Lets Examine the CDC's Justification for Face Masks
[Note: You can follow NoMask.info on twitter here.]
On April 3, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention did a 180 degree turnabout and suddenly recommended cloth face masks for healthy people.
As a result of this declaration, institutions and businesses worldwide have enacted defacto facemask edicts. Churches, schools, retail stores and beaches have suggested or coerced the people to put on face masks.
But what exactly what the CDC's rationale for this? Let's examine this very closely.
According to their website the CDC based this decision on 7 "recent studies".
In their document "Recommendations for Cloth Face Covers," the CDC states:
"CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States. We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission."
The first purported "study" on the CDC's five "recent studies" reference list is not a study at all, it is merely a letter, dated January 20, 2020.
Rothe C, Schunk M, Sothmann P, et al. Transmission of 2019-nCoV Infection from an Asymptomatic Contact in Germany. The New England journal of medicine.
Unlike the CDC, I am actually going to give you the link to this letter, published in the New England Journal of Medicine website:
It's clearly not in any way a study, the NEJM itself states "This letter was published on January 30, 2020, and updated on February 6, 2020, at NEJM.org."
Furthermore, the letter never once mentions masks or face coverings, and states that the patients referred to in the letter are and always were fine, despite alleged covid19 positive test results. Excerpts from the letter:
"So far, none of the four confirmed patients show signs of severe clinical illness.
"the illness was brief and nonspecific
"A 33-year-old otherwise healthy German businessman (Patient 1) became ill with a sore throat, chills, and myalgias on January 24, 2020. The following day, a fever of 39.1°C (102.4°F) developed, along with a productive cough. By the evening of the next day, he started feeling better and went back to work on January 27.
"Despite these concerns, all four patients who were seen in Munich have had mild cases and were hospitalized primarily for public health purposes...research is needed to determine whether such patients can be treated with appropriate guidance and oversight outside the hospital."
Keep in mind that over 2 months after this "(non-"study") letter from NEJM which the CDC uses as an excuse to justify cloth face masks, the NEJM itself posted the following, on April 1, 2020:
"We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. 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...The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic... 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."
[Note their article actually references the afforementioned German patient letter in paragraph 5.]
The 2nd "study" listed on the CDC face mask page is also not a study at all, it's a correspondence to the NEJM dated March 19, 2020, from a group of Chinese doctors.
Again, I will give you the link, something the CDC conveniently neglects to do:
SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load in Upper Respiratory Specimens of Infected Patientshttps://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2001737
And once again, the letter never once mentions masks or face coverings..
The third alleged "study" referenced by the CDC to justify facemasks is also not a study at all. It's a 'CORRESPONDENCE' published in the Lancet on February 19, 2020.
Here's the title and link which again the CDC does not give.
Asymptomatic cases in a family cluster with SARS-CoV-2 infection
And once again, this letter never once mentions masks or face coverings. This is getting interesting.
The 4th CDC reference is also not a study, it's a 'Research Letter' dated February 21, 2020 entitled Presumed Asymptomatic Carrier Transmission of COVID-19 on the JAMA website.
This article only once mentions the word mask, but not to recommend it, rather as a passing reference:
"Response to COVID-19 in Taiwan: Big Data Analytics, New Technology, and Proactive Testing Viewpoint April 14, 2020 This Viewpoint describes the outbreak response infrastructure developed by the Taiwanese government following the SARS epidemic in 2003 and actions in response to COVID-19, including dedicated hotlines for symptom reporting, mobile phone messaging and case tracking, and the ramping up of facemask production."
The 5th CDC reference is not a study, but is a 'Morbidity and mortality weekly report' published April 3 2020 on the CDC's own website:
Asymptomatic and Presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections in Residents of a Long-Term Care Skilled Nursing Facility — King County, Washington, March 2020.
The report does mention face masks 3 times, but only in the context of a nursing home staff caring for residents where COVID19 is present:
"On March 6, Public Health – Seattle and King County, in collaboration with CDC, recommended infection prevention and control measures, including isolation of all symptomatic residents and use of gowns, gloves, eye protection, facemasks, and hand hygiene for health care personnel entering symptomatic residents’ rooms...
Once a facility has a case of COVID-19, broad strategies should be implemented to prevent transmission, including restriction of resident-to-resident interactions, universal use of facemasks for all health care personnel while in the facility, and if possible, use of CDC-recommended PPE for the care of all residents (i.e., gown, gloves, eye protection, N95 respirator, or, if not available, a face mask)
The 6th CDC reference listed as a "study" is not a study, but rather another morbidity report, posted 4/1/20. There is no mention of face masks or face coverings whatsoever.
Presymptomatic Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 — Singapore, January 23–March 16, 2020
The 7th and last CDC reference is also not a study, but is a research article. The article mentions face masks twice.
Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2).
This article claims that the increased the use of face masks is one of many measures which contributed to a reduced rate of virus spread in China.
"These measures, along with changes in medical care–seeking behavior due to increased awareness of the virus and increased personal protective behavior (e.g., wearing of face masks, social distancing, self-isolation when sick), likely altered the epidemiological characteristics of the outbreak after 23 January."
Although it is still not a medical study on the use of face masks by healthy people.
Do these seven CDC "references" justify the policies which have been implemented worldwide??!