.
A couple of examples: how many people have not reused a mask? Stuffed it in their pocket and brought it out again to wear it somewhere when it is required? Almost everybody. Probably everybody. That reused mask is likely worse than useless. If it has virus particles on it you just handled it, probably deposited virus on the inside, and now you are breathing them in.
N95s? What percent of the time are they used as intended? Almost never. The seal must be perfect to prevent the infiltration of the virus, and without long preparation in nearly sterile conditions, the seal will be bad. You can check out the CDC instructions for yourself. That’s why studies show no appreciable difference between N95 effectiveness and surgical mask effectiveness, and that neither is effective….There were studies published before COVID arrived that showed masks to be useless, and all our public health officials were well aware of them….Fauci himself, well before COVID arrived, dismissed masks as a useful intervention. In an interview with @business in 2019, pre-plandemic Fauci stated that masks are ineffective…What made him change his mind in 2020?