Frequently Asked Questions
But surgeons wear masks!
Surgeons wear masks during surgery to protect themselves from splashes and sprays, as well as to prevent their bodily fluids from dropping into the wound. They do not wear them to stop respiratory viruses. If they are sick, they do not operate. Interestingly, there have been over 20 studies over the years that determined that surgeons wearing masks do not even reduce post operative wound infections, and if anything, they may increase the rate of wound infections. One study put tracer particles inside the surgeons mask. Guess where the particles ended up? In the wound! As one researcher pointed out, it is probably because masks only serve to redirect airflow. This research has called into question the practice of wearing masks during surgery. I discuss these in more detail in the Research Summary.
But I read a study that said masks work!
From 1921-2020, the science was almost unanimous that masks do not prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. In 2020, this understanding was confirmed by six systematic reviews that evaluated hundreds of studies, performed meta analyses of the highest quality ones, involving thousands of subjects [see references 1 13 46 47 82 88 on the Research Summary page]. Systematic reviews and meta analyses are the highest quality of scientific evidence because their conclusions take into account all of the studies on a given subject. This is what makes them so reliable. The science showing that masks do not prevent transmission of respiratory viruses was settled. Yet, starting in early 2020, a flurry of lower quality studies (models, observational, experimental) starkly contrasted with the existing body of evidence. These lower quality studies strangely appeared to conclude that masks would in fact help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. When this happens, we must evaluate the new research with a critical eye because the physics certainly didn't change, but the politics may have. Most people don't understand that science does not function in a vacuum. It is highly influenced by politics and industry, through funding. Conclusions, more often than not, are favorable to the funder. Oddly, the lower quality, new studies are being emphasized, while the numerous gold standard studies are being largely ignored. A closer look at the newer studies reveals extensive evidence of spin, misrepresentations, inaccuracies, conclusions that don't match the data, and experimental designs that do not reflect reality. The evidence for masks is often rated as "weak", "low certainty", or "not statistically significant." One was retracted already, and another has thousands of calls for retraction for egregious errors. So yes, you will be able to find some studies and media reports that make it appear masks work, but you cannot trust their conclusions without carefully reading the details and checking their references. After seeing very clearly how the efficacy of masks is being misrepresented, I've been motivated to examine all of the information being presented by researchers, government, and media. I discuss my findings more in depth in the Research Summary.
If masks don't work, then why would the government mandate them?
That's a very good question, and one we should all be asking our governors. Initially the World Health Organization and all the experts said masks wouldn't help. Suddenly, the WHO changed its stance and recommended masks for all healthy people as source control. When they were asked why they switched their recommendation without any new science, Dr Andreas Voss (member of the World Health Organization expert team) told I Am Expat on July 24, 2020 that masks were made mandatory “not because of scientific evidence, but because of political pressure and public opinion.” Not really the high quality response we were hoping for, and definitely not good enough to justify mask mandates.
Are masks COMPLETELY useless?
No. There are certain situations that call for masks. 1) If you are sick, coughing, or sneezing, please stay home. But if you must go out, wearing a mask will help you not spittle all over everyone. Everyone will appreciate that, as always. 2) If you are going to be with someone who is particularly vulnerable to covid19 (such as elderly people and/or anyone in poor health and co-morbidities), you would want to protect them in every way possible. Cloth and surgical masks are useless because they just redirect the airflow. In this case, wear a new, clean N95 mask properly. It won't be comfortable for you, but if you keep your visit short, then you will be able to spend precious time with your loved one and reduce the risk of passing any illness on to them. Remember that the mask is only part of this focused protection. Ensure that you're not sick when visiting, wash your hands well and frequently, and stay more than 6 feet apart. We do not want to take any chances with anyone who is at high risk. 3) If you're going to be with anyone in close quarters indoors for any extended period of time, wear an N95 mask. Infectious aerosols leak out the edges of cloth and surgical masks, so they won't protect anyone from getting sick or spreading the virus. 4) If you're around anyone that is currently infectious, you may want to wear a properly fitted N95 mask, maintain your distance, and practice hand hygiene to avoid infection. 5) And don't forget, experts of questionable sanity recommend masks when having intimate relations with anyone that is not part of your household.
Who are you to be telling us about masks?
I've devoted my life to health and wellness, and have advanced degrees and certifications in the health sciences. If I thought masks helped in any way, I would be all for them because I care deeply about people's wellbeing. I find it offensive how the science is being misrepresented, and how we are being manipulated and harmed in the process. I prefer not to provide my identity because I've found that people who want to propagate the myth that masks help go to great lengths attempting to discredit anyone who says otherwise, no matter how well qualified or how sound the research is. I can take the heat, but it's just a distraction. In reality, it doesn't matter who I am, because the research speaks for itself. Take a look "under the hood" and you be the judge. I think you'll agree with numerous doctors and researchers that the science does not support the use of masks for preventing the spread of any respiratory virus in the community, including SARS-CoV2. Furthermore, I can assure you that the data presented here is not politically motivated. I’m a life-long liberal Democrat.