As the world descends into more mask madness, it’s important to keep the facts in mind. So, first all, let me be clear and say there is substantial evidence showing that medical masks or respirators do not work to prevent the spread of flu-like illness. But wearing cloth masks are, undoubtedly, even worse. In fact, the first1 Randomly Controlled Trial (RCT) on cloth masks actually says that and I quote: “Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection. ” You may need to read that again. Given that prior studies have shown masks (of all types) don’t work, that statement actually implies that cloth masks are worse than no mask at all. No wonder Dr. Fauci is against another RCT on masks.
Cloth Mask Study & Findings
Maybe you’re thinking I took that quote above out of context and that it can’t really be that bad. Well, let’s get back to the study. Here’s how it was setup. Using 1607 hospital healthcare workers (HCWs) aged ≥18 years working full-time in selected high-risk wards, the aim was to compare the efficacy of cloth masks to medical masks. The workers used the masks on every shift for 4 weeks and then were measured for clinical respiratory illness (CRI), influenza-like illness (ILI) and laboratory-confirmed respiratory virus infection. So what were the findings?
Per the study, “The rates of all infection outcomes were highest in the cloth mask arm, with the rate of ILI statistically significantly higher in the cloth mask arm. Additionally, “An analysis by mask use showed ILI and laboratory-confirmed virus were significantly higher in the cloth masks group compared with the medical masks group. Penetration of cloth masks by particles was almost 97% and medical masks 44%.”
The cloth mask group had statistically significant higher rates of CRI and ILI, meaning that rates were not due to chance alone. In short, cloth masks raised the risk the illness as compared to medical masks.
That’s a fact. Now, wait a minute, you’re probably now asking yourself – doesn’t that necessarily imply that medical masks do in fact work? After all, if the medical mask workers were sick less often that means they worked! Ah ha! Masks work! Well, no, it doesn’t imply that as there was no control group of non-mask wearing HCWs! The study only compared groups of mask wearers. So, it’s possible that medical masks also increased the illness risk, albeit less than cloth masks.
The authors of the study even addressed this very point2 by noting this in the “Strengths and Limitations” section of the study: “The control arm was ‘standard practice’, which comprised mask use in a high proportion of participants. As such (without a no-mask control), the finding of a much higher rate of infection in the cloth mask arm could be interpreted as harm caused by cloth masks, efficacy of medical masks, or most likely a combination of both.“
So, in short, all 3 “arms” in the study wore masks — the control group, the medical mask group, and the cloth mask group. Please keep in mind that while the study took place in a hospital, these people are also professional HCWs! They know how to properly fit and wear a mask3. They know they need to constantly and properly wash their hands. They know to not touch their face. They know to not adjust their masks once fitted. And they still got sick!
If the masks were worse in those conditions, how do you think they’d perform in the general population who don’t follow all those guidelines? Not only that but cloth masks are generally retained a long time and washed infrequently4. It’s reasonable to assume those two factors would further reduce the efficacy (or, in this increase, the risk even more) of cloth masks.
Cloth Mask Unknowns
And that doesn’t even begin to address some of unanswered questions such as:
- Do used masks become sources of enhanced transmission, for the wearer and others?
- Do masks become collectors and retainers of pathogens that the mask wearer would otherwise avoid when breathing without a mask?
- What are the dangers of bacterial growth on a used mask?
Not only that but cloth masks come in a variety of shapes, sizes, fits, and materials and not made to any particular standard. They do nothing to stop small particle (or aerosol) transmission which is thought to be one the important vector in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In short, if you care about your health or the health of others, you should not wear a cloth mask.
The first Randomly Controlled Trial (RCT) on cloth masks actually shows that cloth masks raise your risk of illness over other masks (the study did not account for non-mask wearers). Per the study, the rates of all infection outcomes were highest in the cloth mask arm and “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.” In short, don’t wear cloth masks.
Link to Study
If you’d like to read the actual study and view the results, you can find it at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4420971/ .
- and only, to my knowledge
- in a round-about way
- a very overlooked detail by mask advocates
- or at least at different intervals