ARE CLOTH FACE MASKS PUTTING YOU AT RISK?
According to the BMJ, signs point to yes.
We are being told that we MUST wear masks to go anywhere.
We are being ordered.
In some cities and states, if we don't wear a mask, we risk being fined $1,000. Stores cannot let us in without a mask. Neighbors and customers are encouraged to snitch on each other if they witness anyone not complying.
When I see people wearing masks and flinching in fear when I dare to come anywhere near them, I am both amused and annoyed.
The media narrative from Day 1 was that cloth masks do nothing. And yet, we are required to wear a mask, even if it's a cloth one?
This is insanity.
The science doesn't even support cloth masks.
In fact, there are numerous studies showing that only are cloth masks useless in preventing the spread of infection, but they can actually make you sicker!
According to a 2015 study published in the British Medical Journal cloth masks allow 97% of particles to pass through, as opposed to 44% in "medical masks."
“The use of cloth masks is widespread around the world, particularly in countries at high-risk for emerging infections, but there have been no efficacy studies to underpin their use.”
- BMJ, 2015 -
So, you might say, "well, of course, a medical mask will perform better than a DIY cloth mask or a handkerchief, but it's still better than nothing, right?"
However, and this is big, the control group (which was told to wear masks as they normally would), only wear masks 23.6 of the time, leaving them totally unprotected for more than 3/4 of their shift.
And yet, the rate of infection was highest among the cloth mask wearers!
The study went on to say, "moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection."
The study concluded with the following recommendation:
“Cloth masks should not be recommended for Health Care Workers, particularly in high-risk situations, and guidelines need to be updated.”
- BMJ, 2015 -
As you can imagine, the government, which is desperately trying to control our every move (and is, for the large part, succeeding), this recommendation flies in the face of everything they've been telling us.
The U.S. Surgeon General even agreed with the BMJ in tweet dated February 29, 2020.
All of a sudden, the myth of the "asymptomatic carrier" surged global panic levels to high and Adams revised his recommendation, urging people to wear cloth masks when they can't "social distance."
However, his recommendation gave no evidence about how slapping a piece of t-shirt material over your face (which is what he did in the below video) does anything to protect you or anyone around you.
After likely pressure from political sources, the authors of the original study somewhat revised their stance in an article update that specifically addressed COVID-19.
While they still wouldn't outright recommend wearing cloth masks, they said that shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) has caused them to "downgrade their recommendations for healthcare workers."
So, last time I checked, you don't just willy nilly change the rules of science because of equipment shortages.
They then tried to justify the higher rates of infection among cloth mask wearers by saying the healthcare workers were not likely washing their hands, washing their masks, and that the masks were made of "poor quality" materials locally available.
Further, the updated article said:
“Wearing a masks is not enough to protect healthcare workers - use of gloves and goggles are also required as a minimum.”
- BMJ, 2020 -
Are we to assume that our next mandatory order will be to don gloves and goggles to brave the supermarket?
The data suggest that not only are cloth masks ineffective at preventing the spread of illness, they can also increase your risk of infection.
We need to stop accepting the waffling of the media and scientists on this matter.
Common sense tells us that covering the face and restricting the free flow of oxygen is not good for anyone! Unless you're a healthcare worker in a medical facility, no one should be required to wear a mask.
Wearing a mask should be a choice.
At the same time, we're stuck because, in many parts of the nation, masks are required. Until we file and win a class action lawsuit against the mask order, here are my suggestions:
BMJ Open: 30 March 2020
COVID-19, Shortages of Masks and the Use of Cloth Masks as a Last Resort