Are face masks effective in combating COVID-19?

Are face masks effective in combating COVID-19?

by G

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As the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continues to change, governments all around the world create their own policies regarding the prevention of the novel coronavirus, such as social distancing and the controversial mask wearing. In some cases, you [1] or your business [2] can be fined for not obeying the law or even arrested [2], but what do government guides and the mainstream media have to say about this?

The guidance published by the U.K. government claims that only ‘symptomatic individuals’ should weak masks in order to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus and that ‘the best way to reduce any risk of infection is good hygiene and avoiding direct and close contact with any potentially infected person’ [3]. Additionally, the official U.K. ‘working safely during coronavirus’ guidance states that ‘the evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not developed symptoms’ and that ‘it is important to know that the evidence of the benefit of using a face covering to protect others is weak and the effect is likely to be small, therefore face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk, including minimising time spent in contact, using fixed teams and partnering for close-up work, and increasing hand and surface washing’ [4].

Moreover, the situation is not any different in the U.S. either. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) says that it ‘does not recommend that the general public wear N95 respirators to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including coronavirus (COVID-19)’ [6] and therefore ‘the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus’. This, however, is supported by numerous sources, such as the California Department of Industrial Relations (Division of Occupational Safety & Health Publications Unit): ”Cloth face coverings do not protect against COVID -19” [8], the California Department of Health: “There is limited evidence to suggest that use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission.” [9], the Neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock: ”There is no scientific evidence that masks are effective. If you are not sick, you should not wear a face mask.” [10], US Surgeon General Jerome Adams: ”Masks are not effective in preventing the general public from catching coronavirus.” [11] and even Dr. Anthony Fauci: “People should not be walking around wearing masks. Masks do not provide the protection people think they do.” [12]

Other sources that backed up the ineffectiveness of masks are the World Health Organization: ‘face masks do not stop healthy people from catching coronavirus and should only be worn by healthcare workers and patients’ [5] and the New England Journal of Medicine: “We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection.” [7].

On the other hand, covering your face comes with certain drawbacks, including reducing the ‘intake of oxygen, leading to carbon dioxide toxicity’ [13], an increased risk ‘if users reduce their use of strong defenses’ [9], taking away information ‘that makes it especially difficult for children to recognize others and read emotional signals’ [14], having an opposite effect ‘in the misuse of wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly’ [15] and oxygen deficiency caused by a rise in carbon dioxide [16].

Taking everything into account, scientific evidence suggests that masks are not very effective in combating COVID-19, so imposing strict rules is an exaggerated move from governments and punishments for not complying could be considered tyrannical.

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[1]https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11785666/face-mask-uk-fine-transport/

[2]https://globalnews.ca/news/7193253/coronavirus-quebec-mandatory-mask/

[3]https://metro.co.uk/2020/02/27/protect-coronavirus-dont-wear-face-masks-12312127/

[4]https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/labs-and-research-facilities

[5]https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8199959/Face-masks-NOT-stop-healthy-people-catching-coronavirus-says.html

[6]https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/personal-protective-equipment-infection-control/n95-respirators-surgical-masks-and-face-masks#s1

[7]https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2006372

[8]https://dir.ca.gov/dosh/coronavirus/COVID-19-Infection-Prevention-in-Logistics.pdf

[9]https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Face-Coverings-Guidance.aspx

[10]https://www.technocracy.news/blaylock-face-masks-pose-serious-risks-to-the-healthy/

[11]https://twitter.com/Surgeon_General/status/1233725785283932160

[12]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOeVkg9P-R8

[13]https://www.thehealthyamerican.org/masks-dont-work

[14]https://www.cugmhp.org/five-on-friday/why-a-mask-is-not-just-a-mask/

[15]https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/30/world/coronavirus-who-masks-recommendation-trnd/index.html

[16]https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/shipyard/shiprepair/confinedspace/oxygendeficient.html

Additional sources:

1. https://ho1.us/2020/05/masks-dont-work/

2. https://aapsonline.org/mask-facts/

3. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/j.1750-2659.2011.00198.x

4. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/t0131-2019-novel-coronavirus.html

5. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/infectioncontrol/maskguidance.htm

6. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/331693/WHO-2019-nCov-IPC_Masks-2020.3-eng.pdf