A thread on efficacy concerns for masks to control the spread of viruses. Is the "science settled" or is there reason for skepticism? I'm no expert, so I'll let them do the talking. First, let's lay out what our media and officials were telling us about masks from the start... /1
Here's a Good Morning America segment from February discussing the "Face Mask Hysteria" which includes experts saying things like "Anyone who does not have a respiratory illness...should not be wearing any type of mask". /2
Here we have Fauci downplaying the effectiveness of masks earlier this year. Of course, he recently said an NPR story that the "surges we're seeing now are partly the result of too few people wearing masks". Was he lying then or now? /3
Here's the surgeon general telling you they are not effective for the general public. [Note the irony of the newer profile picture] /4
Here's a quote from the executive director of the WHO health emergencies program stating how "there is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any potential benefit." /5

Here is a Reuters article from March in which the CDC admitted they had no data on the efficacy of masks with this virus. /6

So, what data is there? Well, research seems to be muddy on the subject (to say the least). But one thing is for sure: the science is NOT settled and there is reason to doubt the efficacy of mandatory masking of the populace. Let's take a look at some articles.../7
From the New England Journal of Medicine: "wearing a mask outside of health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection". It even goes so far as to say that focusing on universal masking alone could lead to more transmission. /8

This excerpt from an article entitled "Standard Surgical Masks Do Not Protect Wearer From Getting Swine Flu" discusses here the role of a surgical mask. It's not viral protection and calls them "essentially worthless" for such functions. /9

Here's another article noting the "poor results" of surgical masks. /10

This article reviews a mix of studies; among items noted were 3 randomized controlled trials that found surgical masks "did not prevent surgical infection". The article later notes a conclusion that "masks should be considered the LAST line of defense"/11

There seems to be some more optimism for n95 masks, but surgical masks consistently get poor reviews in studies (homemade masks are rated even lower where you see them commented upon). /12

But there is even concern of n95 capability to keep viruses at bay due to the fact that n95's can only filter as low as .3 microns, whereas viruses are around .1 microns or less in size. Not to mention leakages around the mask. /13

Okay, but wearing masks is better than nothing right? Well...masks are generally used improperly by the public. Poorly fitted, touching face more, used longer than they should, not cleaned often enough, dampness can harbor bacteria, etc. But there are other potential concerns./14
To help keep viruses at bay, you want to have a strong immune system. However, masks put you in an oxygen depleted environment below safe levels. /15 https://twitter.com/catgoggles/status/1275962425494421504
You can also find lots of articles discussing the "false sense of security" that masks give that undermine spreading prevention. This article states there is "little evidence" masks help, but there could be "high costs" to mask mandates. /16

We're also conducting a huge social experiment with our kids (who have a statistically 0% fatality rate) in which they are being separated from one another, risk being placed in oxygen depletion for entire school days, and could have emotional cue development impacted. /17
Facial recognition and emotion recognition development is extremely important for children. The effects of mandatory masks could be monumentally bad for their development. /18
You would think that if this were about diagnosing the problem correctly and prescribing the absolute best solution that all these concerns would be debated. Sadly, that is not the case. The politicians simply say to do this or else, aided by the media, ignoring all concerns. /20
All of this is coming at the topic from a purely pragmatic angle, but there are also ethical concerns regarding the removal of basic civil liberties. I won't address them here, but that doesn't diminish their importance. /22
We're not seeing calls for building up your immune system, we're seeing calls for compliance. We're not seeing discussion, we're seeing stifling and shaming of opposition.

So, I have to ask: is it about controlling the virus or about controlling YOU? /END
ALSO: if masks are so effective at preventing viral spread, why haven't we been using them every flu season? Experts advocating for mandatory masks have to explain why they weren't fighting for this long ago. That would be a lot of blood on their hands.
MOREOVER: A hidden cost to focusing all attention and energy on a non-solution is that, at best, it prevents you (or limits you) from seeking out REAL solutions to a problem. At worst, it leads to even larger scale problems.
Investing too much emotional, monetary, or intellectual capital in the wrong direction can also make it tough psychologically to back out of a poorly chosen path. This is a form of loss aversion known as the "sunk cost fallacy".

"The director of the public health department...from his own personal observation...could see the public was wearing their masks incorrectly, and that it could lead to more health risks than not, and a false sense of security."
- Mayor of Nevada City CA https://open.lbry.com/@The_HighWire_with_Del_Bigtree:4/CA-MAYOR-QUESTIONS-MASK-MANDATE!:8?r=EL4BVwV41CZaujBeypaM71dx7giqMH5M
Conclusion from a comprehensive WHO report released in 2019 entitled "Non-pharmaceutical public health measures for mitigating the risk and impact of epidemic and pandemic influenza". What has changed since last year?

Excellent video by @BenSwann_ looking at some conclusions from randomized control trials of masks (links to the studies he's citing are in following tweets). https://open.lbry.com/@Truth_Comes_to_Light:6/Why-Face-Masks-DON'T-Work,-According-To-SCIENCE:8?r=EL4BVwV41CZaujBeypaM71dx7giqMH5M
RANDOMIZED CONTROL STUDY: "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."

RCT STUDY: "The use of N95 respirators compared with surgical masks is not associated with a lower risk of laboratory-confirmed influenza. It suggests that N95 respirators should not be recommended for general public and non high-risk medical staff..."

RCT STUDIES: "Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza."

CLOTH MASKS STUDY: "The rates of all infection outcomes were highest in the cloth mask arm...Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection...cloth masks should not be recommended..."

"It is known that the N95 mask, if worn for hours, can reduce blood oxygenation as much as 20%, which can lead to a loss of consciousness... The importance of these findings is that a drop in oxygen levels...is associated with an impairment in immunity."

Lengthy video, but worth the time if you're interested in learning from people who train doctors about masks and other PPE, w/ analysis of efficacy issues, potential dangers, how hospitals differ from other environments when it comes to PPE, and more. https://twitter.com/KristenMeghan/status/1281067620129783809
"Science" has been becoming just another arm of politics for awhile now, but 2020 feels like a tipping point. Henceforth, "science" will simply change with the direction of the political wind. https://mobile.twitter.com/TheRealMaradkel/status/1283658916493094912
Here is a thread in which I've cataloged items highlighting the crisis we're in when it comes to the integrity (or lack thereof) within science. https://mobile.twitter.com/catgoggles/status/1279294183669366785
Prior to Covid, in court proceedings, health care professionals in Ontario (backed with expert testimony) won in court AGAINST mandatory masking in hospitals. https://twitter.com/AlexBerenson/status/1291844622550016000
Australian TV reporting that wearing masks when you're not sick doesn't help, and even could be worse. Strange how science differs from one hemisphere to another.
"Lincoln Park police believe that the driver lost consciousness while behind the wheel Thursday from lack of oxygen and breathing in excessive carbon dioxide thanks to the mask." https://twitter.com/mamasmind/status/1293739732183244800
Another solid thread with many links to journal articles questioning the efficacy of masks. https://mobile.twitter.com/LenCabrera/status/1293980504765718530
The tide is starting to turn... https://twitter.com/RandPaul/status/1318257165153505283
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