Part 3 of this series was originally going to delve further into the harmful effects of wearing masks. However, I recently came upon a page at the CDC that makes misleading claims about the efficacy of masks for preventing what is known as "COVID-19". The evidence cited by the CDC is so atrocious, and its appraisal of non-supportive evidence so hypocritical, that I simply could not let it pass without comment.
This article, therefore, will return to the topic of mask efficacy. Or to be more precise, the accumulating evidence showing masks are ineffective for preventing influenza infection, be it with seasonal flu or the overblown farce known as COVID-19.
The Sleazy CDC Misleads Us. Again.
As I have detailed previously, the CDC is a thoroughly corrupt and dishonest vaccine enterprise that masquerades as a government agency. A sampling of the CDC's dishonesty can be found at this page, where it attempts to portray masks as effective and safe by shamelessly citing a cherry-picked selection of junk science.
It begins by citing a report of "a high-exposure event" in Springfield, Missouri last year in which 2 "symptomatically ill hair stylists interacted for an average of 15 minutes with each of 139 clients during an 8-day period", and allegedly "found that none of the 67 clients who subsequently consented to an interview and testing developed infection. The stylists and all clients universally wore masks in the salon as required by local ordinance and company policy at the time."
This study is near-meaningless. Of the 139 allegedly exposed clients, 72 (52%) refused to be interviewed and tested when contacted shortly after exposure. Among these 139 clients, the Greene County Health Department allegedly interviewed 104 (74.8%) by phone around a month after exposure. Everyone who was contacted claimed they wore a mask, but we don't know if this was true or simply an artefact of participants not wanting to risk a $100 fine - the then-penalty in Springfield for not wearing a mask.
The study was a retrospective epidemiological endeavour with no control group, so we have no information on outcomes for people who didn't wear masks. That's a critical flaw, in light of the higher quality evidence showing masks to be useless.
The second study cited by the CDC is similarly unconvincing. It's a study authored by Chinese researchers who wrote that, as of 21 February 2020, 399 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 181 families were reported in Beijing. Four families were excluded from the study because researchers were unable to determine whether there was "secondary transmission or co-exposure." A further 40 families were excluded as "they did not meet the study inclusion criteria," although the researchers do not give specific reasons. A further 13 families declined to be interviewed, leaving only 124 families for study.
The CDC is quick to point out that in this study, mask use before the index patient developed symptoms allegedly reduced secondary transmission within the households by 79%. Sounds impressive, until you read the study for yourself and realize the CDC is again doing what it does best: Fudging the facts.
The CDC is strangely silent on the observation that, when the results were reanalyzed to account for other potential confounding risk factors, mask wearing was ineffective for preventing transmission after symptom onset. The CDC would be well aware that the risk of transmission for influenza viruses, including the version rebranded as Sars-Cov-2, is highest among symptomatic patients.
Seeing as the CDC has no problem quoting data out of China, why doesn't it mention the data from Zhejiang Province showing COVID "transmission potential was greatest in the first 2 days before and 3 days after onset of symptoms in the index patient"?
It could also mention the analysis of Cevik et al, who found eight of 13 studies evaluating SARS-CoV-2 viral load in the upper respiratory tract indicated peak viral loads within the first week of symptom onset. Five studies that evaluated viral load dynamics in lower respiratory tract samples observed a peak viral load in the second week of illness.
But the CDC doesn't.
The rest of the CDC's evidence for mask wearing is similarly laughable. The CDC cites a bunch of studies involving confounder-prone and easily manipulated epidemiological studies as proof that mask wearing is effective. Many of these were retrospective analyses, so were susceptible to recall bias. Not only were participants susceptible to the please-the-researcher effect, but they were also answering the surveys in an environment in which mask-wearing was not only portrayed as a virtuous endeavour, but often the subject of legal mandates.
We all know randomized clinical trials are a far higher quality form of evidence than confounder-prone epidemiological slop, but the CDC has little to say about RCTs. The sole exception is to attack the DANMASK trial and a Vietnamese hospital trial which, of course, failed to show any meaningful benefit for mask wearing.
These two studies have been "improperly characterized by some sources as showing that surgical or cloth masks offer no benefit," claims the CDC.
Findings were inconclusive in DANMASK, claims the CDC, "most likely because the actual reduction in infections was lower."
That's the CDC's way of grudgingly admitting DANMASK found no meaningful difference in infection rates between those randomized to masks or not.
"The study was too small," continues the CDC, "to assess whether masks could decrease transmission from wearers to others (source control)."
So a clinical trial with 4,862 participants who completed a month of follow-up is "too small" according to the CDC, but poorly controlled, retrospective epidemiological studies involving 67 hair salon clients or 124 Chinese families are acceptable “real-world” evidence for the effectiveness of masks?
Did I ever mention what a corrupt, industry-funded farce the CDC is?
The Politically Inconvenient Findings of DANMASK
In the DANMASK trial, participants randomized to the mask group received 50 three-layer, disposable, surgical face masks with ear loops. In other words, the same kind of face nappies we're all being encouraged to wear.
They also received materials and instructions for collecting an oropharyngeal/nasal swab sample for PCR testing at 1 month and whenever symptoms compatible with COVID-19 occurred during follow-up. Participants also tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in blood using a Lateral Flow test.
Written instructions and instructional videos guided antibody testing, oropharyngeal/nasal swabbing, and proper use of masks, and a help line was available to participants. Mask participants were also instructed to change the mask if outside the home for more than 8 hours.
The study was sponsored by the The Salling foundations, part of the Salling Group, which is Denmark's largest retailer. The lateral flow test kits were donated by the BESTSELLER Foundation, a private foundation funded by fashion group BESTSELLER.
Not a Gates, Soros or Omidyar was to be seen anywhere among the funders. Nonetheless, you can bet your last penny that if DANMASK found a noticeable reduction in infection rates among those assigned to wear masks, the CDC and others would enthusiastically cite it as an example of a thorough, well-controlled study supporting the use of masks.
But, of course, that's not what happened.
The primary outcome in DANMASK was SARS-CoV-2 infection, defined as a positive result on an oropharyngeal/nasal swab test for SARS-CoV-2, development of a positive SARS-CoV-2 antibody test result (IgM or IgG) during the study period, or a hospital-based diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19.
Of those originally randomized into the trial, 4,862 participants (80.7%) completed the 1-month study. The primary outcome occurred in 42 participants (1.8%) in the mask group and 53 (2.1%) in the control group.
46% of participants wore the mask as recommended, 47% predominantly as recommended, and 7% not as recommended.
When the researchers performed a post hoc analysis featuring participants who reported wearing face masks “exactly as instructed,” the primary outcome occurred in 22 participants (2.0%) in the face mask group and 53 (2.1%) in the control.
The researchers also performed secondary analyses looking at the occurrence of other infections. In the mask group, 9 participants (0.5%) were positive for 1 or more of the 11 respiratory viruses other than SARS-CoV-2, compared with 11 participants (0.6%) in the control group.
A total of 52 participants in the mask group and 39 control participants reported COVID-19 in their household. Of these, 2 participants in the face mask group and 1 in the control group developed SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Not only were all these differences miniscule, none of them even came close to approaching statistical significance.
Face masks, in other words, were a fail in preventing the disease called COVID-19.
With such small infection rates, the trial also reaffirmed that COVID-19 is a massively overblown wank.
The researchers were no doubt aware their findings would come under attack, for no other reason than they did not conform to the current politically correct COVID consensus. Perhaps feeling the pressure to come up with something resembling a favourable result for masks, they performed an additional post hoc analysis, which investigated various combinations of patient characteristics. Yet they still "did not find a subgroup where face masks were effective at conventional levels of statistical significance."
The researchers wrote, "Although no statistically significant difference in SARS-CoV-2 incidence was observed, the 95% [confidence intervals] are compatible with a possible 46% reduction to 23% increase in infection among mask wearers."
DANMASK Gets Attacked by the Usual Suspects
Predictably, the DANMASK findings did come under attack. The CDC, as we have seen, criticized the trial for being too small - while simultaneously citing tiny junk-grade studies as evidence for the efficacy of masks.
Typical of the pathetic attempts to dismiss DANMASK were the inane ramblings of FactCheck.org, owned by the heavily left-leaning Annenberg Foundation, itself the recipient of grants from the intensely pro-vaccine Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
DANMASK, opined FactCheck.org's Jessica McDonald, "was conducted at a time when Danish authorities were not recommending masks to the general public, so most people both groups would encounter were not likely to be masked."
The BMJ's executive editor, Kamran Abbasi, also complained that DANMASK occurred in "a population where mask wearing isn’t mandatory and prevalence of infection is low."
Masks are supposed to protect one from infection with airborne viruses. Blaming the failure of masks on those who don't wear masks is every bit a stupid as blaming the failure of vaccines on the unvaccinated.
If someone with loose bowels takes a medication to prevent diarrhea but still ends up shitting their pants, is that the fault of people who did not take the medication?
I mean, seriously?
If someone wearing a seatbelt dies in a car accident, is that because the seatbelt did not provide sufficient protection in the face of the impact, or was perhaps faulty? Or is it because other drivers in nearby cars were not wearing seatbelts?
If you go out mountain biking with a friend, and he goes ass up and sustains a concussion despite wearing a helmet, is that your fault for not wearing a helmet?
These are not trick questions, folks.
To infer masks are only effective when everyone wears them is an absurdity. A mask is a mask is a mask. It is a physical entity that does not magically change shape, form or filtration capabilities based on the number of people in the community who are wearing masks.
Like Abbasi, McDonald says that Denmark had a low infection rate at the time of the study, and that this may have impacted the ability of the study to detect a difference in infection rates. Laughably, she cites Frieden and colleagues, who "suggested that the antibody tests used to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection could have led to a fair number of false positives, especially given the low prevalence of the coronavirus at the time. Even with those false positives evenly distributed between the two groups, that would have biased the result to be negative."
No, what it would have emphatically showed is that Sars-Cov-2 and the disease it allegedly produces, COVID-19, are even more of an overhyped farce than the results already demonstrate. The rates of infection were already very low, and if the test results had a high rate of false positives (as has been repeatedly shown for PCR testing), then this is simply more proof that people need to get a grip, wake the hell up, and stop cowering in fear over what all available evidence shows is nothing but another flu. I have already addressed why much of what is being called COVID-19 is no such thing and why the death toll has been absurdly exaggerated.
Was DANMASK a perfect study, without possible flaw? Of course not. Every study, if you nitpick enough, has potential flaws.
But it's very interesting to witness how so many mainstream entities attacked DANMASK on such flimsy grounds, yet bent over backwards to praise the absolutely atrocious Bangladesh Mask Study.
The Bangladesh Mask Study was promoted as a randomized clinical trial, but in reality it was a glorified ecological study that contained so many flaws, you could fill a book. I somehow managed to summarize this garbage study in just a single article back in October.
Despite the atrocious quality of the Bangladesh study, fakestream media outlets like US News greeted it with headlines such as "Huge Study Shows Masks Do Indeed Limit Coronavirus Spread."
What a load of toro turd.
All the Bangladesh study showed is that a lot of researchers should be reassigned to flipping burgers, waste removal or stacking supermarket shelves, because they are wholly unsuited to conducting anything resembling sound science.
As I recounted in my October article, the study was a haphazard mishmash of endpoints, was poorly conducted, and suffered poor compliance. The randomization process was a complete joke and the COVID status of the participants at baseline was completely unknown.
There were no differences in infection rates between mask-wearers and the mask-free. Even using the relative risk ruse, the best results the researchers could come up with were a "relative risk reduction" of 9.3% for masks overall, and 11.2% among those assigned to wear surgical masks. As I noted in October, relative risk reductions of 9.3% and 11.2% are pretty much non-results in a tightly controlled, blinded trial. In a non-blinded circus like the Bangladesh study, they are an absolute joke.
The Bangladesh mask study, by the way, was funded by GiveWell and Innovation for Poverty Action, which has a long list of "partners" that includes George Soros' Open Society Foundations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the heavily-left Omidyar Network, and a plethora of United Nations agencies.
The Vietnamese Hospitals Trial
The other trial the CDC flippantly dismisses was a study from Vietnam, published in 2015, in which healthcare workers from 74 hospital wards were invited to participate. After providing informed consent (remember that concept?), 1,607 participants were randomized by ward to three arms:
(1) medical masks at all times on every work shift for four consecutive weeks;
(2) cloth masks at all times on every shift, or;
(3) control arm.
In the control arm, "standard practice" was employed, meaning the participants were free to wear or not wear a mask as they saw fit. This was used as the control condition because the review board overseeing the study deemed it unethical to ask participants to not wear a mask.
This was what was known as a cluster trial, in which randomization occurred by ward rather than on an individual basis.
The laboratory results were blinded and laboratory testing was conducted in a blinded fashion but, as with any face mask study, the participants themselves were not blinded; even the dumbest person can usually tell if they are a wearing a mask or not.
The endpoints were clinical respiratory illness (CRI), influenza-like illness (ILI) and laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infection. The latter was determined by PCR testing for 17 respiratory viruses; as this was the pre-COVID era, Sars-Cov-2 was not among the viruses being tested for.
When the results were tallied and analyzed, they showed rates of CRI, ILI and lab-confirmed infections were lowest in the medical mask arm, followed by the control arm, and highest in the cloth mask arm.
Only the results for the cloth group were statistically significant when compared to the control group.
The possibility that cloth masks - the type often worn by the likes of Fauci, Biden, et al - are not only useless but counterproductive is a most inconvenient one, to say the least.
And so the CDC tries to rationalize the Vietnam study away.
"The study had a number of limitations including the lack of a true control (no mask) group for comparison," says the CDC.
As Abbasi and McDonald did with DANMASK, the CDC complains that "hospitalized patients and staff were not masked" in the Vietnam study.
The CDC also bemoans the fact that the study subjects were unblinded, "potentially biasing self-reporting of illness."
They criticize this study because the participants were unblinded, a truly redundant point if ever there was one. The reality is every mask study in the world suffers this same problem. Even in a world without mirrors, it would take one truly dumbass group of participants to not know whether they had been randomized to a mask group or not.
The CDC is happy to cite unblinded epidemiological slop in support of masks, but when a partially-blinded RCT fails to achieve impossible full-blinding, the hopelessly hypocritical CDC jumps on this as a flaw.
But if the participants' unblinded status did influence self-reporting of symptoms, the overwhelming odds are that this would have favored the mask groups. After all, in a world awash with pro-mask propaganda, participants in the mask group could well have been more likely to dismiss possible symptoms because, "hey, I'm wearing a protective mask!"
As for the "lack of a true control (no mask) group," we already know the researchers were unable to demand the control group abstain from mask-wearing due to perceived ethical reasons. The researchers found 23.6% of control participants did wear a mask for more than 70% of working hours during the trial. The corresponding figures were 56.6% and 56.8% in the medical and cloth mask groups, respectively. While compliance was far from perfect in this study, there were still twice as many participants in the intervention groups who wore masks for the majority of their shifts compared to the control group.
As for the objection that "hospitalized patients and staff were not masked," I have already explained above why this is a patently stupid objection. The whole rationale behind masks is that they prevent both transmission and infection of the wearer. If they fail to prevent infection of the wearer, then they fail to prevent infection of the wearer.
The research also shows masks don't necessarily prevent transmission.
A major problem underlining the rationale behind mask use is that the diameter of viral particles is often smaller than the diameter of the pores in mask material.
N95 masks are considered, rightly or wrongly, to be of superior quality to the cloth and surgical masks commonly used by the masses. They are so named because 95% of particles with a diameter of >300 nanometers are filtered by the mask. Diameters as small as 60 nanometers have been reported for SARS-CoV-2 virions, but viral particles are typically carried as part of aerosols or droplets which collectively measure more than this.
Particle measurements from hospitals in Wuhan demonstrated that viable Sars-Cov-2 likely exists predominantly in particles with diameters between 250 nm and 500 nm.
Konda et al set out to examine the filtration capabilities of various mask materials under controlled laboratory conditions utilizing aerosols of various diameters. They simulated "no-gap" and "gap" conditions to account for the fact that, in the real world, masks are often worn with a less-than-optimal fit.
The results found that, with a literally perfect fit (the material was clamped and sealed to the PVC tube through which the air was passing), a N95 mask filtered an average 85% of particles under 300 nm diameter, and 99.9% over 300 nm.
However, under the more realistic "gap" condition (in which 2 small holes were pierced into the material to allow some air escape), a N95 mask filtered only 34% of particles under 300 nm diameter, and 76% of those over 300 nm.
In the no-gap condition, a surgical mask filtered 76% of particles under 300 nm diameter, and 99.6 of particles over 300 nm diameter. In the more realistic gap condition, however, a surgical mask averaged 50% filtration of particles under 300 nm diameter, and only 44% of those over 300 nm diameter.
Some of you might be thinking, "well, even 34% filtration of virus particles is better than nothing, right?"
Remember, this study was conducted under lab conditions, where the mask was sealed to the PVC pipe through which the particle-containing air was being blown. Even in the "gap" condition, where 2 small holes were pierced into the material, the edges of the mask were still clamped around the pipe.
In real life, there is nothing clamping the edges of a mask to your face. Even with a snug fit, exhaled air that would otherwise have flowed forwards instead escapes around the edges of the mask.
Melbourne anaesthetist and medical educator Dr Babak Amin clearly demonstrates this effect in the video below. He dons a cloth mask, inhales non-nicotine vapour, pulls the mask down over his mouth and chin, and then exhales. As he does so, you can see the vapour escaping around the edges of the mask in abundance.
He then repeats the procedure with a surgical mask. The exact same thing happens. The vapour escapes and proceeds to float all around the room. He does not need to cough or sneeze, or even exhale forcefully, to achieve this effect.
So despite what the CDC would have you believe, masks are a deeply and inherently flawed method for prevention of influenza infection and transmission.
I'm Going to Wash that Filth Right Out of My Mask!
Of the Vietnam study, the CDC notes "A follow up study in 2020 found that healthcare workers whose cloth masks were laundered by the hospital were protected equally as well as those that wore medical masks."
The researchers in Vietnam did indeed conduct a subsequent analysis, using previously unpublished data, comparing the rate of infection among those who self-washed their cloth masks by hand (77%) versus those who utilized hospital laundry service (13%). The researchers found both cloth and medical masks were contaminated after use, but only cloth masks were reused in the study. The researchers found double the risk of infection with seasonal respiratory viruses if masks were self-washed by hand. Those who had their cloth masks washed in the hospital laundry had a similar rate of infection to those who wore medical masks.
But that hardly spells salvation for masks, as the difference between the control and medical mask groups in the original study was not significant.
Also, for the CDC to point to the washed results and triumphantly snort "see!" ignores real world conditions. Re-use of both cloth and disposable masks is common in the real world, as many people don't seem to appreciate the (disgusting) contamination that can result. The average person does not have a hospital laundry service at their disposal, and hence may not have the means or motivation to wash their masks on a daily basis.
Ignoring Its Own Evidence
For an outfit that seems to prefer retrospective epidemiological evidence over RCT data, it's interesting to observe how the CDC blissfully ignores just such a paper from the 11 September 2020 issue of its own Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
That study compared 154 “case-patients” who tested positive for COVID-19 around the US in July 2020 to a control group of 160 participants from the same health care facilities who were symptomatic but tested negative.
If masks were as effective as the CDC wants us to believe, then the infection-free controls would have evinced a far higher rate of mask use.
But that is not what happened.
Over 70 percent of the case-patients tested positive despite “always” wearing a mask.
"In the 14 days before illness onset, 71% of case-patients and 74% of control participants reported always using cloth face coverings or other mask types when in public," the report stated.
Only 3.9% of those who became infected reported "never" wearing a mask. A similar number of control subjects reported never wearing a mask (3.1%).
In that study, like so many others, wearing a mask made no difference in infection rates.
So the CDC ignored it.
When a quality clinical trial fails to find any benefit for masks, COVID propagandists attack it on the most inane of grounds.
This is despite the fact that DANMASK findings were in line with the results of other clinical trials examining the effect of masks on airborne influenza infection rates.
But when an act of scientific vandalism like the appalling Bangladesh Mask Study fails to find any difference, the spin cycle is turned to maximum setting and the pathetic results are repackaged as proof that masks do "Do Indeed Limit Coronavirus Spread."
The CDC attacks DANMASK, yet exalts low-quality epidemiological studies. A randomized trial with almost 5,000 participants is "too small," says the CDC, while simultaneously suggesting a piddling retrospective analysis of 67 hair salon patrons constitutes evidence of the "'real-world' effectiveness of community masking."
The CDC is an inherently dishonest organization and a major player in the COVID scam. It is lying when it says masks are effective, and it is also lying when it says "Research supports that mask wearing has no significant adverse health effects for wearers."
I'll return to the adverse effects of wearing useless face masks in the next instalment.
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