“Gold Standard” Analysis Claims Face Masks “Didn’t Have Any Effect” on Covid Infection!
According to one of the most comprehensive meta-analyses of face masks, masks had “little or no effect” on Covid infection or death rates.
A study by the Cochrane Institute, the gold standard for evidence-based reviews, reviewed 78 global studies involving more than 1 million people.
The results showed that surgical masks reduced the risk of contracting “Covid or any other flu-like illness” by only five percent – a figure very low and may not be statistically significant.
The researchers said the harms caused by masks, including disrupting children’s education, were poorly measured in studies, meaning that any small benefit to infection rates could outweigh that.
Professor François Palou, professor of computational biology at University College London, who was not involved in the analysis, said the benefits of wearing masks were “small at best”.
While masks were originally seen as a virus prevention measure, they have become a prominent symbol of the “Covid” culture wars in the United States.
Officials released conflicting reports about its effectiveness early in the pandemic. Subsequent studies failed to prove that masks prevented infection with the Covid virus, but millions of Americans were forced to wear them.
Some of the researchers contributing to the Cochrane Review had previously analyzed mask data in November 2020.
This review has been criticized for not including any research on the Covid pandemic due to limited research at the time.
And a separate Danish study conducted in the spring of 2020 with more than 6,000 people found that wearing a mask made no statistical difference on whether people contracted Covid or not. But its researchers struggled to find a well-known journal willing to publish the results.
The Cochrane researchers have updated their review with 11 additional studies involving more than 600,000 people, bringing the total number of studies to 78. The analysis was published this week in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
Some of the additional studies looked at Covid, while others were done before the pandemic and looked at influenza and other respiratory illnesses.
The COVID-19 trials included two trials in Mexico and one each in England, Norway and Bangladesh, as well as a Danish study.
The researchers only added randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that looked at the effects of physical interventions on disease protection, including mask wearing. RCTs are an ideal way to prevent systemic differences among participants from affecting outcomes. In randomized controlled trials, masks and controls are randomly selected from the same eligible population.
The main outcomes measured by the Cochrane researchers were the number of cases of ILI and COVID-19, and any adverse events resulting from the intervention.
Cochrane researchers calculated risk ratios for wearing masks.
A value less than one indicates that the intervention improved the outcome, while a value greater than one indicates that it worsened it. The closer the value of the risk coefficient is to one, the less effective it is.
The researchers noted a high risk of bias in the studies and “relatively low adherence to interventions”, making it difficult to draw firm conclusions.
To compare the effects of masks on preventing the spread of Covid and the flu, Cochrane researchers looked at 12 trials – two in healthcare workers and 10 in the general population.
They found that in society, wearing a face mask reduces the risk of contracting the flu or a Covid-like illness by five percent.
The study found that the risk of testing positive actually increases by one percent if you wear a mask, but the difference is too small to be sure.
The team said the two findings are “indicative of moderate confidence.”
They also looked at the effect of high quality masks such as N95 compared to standard surgical masks, but were less confident about their effect.
And the CDC only recommended that people wear N95 two years after the start of the pandemic.
This part of the analysis looked at five studies—four in health care workers and one in families—with a total of 16,000 participants.
They found that wearing a mask reduced the chance of clinical respiratory illness by 30%.
N95 masks are more uncomfortable than surgical masks due to their thicker material and snug fit.
Nurses who wore them for extended periods during the pandemic have reported cuts and scars on their faces.
But it also makes them more effective at preventing infection than conventional surgical masks, which are so porous that they block the passage of microscopic viral particles.
The CDC website currently states that masks can help protect the wearer and others from COVID-19.
The agency continues to recommend that Americans wear masks in places with high transmission rates, such as on public transportation.
Critics of the masks argue that they interfere with communication, as well as the growth and performance of children in school.
The increase in RSV and flu cases this winter is partly due to the need to wear face masks because they prevent children from developing natural immunity against other diseases.
Source: Daily Mail
You must log in to post a comment.