Remember when Dr. Fauci emphatically told Americans not to wear facemasks when the coronavirus pandemic hit our shores more than one year ago?
If you don’t recall, allow me to jog your memory. During a “60 Minutes” interview on March 8, 2020, Dr. Fauci said, “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.”
In the same interview, Fauci also said:
“While masks may block some droplets, they do not provide the level of protection people think they do. Wearing a mask may also have unintended consequences: People who wear masks tend to touch their face more often to adjust them, which can spread germs from their hands.”
Fauci was far from the only government official downplaying masks once upon a time.
On February 27, during a congressional hearing, Dr. Robert Redfield, then-director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention responded, “No,” when asked if Americans should wear facemasks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Two days later, then-U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams tweeted, “They [facemasks] are NOT effective in preventing [the] general public from catching coronavirus.”
That was then. This is now.
So, what happened? Somehow, almost every infectious disease expert did an abrupt 180 and got fully on board the facemask bandwagon. By late spring 2020, in the blink of an eye, wearing a facemask became a requirement to participate in society.
However, the question remains: Do facemasks actually prevent the spread of COVID-19?
According to a recent study by Stanford University, “Facemasks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis,” the answer remains, “No.”
As the study’s authors write:
“The physical properties of medical and non-medical facemasks suggest that facemasks are ineffective to block viral particles due to their difference in scales. According to the current knowledge, the virus SARS-CoV-2 has a diameter of 60 nm to 140 nm [nanometers (billionth of a meter)], while medical and non-medical facemasks’ thread diameter ranges from 55 µm to 440 µm [micrometers (one-millionth of a meter), which is more than 1000 times larger. Due to the difference in sizes between SARS-CoV-2 diameter and facemasks thread diameter (the virus is 1000 times smaller), SARS-CoV-2 can easily pass through any facemask.”
In other words, ordinary facemasks (not N95) do not and cannot block COVID-19.
Furthermore, the study states:
“Clinical scientific evidence challenges further the efficacy of facemasks to block human-to-human transmission or infectivity. A randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 246 participants [123 (50%) symptomatic)] who were allocated to either wearing or not wearing surgical facemask, assessing viruses transmission including coronavirus. The results of this study showed that among symptomatic individuals (those with fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose etc…) there was no difference between wearing and not wearing facemask for coronavirus droplets transmission of particles of >5 µm. Among asymptomatic individuals, there was no droplets or aerosols coronavirus detected from any participant with or without the mask, suggesting that asymptomatic individuals do not transmit or infect other people.”
The study cites several more randomized control trials that concur with the fact that facemasks do not prevent transmission of COVID-19.
Yet, that is only half the story.
The study also concludes that facemasks actually cause adverse health effects.
According to the study:
“Wearing facemask mechanically restricts breathing by increasing the resistance of air movement during both inhalation and exhalation process. Although, intermittent (several times a week) and repetitive (10–15 breaths for 2–4 sets) increase in respiration resistance may be adaptive for strengthening respiratory muscles, prolonged and continues effect of wearing facemask is maladaptive and could be detrimental for health. In normal conditions at the sea level, air contains 20.93% O2 and 0.03% CO2, providing partial pressures of 100 mmHg and 40 mmHg for these gases in the arterial blood, respectively. These gas concentrations significantly altered when breathing occurs through facemask. A trapped air remaining between the mouth, nose and the facemask is rebreathed repeatedly in and out of the body, containing low O2 and high CO2 concentrations, causing hypoxemia and hypercapnia.”
Unfortunately, but of course, this study received zero attention in the mainstream liberal media.
Although it is completely grounded in sound science, it does not align with the narrative that has been created and perpetuated out of whole cloth, pardon the pun, that facemasks are kryptonite to the spread of COVID-19.
For all the talking heads who parrot the tired talking point, “follow the science,” the science could not be clearer. Facemasks do not prevent the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a facemask actually does more harm than good!
If you are wondering when and if this “inconvenient truth” will be told to the American people, don’t hold your breath. And in the meantime, put on a facemask. Or else.
Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is senior editor at The Heartland Institute.