Statistics

I Bring You Glad Tidings! Three New Papers Prove (Again) You Can Take Them Off Without Worry

“Masks don’t work” is a proposition, like all propositions, that carries implicit definitions. In this case it means mask mandates don’t reduce the spread of respiratory diseases. It does not mean that a thick impenetrable rubber body suit with Jacques Cousteau-like air filtration and oxygen delivery system cannot slow infection rates.

This has to be said because there’s always some frightened ackhusally guy out there who believes he has found a loophole in the first proposition, and so can continue to demand all must wear flimsy paper, plastic, and cloth patches on their chins so as to quell ackshually’s fears.

Now that that’s out of the way, there are several more papers of interest, showing again what we have known for a century. Masks don’t work. Take them off and breathe free.

This is great news! Those who have been living in fear don’t need to. We can all take our masks off—all of us, the whole world over?

Surely this joyful news will be greeted everywhere with happiness.

Right?

CATO

The first is from, if you can believe it, the ruling class’s own Cato. “Evidence for Community Cloth Face Masking to Limit the Spread of SARS-CoV-2: A Critical Review” by Ian T. Liu, Vinay Prasad and Jonathan J. Darrow. Thanks to Stephen Shipman for the tip.

Opening paragraph:

Until April 2020, World Health Organization COVID-19 guidelines stated that “[c]loth (e.g. cotton or gauze) masks are not recommended under any circumstance,” which were updated in June 2020 to state that “the widespread use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not yet supported by high quality or direct scientific evidence.” In the surgical theater context, a Cochrane review found “no statistically significant difference in infection rates between the masked and unmasked group in any of the trials.” Another Cochrane review, of influenza-like-illness, found “low certainty evidence from nine trials (3507 participants) that wearing a mask may make little or no difference to the outcome of influenza- like illness (ILI) compared to not wearing a mask (risk ratio (RR) 0.99, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.82 to 1.18).”

If you updated these models to their predictive form, which all models should be to be taken seriously, those intervals would be even wider. Masks don’t work.

Just as we saw last week, with rulers saying “Of course vax mandates will never and should never happen” before they dictated them, we have the WHO (and the Fabulous Fauci, among others) saying don’t bother with masks, before they demanded them.

Ah, such is modern life. Everybody does their best to tell the truth, until they see it pays to lie, then off we go.

Liu also says (as you’ve heard me say a hundred times) “evidence of facemask efficacy is based primarily on observational studies that are subject to confounding and on mechanistic studies that rely on surrogate endpoints (such as droplet dispersion) as proxies for disease transmission.”

Whenever you see a proxy endpoint, get ready for the epidemiology fallacy to hit you smack in the kisser with a wee p-value. Phwabip!

The Cato paper goes on to review many of the other mask papers we reviewed (Denmark, Bangladesh), coming to similar or the same conclusions. Plus many, many, many (as in many) other studies.

Any evidence for masks? Well, only things like this:

A Cochrane meta-analysis of 7 of the above case-control studies conducted during the SARS-CoV-1 epidemic found that 39.4% (268/681) of cases reported mask wearing compared to 62.0% (1573/2535) of controls. 251 The authors concluded that “simple mask-wearing was highly effective (OR 0.32),” but also cautioned that 6 of the 7 studies had a medium or high risk of bias, and these 6 studies provided over 96% of the total number of cases and controls in the meta- analysis.

You have to laugh. But if you’re wearing a mask, it will sound like you’re gasping for air.

And they looked at papers like Alfelali et al. from 2019 (first in their Table 3), a “cluster randomized trial” from which they quote ““[A]llocation to facemask use was not associated with reduced laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections or clinical respiratory infections.”

All the way through Al-Asmary et al. (last in Table 3) from 2007: ““The common practice among pilgrims and medical personnel of using surgical facemasks to protect themselves against ARI [acute respiratory infections] should be discontinued.”

Read for yourself. On and on it went. Masks don’t work.

DIRTY OPERATIONS

“But Briggs, if masks don’t work, then why do surgeons ackshually wear them? Huh? Huh? You’ve been deboonked!”

Glad you asked. Let’s look at “Is a mask necessary in the operating theatre?” by Orr in the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. I quote the entire abstract:

No masks were worn in one operating theatre for 6 months. There was no increase in the incidence of wound infection.

The statistics are as reported. No difference after thousands of operations compared. From the discussion:

The effectiveness of a mask in reducing contamination varies with the mask’s shape, the materials of which it is made, and the way it is worn (io-ii). While it has been shown that facial movements behind a mask can increase wound contamination (I2), it has not been shown that wearing a mask makes very much difference to the contamination of the theatre environment (13) or that the number of airborne bacteria can in any way be correlated with wound infection (I4,I5).

We see the dangers of proxy end points here. What counts is whether the patient suffers from the surgeon’s lack of mask, and it’s not important what happens to some weird measure. Infections count, and they didn’t change.

“But Briggs, ackshually, wounds are infected by bacteria, not viruses. Gotcha!”

You mean viruses which are lighter and much smaller than bacteria, and which therefore go through and around masks much easier than bacteria, and bacteria aren’t causing infections from maskless surgeons, are proof that masks stop viruses?

Never mind. Don’t answer. It would depress me if you did.

THAT’S NO MAN

For fun, I end (today) with “Experimental investigation of indoor aerosol dispersion and accumulation in the context of COVID-19: Effects of masks and ventilation” in Physics of Fluids by Shah et al. From the Abstract:

The present study experimentally investigates the dispersion and build-up of an exhaled aerosol modeled with polydisperse microscopic particles (approximately 1?μm mean diameter) by a seated manikin in a relatively large indoor environment.

A seated whatdidtheysay?

Now this paper is just silly, the natural result of scientists wanting to get on the latest hot thing.

Even so, in their enormously ridiculous nothing-like-real-life artificial setting, they “discovered” this:

The results demonstrate that the apparent exhalation filtration efficiency is significantly lower than the ideal filtration efficiency of the mask material. Nevertheless, high-efficiency masks, such as the KN95, still offer substantially higher apparent filtration efficiencies (60% and 46% for R95 and KN95 masks, respectively) than the more commonly used cloth (10%) and surgical masks (12%), and therefore are still the recommended choice in mitigating airborne disease transmission indoors.

On immobile manikins with nicely fitted masks, the highest rate of filtration was a mere 60%, and next to zero for cloth and surgical masks.

It necessarily follows that in actual practice—ackshually, if you will—all masks will be worse, even much worse, if there is any movement or touching.

And since mask mandates can only specify “face covering”, they are useless, utterly useless, even in highly contrived settings.

You have to mummmfmmammmfammamm.

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Categories: Statistics

24 replies »

  1. One comment:
    The ruling class’s own Cato
    You’ll need to define ‘ruling class’ here
    Cato people may be part of the oligarch (Charles Koch)

    While their mission is to minimize the US role in foreign affairs, they do not advocate the opposite
    They’re ostensibly libertarian.

    According to Source Watch:
    The Cato Institute is an “associate” member of the State Policy Network, a web of right-wing “think tanks” in every state across the country. …
    Where ideology and science part company, Cato favors ideology, as shown by an advertisement published in newspapers in 2009 disputing the state of the science on climate change

    When I first heard of Cato Institute I couldn’t help but think of Kato Kaelin

  2. Mr Briggs…

    Do you have access to any data on the dangers of breathing in excess CO2…?

    Or of breathing in any manner of nasty bacteria that will accumulate on the masks…?

    Thank you sir, for your yeoman’s work on these issues…

  3. Careful now! You-know-who will be here soon yelling “PSUEDOSCIIIEEENNCCEEE!!!!” And asking whether these quack paper-writers are smarter than Isaac Newton. He is combing through Dr. Ian Liu’s published works right now looking for some pearl to clutch.

    Committed mask wearers are never going to stop. They need you to protect them. Your naked visage is an affront to their efforts. That’s the most important crime – that you aren’t dedicated to the State narrative like they are. You don’t believe like they do! Consensus matters! Democracy matters! Truth is determined by numbers! If you aren’t contributing to the numeral value, then you are actively undermining truth! Don’t you understand that we’re ALL in this together???

  4. Our local public health authority has a Facebook post this morning cheerfully reminding us of the requirement to wear masks, even if vaccinated, to “help control the spread of outbreaks.” I replied with a link to the Cato study. I’ll check the replies later today – I expect considerable faux outrage.

  5. Just like renewable energy has zip to do with energy, masks have zip to do with Covid. They are greed (very lucrative sales) and control. The good part is just like renewables, they are helping the oligarchs destroy the planet. No longer do sea turtles die from plastic straws. Now they suffocate under a mask and their food sources die out under the weight of all the littering.

    8-year-old-38-mask-related-suspensions-gets-roaring-applause-confronting-school-board Brave kid.

    I AM gasping for air behind a mask.

    I think surgeons wear the masks as a placebo for the benefit of the patient. Ask a person from the CDC to visit an ebola patient wearing just the mask. Suddenly, that mask means squat. Actions–always look at actions.

    My husband read a blog post where the writer was told he would have to be tested weekly since he was not vaccinated. The writer sent an email to HR, etc, stating that if unvaccinated people were a deadly threat, the company must furnish FITTED masks, full gear like the CDC uses, etc because they are failing to protect workers. To date, the writer has never been called in for testing. See–watch their actions.

  6. Litmus test for anyone who thinks that masks work. Go outside and stand within 15 feet of anyone who is smoking. If you can smell the smoke, it ain’t woking.

    1. Airborne influenza particles range: 0.35 to 9 microns.
    2. Actual size of Sars-Cov-2: 0.07 to 0.09 microns.
    3. Particles from a sneeze/cough: 0.125 to 20 microns.
    4. Bacteria particles: 0.3 to 10 microns.
    5. Median aerosolized cigarette smoke particle: 0.4 to 0.5 microns.

    N95 Mask: 95% of particles larger than 0.3 microns. Everything else (cloth masks, bandannas, scarves, etc) is just a joke.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7579175/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7447000/
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK53014/

  7. If only actual scientific evidence mattered to the scum in charge!

    But it’s not about actual public health or whether they really work for what they are supposed to. Never was. It’s about exerting power, controlling people, and instilling fear – and in that respect, masks work very well.

    Though most people in most settings I come across seem to have gotten over it by now and moved on, I still see way too many muzzled people – even kids – for comfort. Near half the population is so damaged by Covidiocy that they’re never coming back to – and their kids especially will be warped forever.

  8. Masks are like trying to stop a mosquito with a chain link fence, or screen door on a submarine, or an itsy bitsy bikini on Fifi LaBoomBoom, They are symbolism over substance, and what they symbolize is castration.

  9. The mask was always a visual sign, a mark that was there to remind people that something is lurking out there waiting to kill them. It was also a sign that those wanting not to wear a mask are your enemy and not apart of the herd…and must be attacked by all methods.

    Marks are a form of conditioning, and it works, now tell the sheeple they don’t need to wear masks outside anymore and many have continue to wear said mask, I still will lone drivers with masks on.

    The state have now demonstrated their power they may be so embolden by this demonstration that they go for broke, Wuhan Dan Andrews in Australia is one such tyrant going for broke.

  10. Surgeons wear masks to keep their spit out of the patient and the patient’s blood out of the surgeon. Yes, I’ve seen a patient’s arterial bleeding hit a surgeon in the face. Once. As shown, masks don’t do anything in terms of infection control. The scrub and the integrity of the gloves likely do matter there.

    If that report I saw, but sadly didn’t bookmark, is true that the minimum infectious dose is 300 virions; then no mask can possibly do anything when the circulating numbers are in the millions or more. A sealed, impervious suit with a sealed self-contained breathing apparatus could; but then there is the impracticality of that.

    This situation is about political control. It is not about sound medical practices nor about public health. There are 4 lights ;).

  11. The paper was published in 1981.

    “Swabs from discharging wounds are sent to the microbiologist for culture and antibiotic sensitivity testing. Wound infection in this series refers to wounds with a positive culture. … and only operations involving incisions have been considered.”

    Are you saying that wounds get infected by breathing in bacteria!? Am I missing something here?

    Spartacus of Cherry Picking.

  12. “The Tomb”. That’s funny.

    Now you’re living in “The Womb”.

    And the Womb is the Bomb!

  13. Where should the cradles of Science in our neighborhoods reside? Medical offices. Those should be the places where one can trust in a continued effort to stay up-to-date on the latest Scientific information related to our health.

    So imagine my (lack of) surprise to find that here in “open” Texas, Covid masking insanity still maintains control in doctor’s offices and hospitals. Even the dentists. Roll that around your head a moment!

    Every other business is free of mask requirement. Oh, the employees have to wear them for the most part, in order to not terrify the mask addicts, of which there is still aplenty. I just saw a young man walking down the street in the fresh air and sunshine yesterday, fully masked.

    Clown World.

  14. There are huge reader boards on the local interstates that, in the absence of an active amber alert, say “MASK UP! TOGETHER WE CAN END COVID”, which gives me a chuckle. The intersection of the group that still believes that masks work with the group that still believes that Covid will go away some day is probably about three people.

    Meanwhile, the story of horse paste:

    https://www.barnhardt.biz/2021/05/10/ivermectin-discovery-and-backstory-definitely-for-the-just-too-cool-file/

  15. Ok, that one i did click 😉

    I thought a court in FL upheld governor’s order eliminating all such school district mandates? Need stronger state action. Not enough being done to end these petty local tyrants.

  16. Sheri,

    I think surgeons wear the masks as a placebo for the benefit of the patient.

    When I had an operation, I didn’t see the surgeon wearing a mask, possibly because I was unconscious at the time he was operating on me.

    I AM gasping for air behind a mask.

    Strange, because according to “Robin”, masks can’t even stop viruses, which are 500 times larger than oxygen molecules.

    Interesting:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y47t9qLc9I4&t=246s

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