Covid-19 mask efficacy and usefulness links

n95 mask small image

Please note that this page is not an article but a list of links to sites with comprehensive studies on the effectiveness of wearing a mask to avoid viral infection. In addition there are studies on the health drawbacks and side effects of long term mask wearing. This page will be added to over time.

Some of the mask studies on efficacy:

  • The New England Journal of Medicine paper Universal Masking in Hospitals in the Covid-19 Era Second paragraph states quote "We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection." The last paragraph is even more obvious quote "It is also clear that masks serve symbolic roles. Masks are not only tools, they are also talismans that may help increase health care workers€™ perceived sense of safety, well-being, and trust in their hospitals. Although such reactions may not be strictly logical, we are all subject to fear and anxiety, especially during times of crisis. One might argue that fear and anxiety are better countered with data and education than with a marginally beneficial mask, particularly in light of the worldwide mask shortage, but it is difficult to get clinicians to hear this message in the heat of the current crisis. Expanded masking protocols€™ greatest contribution may be to reduce the transmission of anxiety, over and above whatever role they may play in reducing transmission of Covid-19. The potential value of universal masking in giving health care workers the confidence to absorb and implement the more foundational infection-prevention practices described above may be its greatest contribution."
  • Reminder: CDC says facemasks don't stop Covid-19.
  • To what degree if any, do facemasks prevent respiratory illness such as COVID-19? According to a study on medrxiv.org, the evidence is not sufficiently strong to support widespread use of facemasks as a protective measure against COVID-19

  • An examination of generally used techniques of physical intervention such as social distancing, face masks and eye protection have on reducing the spread of respiratory viruses.
  • The New England Journal of Medicine reports that quote "What is clear, however, is that universal masking alone is not a panacea. A mask will not protect providers caring for a patient with active Covid-19 if its€™s not accompanied by meticulous hand hygiene, eye protection, gloves, and a gown. A mask alone will not prevent health care workers with early Covid-19 from contaminating their hands and spreading the virus to patients and colleagues. Focusing on universal masking alone may, paradoxically, lead to more transmission of Covid-19 if it diverts attention from implementing more fundamental infection-control measures."
  • An interesting comparison between N95 Respirators versus Medical masks for preventing influenza among health care personnel. The studies results were, quote "Conclusions and Relevance Among outpatient health care personnel, N95 respirators vs medical masks as worn by participants in this trial resulted in no significant difference in the incidence of laboratory-confirmed influenza."
  • Another comparison between N95 respirators and medical masks. Results were, quote "...our meta-analysis showed that there were insufficient data to determine definitively whether N95 respirators are superior to surgical masks in protecting health care workers against transmissible acute respiratory infections...".
  • A Japanese trial published in the National Library of Medicine entitled "Use of surgical face masks to reduce the incidence of the common cold among health care workers in Japan: a randomized controlled trial" concluded that, quote " Face mask use in health care workers has not been demonstrated to provide benefit in terms of cold symptoms or getting colds. A larger study is needed to definitively establish non inferiority of no mask use."
  • The danger of cloth masks is discussed in this study, published on the National Library of Medicine web site entitled "A cluster randomised trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers" found here. The studies conclusion "This study is the first RCT of cloth masks, and the results caution against the use of cloth masks. This is an important finding to inform occupational health and safety. Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection. Further research is needed to inform the widespread use of cloth masks globally. However, as a precautionary measure, cloth masks should not be recommended for HCWs, particularly in high-risk situations, and guidelines need to be updated."
  • An Oxford Academic study finding that "...single-use medical masks are preferable to cloth masks, for which there is no evidence of protection and which might facilitate transmission of pathogens when used repeatedly without adequate sterilization" see the study here. Disposable, cotton, or paper masks are not recommended.
  • The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy published an article titled Masks-for-all for COVID-19 not based on sound data which states "...we continue to conclude that cloth masks and face coverings are likely to have limited impact on lowering COVID-19 transmission, because they have minimal ability to prevent the emission of small particles, offer limited personal protection with respect to small particle inhalation..."
  • The side effects of prolonged mask wearing is discussed here on the ClinMed Journal of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology. The studies conclusions "Prolonged use of N95 and surgical masks by healthcare professionals during COVID-19 has caused adverse effects such as headaches, rash, acne, skin breakdown, and impaired cognition in the majority of those surveyed." Presumably this would apply equally well to anyone wearing a mask for a prolonged time.
  • NBCnews says masks are good, yes really Covid masks save American lives. Quote from Dr. Megan Ranne "Check out Taylor Swift's flowery mask at the Grammys, or Jennifer Anistons famous face mask. As the parent of an-almost-teenager, I can tell you that her mask has become her favorite new accessory. It has become a form of self-expression or a marker of being part of the in-group. It is also a growing domestic business opportunity."
  • Twitter user points out that Ontario, Canada has been obsessive about masks and repeated lockdowns. They entered another lockdown a couple weeks ago. Looks like those policies have served them well. Click on the image below.
  • Swiss Policy Research asks are mask effective?The studies conclusion quote "Face masks in the general population might be effective, at least in some circumstances, but there is currently little to no evidence supporting this proposition. If the coronavirus is indeed transmitted via indoor aerosols, face masks are unlikely to be protective. Health authorities should therefore not assume or suggest that face masks will reduce the rate or risk of infection."
  • The New England Journal of Medicine paper Universal Masking in Hospitals in the Covid-19 Era Second paragraph states quote "We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection." The last paragraph is even more obvious quote "It is also clear that masks serve symbolic roles. Masks are not only tools, they are also talismans that may help increase health care workers€™ perceived sense of safety, well-being, and trust in their hospitals. Although such reactions may not be strictly logical, we are all subject to fear and anxiety, especially during times of crisis. One might argue that fear and anxiety are better countered with data and education than with a marginally beneficial mask, particularly in light of the worldwide mask shortage, but it is difficult to get clinicians to hear this message in the heat of the current crisis. Expanded masking protocols greatest contribution may be to reduce the transmission of anxiety, over and above whatever role they may play in reducing transmission of Covid-19. The potential value of universal masking in giving health care workers the confidence to absorb and implement the more foundational infection-prevention practices described above may be its greatest contribution."
The Last American Vagabond image

The Last American Vagabond

Dr Fauci admits his wearing a mask despite being vaccinated was all theatre as Dr Rand Paul alleged, quote "I didn't want to look like I was giving mixed signals, but being a fully vaccinated person the chances of my getting infected in an indoor setting is extremely low."