With mask usage becoming an increasingly polarized debate, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams encouraged mask usage but spoke out against making them mandatory due to concerns that it could lead to rebellion.23
In my interview with Denis Rancourt, Ph.D., a former full professor of physics, and a researcher with the Ontario Civil Liberties Association in Canada, we also discussed the controversial topic of masks. Rancourt did a thorough study of the scientific literature on masks, concentrating on evidence showing masks can reduce infection risk, especially viral respiratory diseases.
If there was any significant advantage to wearing a mask to reduce infection risk to either the wearer or others in the vicinity, then it would have been detected in at least one of these trials, yet there’s no sign of such a benefit. He said in our interview:
“It makes no difference if everybody in your team is wearing a mask; it makes no difference if one is and others aren’t. Wearing a mask or being in an environment where masks are being worn or not worn, there’s no difference in terms of your risk of being infected by the viral respiratory disease.
There’s no reduction, period. There are no exceptions. All the studies that have been tabulated, looked at, published, I was not able to find any exceptions, if you constrain yourself to verified outcomes.”
This is another area where Sweden has stayed ahead of the curve, as they’ve resisted asking the public to wear masks based on lack of evidence of effectiveness and the risk that they offer wearers a false sense of security. Tegnell did state that officials are considering whether to recommend masks during use of public transportation, but stressed masks “definitely won’t become an optimal solution in any way.”
Unknown Aspects of Mask Wearing
Many potential harms may arise from broad public policies to wear masks, and the following unanswered questions arise:
- Do used and loaded masks become sources of enhanced transmission, for the wearer and others? – full of spittle, snot and moist with bacteria
- Do masks become collectors and retainers of pathogens that the mask wearer would otherwise avoid when breathing without a mask? – Could that defeat the whole purpose?
- Are large droplets captured by a mask atomized or aerolized into breathable components? Can virions escape an evaporating droplet stuck to a mask fiber? – yes, the nano size of any virus can easily escape.
- What are the dangers of bacterial growth on a used and loaded mask? – what do bacteria love?
- How do pathogen-laden droplets interact with environmental dust and aerosols captured on the mask? – could they attached to dust and spread further?
- What are long-term health effects on HCW, such as headaches, arising from impeded breathing? – lack of O2 is an obvious source of potential health issues – why do nurses always check this first when you have respiratory symptoms?
- Are there negative social consequences to a masked society? – US vs Them?
- Are there negative psychological consequences to wearing a mask, as a fear-based behavioural modification? – anecdotally so far yes
- What are the environmental consequences of mask manufacturing and disposal? – where are the greenies on this – silent as usual?
- Do the masks shed fibers or substances that are harmful when inhaled? – HMM cheap manufactured masks could have unexpected results?
By making mask-wearing recommendations and policies for the general public, or by expressly condoning the practice, governments have both ignored the scientific evidence and done the opposite of following the precautionary principle.
In an absence of knowledge, governments should not make policies that have a hypothetical potential to cause harm. The government has an onus barrier before it instigates a broad social-engineering intervention, or allows corporations to exploit fear-based sentiments.
Furthermore, individuals should know that there is no known benefit arising from wearing a mask in a viral respiratory illness epidemic, and that scientific studies have shown that any benefit must be residually small, compared to other and determinative factors.
Otherwise, what is the point of publicly funded science?