Since the beginning of this virus, we would all agree that there has been an inordinate amount of misinformation about facts vs. fiction. The reason I have always written these newsletters is to give you the facts based on clinical research and make a clear distinction between that and my opinions.
Why do we wear face masks in healthcare?
The CDC in its own words said, “Disposable medical masks (surgical masks) were designed to be worn by medical personnel to protect accidental contamination of patient wounds, and protect the wearer against splashes or sprays of bodily fluids.” Surgical masks which are used in health settings like surgery are not meant to prevent viral infections. They are only meant to prevent the spread of BACTERIAL infections. Bacteria are substantially larger than viruses. For example, Escherichia Coli (bacteria) is 45 times larger in size than the hepatitis virus.
Don’t healthcare workers use masks for the flu?
In October of 2019, Medical Xpress reported on frequently quoted randomized trial published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 2009;302(17):1865-1871). The study stated that surgical masks were as effective as N95 masks at preventing influenza. The article, however stated that “of the 446 nurses who took part in the study, nearly one in four (24%) in the surgical mask group still got the flu as did 23% of those who wore the N95 respirator. And, because both groups wore masks, it’s impossible to say how they would have fared compared with not wearing a mask at all. Basically, there is no strong evidence to support well people wearing surgical masks in public.”
In September 2018, The Ontario Nurses Association won its second of two grievances filed against the Toronto Academic Health Science Network’s “vaccinate or mask” against the flu policy. They called in expert witnesses, including Toronto infection control expert Dr. Michael Gardam, Quebec epidemiologist Dr. Gaston De Serres, and Dr. Lisa Brosseau, an American expert on masks. They all testified that there was absolutely no evidence that forcing nurses to wear masks during the flu season did anything to prevent transmission in hospitals.
What does the CDC say about masks?
The CDC’s own journal in May 2020 reviewed the “evidence based on the effectiveness of nonpharmaceutical personal protective measures.” Their findings in Emerging Infectious Diseases pages 970-972-
“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.”
“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.”
What about the WHO?
On June 5, 2020, this is their statement:
“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.”
What does Dr. Anthony Fauci say?
There may not be a more controversial person on the subject of this virus than Dr. Fauci (although President Trump might give him a run for his money). I have a lot to say about both of them, and I will give you my opinion in the coming newsletters about how they handled America’s response to Covid-19. In mid-February, he was asked about decreasing the spread and death rate of Sars-Cov-2 through the use of wearing masks:
“If you look at the masks that you buy in a drug store, the leakage around that doesn’t really do much to protect you. People start saying, ‘Should I start wearing a mask?’ Now, in the United States, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to wear a mask.”
On March 8th, he was on 60 Minutes:
“Right now, in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks. There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask may make people feel a little bit better, and it might even stop a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is.”
By mid-June, he did a 180 degree turn and urged everyone to wear a mask. I just gave you the research and statements from both the CDC (May 2020) and the WHO (June 2020). Why would he then completely reverse course and contradict the very organizations he had espoused with absolutely no new scientific information? Is it any wonder that everyone is so confused? When asked about his flip-flop, he said that he was initially afraid of a run on hospital masks that might create a shortage of them in hospitals. The problem with his statement is he knows that these two supply chains are different. The general public cannot buy personal protective equipment from medical distributors. On such an important issue, it is imperative that he tells the truth because there are certain segments of our population that will never believe anything that comes out of his mouth again. We deserve more than that as Americans.
Part Two of the newsletter will deal with the overwhelming empirical evidence with references, the controversy with the paper from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, why size matters, and whether or not using a mask actually harms you.