Updated: Sep 19
So if you’ve been following me for any time at all you will probably know that it has been my position since the beginning of this pandemic that masks are all but useless in reducing the transmission of a respiratory virus. This is not my opinion, it is the finding of the actual SCIENCE AND DATA that has been known to the inhabitants of this planet for decades. I have written maybe eight posts on this topic, always showing the actual data that we have, and yet every time I do people fight with me, tell me I’m dangerous (or worse) and send me “studies proving” masks work. Alas they all end up being nonsense. So let me state one more time that there is NO legitimate evidence anywhere to show any efficacy above “something more than zero” that masks make any difference at all, let alone that their benefit is the “settled science” or that they are the “game changer” we’ve been told they are. A pox on all your houses!
Anyway, I stopped writing about this issue because it became quite boring. One paper after the next, whether from the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control, or from pretty much anywhere else; none say anything other than “There is no evidence that masks work.” After a while, you get tired of punching down.
But then back in September a new contender appeared in Thunderdome. Many of you I’m sure heard about it as it was touted by every “news” source as proof positive that masks work, so stop being a stupid, selfish, science-denying, grandma-killer (or Junior-killer, or vaxxed-person-killer or whoever the victim-de-jour is today) and put on your obedience mask! I’ve had several people send me the “news” articles about the benefits of masks to let me know how wrong I have been lo these past 20 months but interestingly, nobody ever sent the actual preprint; I suppose there was clearly no need to as every talking head and print “journalism” outlet clearly told us the story of how vital masks were, so why bother looking for actual facts. But as I’ve been saying for a long time, it always sucks when the facts get in the way of a good story. So first let’s take a look at the “news” coverage of this study. As always, the caps are mine for emphasis.
From the Washington Post: “MASSIVE randomized study is PROOF that SURGICAL MASKS limit coronavirus spread, AUTHORS SAY” This story contains phrases like “ENORMOUS randomized research project” and “BEST evidence yet” with “more than 340,000 adults across 600 villages in rural Bangladesh, is by far the LARGEST randomized study… this provides CONCLUSIVE, real-world evidence…“I think this should basically END ANY SCIENTIFIC DEBATE about whether masks can be effective in combating covid at the population level…calling it “a nail in the coffin” of the arguments against masks…this group saw a 9.3 percent reduction in symptomatic covid-19 seroprevalence…Independent experts that were asked to look at the research praised its scale; some suggested that it might be the MOST CONVINCING ARGUMENT YET for mask-wearing…“This is the GOLD STANDARD of scientific knowledge.” And so on and so forth. Well it seems case closed; masks work!
But wait, then we’re told “The study DOES NOT quite claim to be the final word on masks. The authors found that while cloth masks CLEARLY reduced symptoms, they “cannot reject” the idea that unlike surgical masks, they may have only a SMALL EFFECT on symptomatic coronavirus infections, and POSSIBLY NONE AT ALL.” The main researcher also says “that the intervention group was found to practice more social distancing, which may COMPLICATE THE FINDINGS on masks.” Well those are interesting non-sequiturs thrown in amongst all the platitudes; tell you what, we’ll get back to that later. Anyway, those statements seem somewhat incongruent with the main narrative but whatever, the evidence is CLEAR, masks are the answer!!
We get this same exact propaganda from all the usual suspects:
“SURGICAL MASKS reduce COVID-19 spread, large-scale STUDY SHOWS” Although this one also sort of casually tells us “Although there were also fewer COVID-19 cases in villages with cloth masks as compared to control villages, the difference was NOT STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT”
Then there’s this gem from some child named Yasemin Saplakoglu who ironically writes for an outlet called Live Science (they have “science” right there in their name so you know they’re legit): “HUGE, GOLD-STANDARD study shows UNEQUIVOCALLY that SURGICAL MASKS work to reduce coronavirus spread” And in case the title didn’t convince you, she goes on to tell us “Results from a massive study in Bangladesh UNEQUIVOCALLY show that surgical masks reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, SCIENTISTS SAY. But again here we get what I call a “Fauciism”. That’s an equivocation that acts as a cover-your-ass card so later when what you’ve said proves to be wrong you can say “that’s not exactly what I said” or some such nonsense. Yasemin tells us “researchers who were surveying the participants on how well they wore masks and physically distanced themselves may have been recognized by the study participants, who then may have CHANGED THEIR BEHAVIORS, the authors wrote.” We’ll talk about this in a minute.
So here we have a carpet-bombing of all these superlative headlines yet what’s missing is any actually meaningful numbers being reported. We’re told this study included “more than 340,000 adults across 600 villages in rural Bangladesh…About 178,000 Bangladeshi villagers were in an intervention group and encouraged to use masks. An additional 163,000 were in a control group, where no interventions were made” We’re then told “this group saw a 9.3 percent REDUCTION in symptomatic covid-19 seroprevalence”. There’s all kinds of nonsense about how the data was collected, but we’re never given the ACTUAL NUMBERS as to who got sick and who didn’t. Those numbers not only don’t appear in the press releases, I mean “news” articles, they don’t appear in the official “preprint”. NOW (those numbers have been released) we know why and we also know why the authors were leaving their Fauci-esque breadcrumbs everywhere.
Before I forget, the caveat noted above about people changing their behavior if they noticed the researchers was because this “study” had “…observers stationed at various public places in both the control and intervention villages recorded whether a person was wearing a mask over both their mouth and nose and whether they appeared to be practicing physical distancing — that is, staying at least an arm’s length away from all other people.” So some guy stood on a street corner for about an hour a day a couple days a week and noted who wore masks and who “social distanced”. How EXACTLY did they determine if someone was social distancing? Unless someone is observed actively evading other people by going “serpentine” (shout out The In-Laws), how could you POSSIBLY tell? And if in fact someone changed their behavior because they wanted to get a gold star from the observer, how EXACTLY would that be accounted for? And how did the observer know if the person they were looking at was from an “enrolled household”? Also, adding a second intervention (distancing) invalidates whatever results you think you see from the first intervention (masking). There’s no way to tell which is responsible for what.
But finally, after all the bloviating, we find out the real numbers of this end-of-discussion, proof-positive paper. It seems that looking at more than 340,000 people in 600 villages in rural Bangladesh, we come to some actual hard data. Remember we were told there was a “9.3% reduction in symptomatic covid seroprevalence” (COVID as measured by bloodtest) but we’re also told “In the intervention group [mask-wearers], 7.62% of people had COVID-19-LIKE SYMPTOMS, compared with 8.62% in the control group.” Now the researchers use some cool analytical gymnastics to come up with what is called a “relative risk reduction” number of 9.3%, but the ACTUAL difference is exactly ONE PERCENT. 8.62 – 7.62 = 1. That’s it. 1 percent. And that’s for “COVID-19-like symptoms”, not even COVID disease. With all the weak crap involved in this study, the best they can come up with is ONE PERCENT. And THAT’S your “huge, gold-standard” data that “proves” that masks work.
But wait, there’s more. As I said, the raw data (the actual number of people) who got infected in each group was, for some reason, not included in the preprint article upon which all the hoopla was based. Now that data has been released. Turns out that in the mask group there were 1,086 people tested positive, and in the non-mask group, wait for it, 1,106 people tested positive. For those of you who have trouble with math, that’s a difference of 20 people. TWENTY PEOPLE. Out of a total of some 340,000 people observed. Once the actual data was released, the criticisms came fast and furious “The Bangladeshi research performed a year later found the interventions reduced "symptomatic seroprevalence" by 9.3% in the treatment group, but also that CLOTH MASKS SPECIFICALLY had "an imprecise ZERO" effect and surgical masks were STATISTICALLY INSIGNIFICANT for age groups under 50.” Well that seems anticlimactic.
So the take-home lesson here is the same as always. We are being lied to every day, all the time, by everybody in our ruling class. Go back and look at the quotes from the “news” articles above where I emphasized words like “authors say” or “study shows” or “scientists say”. None of these infants parading as journalists ever ask “where’s the data?” they just parrot what they’re told; dutifully delivering to you your marching orders. And remember all of the Fauciisms noted above. That’s because the authors knew they were full of crap and they needed to soften their landing when the truth came out. So the public reads the blaring headlines heralding the value of the almighty mask, then we all “know” they work and we should wear them. And you’re an evil bastard if you don’t. But the truth is something different. Has anybody seen this analysis of the new data in the Washington Post or Live Science or CNN?
So a crapily designed and executed study that says, by the authors own admission, effectively NO provable benefit to mask-wearing, is touted everywhere as PROOF POSITIVE that they work. But then when the actual data showing that claim is hokum is released, not a peep. Sweet. By the way, the lead author of this “landmark” study suggested last year that the government consider FINING people if they didn’t wear mask, so that should tell you something. Can you say “observer bias”?
In conclusion, your silly mask is all but useless. If you want to wear one you do you, but stop believing you “know” they actually do something and that those of us who don’t dutifully wear them are somehow subhuman. And more importantly stop listening to the “experts”. They’re liars and idiots all and they do not have your best interests at heart.