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As we’ve reported in the Trends Journal, from American media-anointed “leading infectious disease expert” Dr. Anthony Fauci to the New England Journal of Medicine; to the WHO, CDC, the California Health and Human Services Agency; and others… all have noted there is limited evidence that wearing cloth face masks in public reduces disease transmission.

In May, this appeared on the CDC website:

“Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene of face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza. We similarly found limited evidence on the effectiveness of improved hygiene and environmental cleaning. We identified several major knowledge gaps requiring further research, most fundamentally an improved characterization of the modes of person-to-person transmission.”

To reach these conclusions, the CDC “conducted systematic reviews to evaluate the effectiveness of personal protective measures on influenza virus transmission, including hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and face masks, and a systematic review of surface and object cleaning as an environmental measure.”

Bait and Switch

On 14 July, however, the CDC published an editorial on its website reversing its prior view, calling for public mask-wearing to prevent the spread of the virus.

Yet, unlike their previous findings, this time no proof was provided. Rather, the editorial noted,

“Others may think it is premature to promote community masking until research has been completed that measures the effectiveness of cloth face coverings to prevent exposure specifically to SARS-CoV-2.

Laboratory studies will be difficult and costly because they require capacity to safely manage this biosafety level 3 pathogen. Any type of community-based randomized trial will be complex to deploy in the right setting (a community with active infection) at the right time (when infections are increasing) to produce actionable results quickly.

In the absence of such data, it has been persuasively argued the precautionary principle be applied to promote community masking because there is little to lose and potentially much to be gained.”

Note the phrase, “In the absence of data.”

Two days later, on 16 July, this appeared on the CDC website:

  • CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Cloth face coverings may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others.
  • Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings.

We clicked on the link provided for “Emerging evidence.” Medical studies were noted, but there were no links provided to those studies.

TRENDPOST: In the 23 June Trends Journal, we reported the following:

Health advocate Peggy Hall analyzed the language in the seven research articles posted on the CDC website, which it claims supports wearing face masks. Ms. Hall first points out there are no links to the studies provided by the CDC. This raised her suspicion about the strength of the articles. When she found them online, not one clearly confirmed that wearing masks slows the spread, but, instead, they used language such as “more research is needed,” “requires further study,” “results are unclear” and “pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic transmission modes have not been definitely documented for COVID-19.”

Looking carefully at the data provided by the CDC as to why they reversed their decision on mask wearing, their basic position is that while unproven, mask wearing by the public should be mandated based on the premise, “better safe than sorry.”

But is extensive mask wearing safe?

As we reported in the 23 June Trends Journal, Board-certified neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock, in reviewing 17 scientific studies, found evidence that wearing a face mask for an extended period of time has shown to cause serious health problems, including:

  • a drop in oxygen levels (hypoxia),
  • a serious health issue called hypercapnia, the result of elevated carbon dioxide toxicity,
  • re-breathing germs and viruses already in the body, raising the concentration in lungs and nasal passages,
  • headaches, vertigo, double vision, inability to concentrate, tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing in the ears), seizures, or suffocation due to displacement of air.

Yet, despite these facts, two-faced “don’t wear masks, do wear masks” Fauci says, “There has not been any indication that putting a mask on and wearing a mask for a considerable period of time has any deleterious effects on oxygen exchange or anything like that. Not at all.”

The website Medical News Today sought an even-handed approach after analyzing both sides of the mask-wearing issue. While it noted no evidence that extensive mask wearing caused serious health issues, there were health risks, especially if the wearer didn’t consistently wash the mask after each use:

  • “There is no evidence indicating that masks increase the wearer’s risk of developing pneumonia or other bacterial, viral, or fungal lung infections.
  • “The WHO acknowledge that if a person wears the same mask for a long time, microorganisms may grow on the fabric.”
  • “The CDC recommend that a person removes the face covering once they return home and washes it before using it again.” Note: How many of those people wearing masks all the time are washing them every day?

Dr. Andrew Pavia, Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Utah, stated on 2 April, “If [the mask] becomes wet, it becomes a good environment for the virus to persist, but does it really provide a net benefit? We really don’t know.”

As for conclusive evidence that extensive mask wearing helps stop the spread, Dr. Pavia added, “Nobody knows one way or another.”

TRENDPOST: Considering that wearing dirty masks can increase the risk of spreading disease, we would suggest wait staff, cooks, etc., sweating behind their masks that are rarely changed, washed, or sanitized during their work shift… are most likely more hazardous to themselves and patrons that not wearing one at all.

Confusion Reigns

The argument over the effectiveness of mask wearing continues, raising the level of anxiety around the U.S.

For example, last June, the governor of Nebraska said any local government in his state that mandated mask wearing in official state offices and courts would not get coronavirus funding. Yet, the mayor of Orange County, FL, which includes the city of Orlando, imposed an executive order requiring everyone in his district wear a mask in public.

Even in Europe, where most countries have seen a significant drop in deaths, on 15 July, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, citing what the Wall Street Journal referred to as a “slight pickup in the circulation of the coronavirus,” made mask wearing mandatory in all enclosed public spaces.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, after equivocating for months, and after one of his cabinet ministers, Michael Gove, clearly stated that wearing masks would be “good manners” but is not mandatory, nonetheless announced on 13 July that anyone in the U.K. who refused to wear a mask inside all shops and supermarkets would face a fine of £100 ($126).

Again, these mandates are not based on any clear scientific evidence that mask wearing has been effective at slowing down the spread of the coronavirus. In fact, they contradict previous studies.

As summarized on the website Medical News Today:

“Whether a person decides to follow public health advice and wear a mask is down to individual choice, at least in countries where wearing masks is not mandatory. This might never be a clear-cut topic, and there may be no resolution for those who prefer to consult a large body of well-conducted scientific studies to help them make their decisions.”

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