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Masks don’t work to stop the spread of an airborne virus. They never have and never will.
You can, if you are inclined to be dishonest, construct an argument that they can, but even without the ton of randomized controlled trials that prove that masks don’t work, I can dispel that argument in less than 5 minutes. Without needing to refer to any fancy studies.
All it takes is a bit of common sense.
It’s hard to see how anybody bought the argument–really an assertion–that cloth masks could possibly do anything at all. It is absurd on its face, and as I will show you they likely increased the spread of the virus.
Cloth mask can literally do nothing to stop the spread of an aerosolized virus. Hold a bandanna up to the light–remember when people were using bandannas as masks?–you can see a zillion holes in the cloth which are many thousands of times larger than a virus. Any virus that sticks to the mask will over time migrate from outside to inside for obvious reasons–you breathe in. These types of masks are breeding grounds for germs of all types, being warm and wet and fed by whatever you breathe out. It is simply insane to believe that these would do anything, yet public health officials claimed they provided some protection.
How about surgical masks? Forget the filtration of the mask itself–you breathe in and out almost exclusively through the holes around the mask itself. The mask limits the air flow a bit, making it harder to breathe, but does almost nothing to filter the air you actually do breathe. Do you think public health officials don’t know this? They have known it for decades.
Now consider how you use the masks. You put them on and take them off constantly, using hands that are rarely sanitized. The outside of the mask has collected samples of the virus while using it, and even if you sanitized your hands you are still handling a contaminated mask, likely contaminating the inside, and putting the virus particles right next to your nose.
What about N95s? Theoretically they could help, but even a 3% gap–allowing an intrusion of the outside air–makes them a little better for infiltration than no mask at all with particles this size. This is why the proper use of the masks requires taping them to the face, and incredibly tight fits. If you use an N95 properly your face will hurt.
And you have the same problem: you handle and reuse the mask often throughout the day. Few people change the mask after each use, making the protective effect drop to zero.
But even if you do everything right, reducing the chance of contracting the virus during any one use–a plausible scenario, perhaps–you will have to do everything right and get lucky EVERY SINGLE TIME you use a mask, which for mask fanatics has been tens of thousands of times over the pandemic.
So let’s say masks are 99.9% effective, meaning they protect you 999 times out of a thousand, you are going to get the virus almost certainly. Because of statistics. You might get lucky, but you probably won’t. Chances are huge that everybody has been exposed to the virus except people who live in bubbles or never go out; it’s just that there are a zillion cases that are asymptomatic.
You have an immune system and it often works without your even knowing it. Are there some people who beat the odds? There always are. But when pretty much every mask fanatic vax promoting public health official has gotten the virus, that should tell you everything you need to know.
See, no fancy statistics are needed. All you need to know is that the odds are stacked so highly against perfect compliance with near-perfect interventions over thousands of days. It will not happen. Ever.
That’s why the Cochrane study pointed out that compliance was probably one of the reasons masks don’t work. Even doctors reuse masks because the burden of doing everything perfectly many times a day for years on end is way too high. This is why even Biolabs have levels of protection–if they could protect themselves against 100% of viruses, even mild ones, without undue burden, then they would. Instead they balance risks vs rewards, and only go to near 100% protection when necessary. Because putting on a spacesuit is required to get there.
The above-linked article makes a long, statistics-filled case for why Cochrane did things wrong. Even were their argument compelling, they don’t touch upon the fact that no RCT has been done to test masks in the wild over time, because everybody but some fanatics actually can figure out that it’s hopeless.
That doesn’t mean it’s irrational for doctors to mask up in certain circumstances. Surgical masks provide modest splash protection and modest protection for patients in short stints. N95s provide some protection against each specific instance of exposure, but will fail over time with repeated exposures. They just will, in the real world, because in the real world, the exposure risk is constant. It’s relentless. It’s every surface, every breath, every time you touch your mask, your nose, your eyes…
So why are there so many mask fanatics, even among public health officials and doctors?
I think for most public health officials it was an attempt to “train” the public, to make people more likely to be compliant. That backfired, of course, but most of them knew the intervention was worthless.
A larger group of people want to have, need to have, or just have a preference for trusting authorities. Especially authorities with credentials. These people view scientists as priests and become their acolytes, as happens with many movements. It’s called scientism, and dissenters are heretics.
Then some ordinary people have just outsourced their decisions on such matters to others, and who better than “experts?” We all do this in areas of our life because it is impossible to make good judgments on every single thing and still live. We find people we trust and leave it at that.
Many of those folks have dropped away over time, feeling betrayed. As they should.
In any case, expect more attacks on the Cochrane study and other mask skeptics, and expect more mask mandates. It has long since become a political statement, and no amount of reason can penetrate once that happens.
There are still people who believe the Steele Dossier is real.