How Effective Are Masks in Reducing the Spread of the Coronavirus?

Last Updated on February 17, 2022 by Shaun Snapp

Executive Summary

  • The public has been repeatedly told that masks are highly effective in limiting the spread of the coronavirus.
  • How true is this claim?

Introduction

The authorities worldwide have supported masking to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. However, there has been surprisingly little research into the effectiveness of masking, particularly considering how many entities support its efficacy. In this article, we will review the evidence for the effectiveness of masking.

Our References for This Article

If you want to see our references for this article and related Brightwork articles, visit this link.

Fauci’s Flip Flop on Masking Effectiveness

Jimmy Dore was one of the first to pick up on the fact that Fauci had a changing story on masks.

So, which is it? Do masks help, or don’t they? Why are we now wearing masks again as of September 2021? Fauci seems unable to speak clearly and to describe proportionality. I often get better and more clear explanations from the people I ask questions of at a grocery store.

Fauci speaks in very binary terms that are imprecise and not a scientific way of speaking. Fauci seems to speak more like a person with no scientific training than a person at the top of the scientific community. If a person cannot speak scientifically, it is unlikely they are behaving scientifically and should be used to measure their credibility, regardless of their certifications.

Between two video interviews of Fauci, he directly contradicts himself. In one interview,

“there is no one for people to be wearing masks”

to

“now we know that masks work to prevent infection and to prevent you from infection others.”

This occurs again in the following video.

Amazing. Why do CNN and the rest of the establishment media keep interviewing this man? 

In one interview, masks have no effect and should not be worn. Then months later, masks are now mandatory — because they are so effective. People have said “but the science changed.”

This is false.

And it assumes that the only information on virus transmission came from observing the coronavirus, and anyone saying this is either lying or has no idea what the scientific literature says on the topic. There was a great deal of material published on masks and viruses already when Fauci made his first comments.

  • Jimmy Dore is correct in catching Fauci in flip-flopping.
  • Jimmy Dore is incorrect that masks are effective against viruses.

This video also shows Fauci’s flip-flopping on masks.

Using Cloth to Stop the Spread of Viruses?

Viruses are extraordinarily small. The size of the coronavirus is shown in the following graphic from the Visual Capitalist.

Maskers don’t seem to realize how small a virus is. Think of the size of a grain of sand which is about all that we can see. Observe how the grain of sand is enormous compared to the size of the coronavirus. A virus will go right in between the fibers of a typical mask. Will many of the viruses be caught in the mask fibers? Certainly, but many will get through. And very few individual viruses are necessary to infect the individual. 

This is explained in this video.

This video is excellent, and it was published in October of 2020. Early into the pandemic, and observed that the only study on cloth masks showed they increased risk. Normally the proposal is that “no one could have known” and that the “science changed,” but this video demonstrates the ineffectiveness of masks for virus management has been known for a long time. 

However, upon reviewing the article, after initial publication, I now find that the video was taken down, most likely by Google. Google has been very big on censoring videos that contradict the health authorities, even though the health authorities have not been accurately representing the scientific studies in their policies.

Let us see if Google tries to take down this graphic. 

A Quick Synopsis on Mulitple Mask Studies

N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) are constructed from electret (a dielectric material that has a quasi-permanent electric charge.) An electret generates internal and external electric fields so the filter material has electrostatic attraction for additional collection of all particle sizes. As flow increases, particles will be collected less efficiently.

A properly fitted N95 will block 95% of tiny air particles down to
0.3 μm from reaching the wearer’s face.

Problem: no source control. An N95 does not filter exhaled air passing through the exhaust/exhalation valve (for easier breathing and less moisture inside the mask).

All the cloth masks and materials had near zero efficiency at 0.3 µm, a particle size that easily penetrates into the lung (SARS-CoV-2 is 0.125 µm)

Surgical masks are better than cloth but not very efficient at preventing emissions from infected patients.

Overall, data were collected from 714 men and women. Of all ages, only 90 participants (12.6%) passed the visual mask fit test. About 75% performed strap placement incorrectly, 61% left a “visible gap between the mask and skin,” and about 60% didn’t tighten the nose-clip.

Masks did not provide benefit in terms of cold symptoms or getting cold. Study of surgical face mask use in health care workers (2009, Japan).

6 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving 9,171 participants were included (2015-2020). There were no statistically significant differences in preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza, laboratory-confirmed respiratory viral infections, laboratory-confirmed respiratory infection and influenza-like illness using N95 respirators and surgical masks. Review of N95 respirators versus surgical masks against influenza (March 2020, China).

Known patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 wore masks and coughed into a Petrie dish. “Both surgical and cotton masks seem to be ineffective in preventing the dissemination of SARS–CoV-2 from the coughs of patients with COVID-19 to the environment and external mask surface.” A study of 4 patients (July 2020, South Korea).

The N95 led to a droplet transmission of below 0.1%.
Cotton and polypropylene masks, some of which were made from apron material showed a droplet transmission ranging from 10% to 40%.
Knitted mask had up to 60% droplet transmission.
Neck fleece had 110% droplet transmission (10% higher than not wearing a mask). Studied different types of face coverings in non-clinical setting (August 2020).

The introduction, retraction and re-introduction of mandatory face masks in Austria had no influence at all on the infection rate. Austrian observation (August 2020)

“We don’t routinely recommend the use of face masks by the public to prevent respiratory illness…. And we certainly are not recommending that at this time for this new virus.” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (January 31, 2020):

Surgical masks are loose fitting. They are designed to protect the patient from the doctors’ respiratory droplets. There wearer is not protected from others’ airborne particles.

People do not wear masks properly. Many people have the mask under the nose. The wearer does not have glasses on and the eyes are a portal of entry.  If the virus lands on the conjunctiva, tears will wash it into the nasopharynx. – AAPS

On Masks and Dental Hygiene

Now that dentists have reopened their doors, they’re having patients show up with a nasty set of symptoms, which the doctors have dubbed “mask mouth.”

The new oral hygiene issue — caused by, you guessed it, wearing a mask all the time to prevent the spread of the coronavirus — is leading to all kinds of dental disasters like decaying teeth, receding gum lines and seriously sour breath.

“We’re seeing inflammation in people’s gums that have been healthy forever, and cavities in people who have never had them before,” says Dr. Rob Ramondi, a dentist and co-founder of One Manhattan Dental. “About 50% of our patients are being impacted by this, [so] we decided to name it ‘mask mouth’ — after ‘meth mouth.’ ”

He says the stinky syndrome is triggered by face coverings, since wearing a mask increases dryness of the mouth — and a buildup of bad bacteria.

“People tend to breathe through their mouth instead of through their nose while wearing a mask,” says Sclafani. “The mouth breathing is causing the dry mouth, which leads to a decrease in saliva — and saliva is what fights the bacteria and cleanses your teeth.”

He adds that “saliva is also what neutralizes acid in the mouth and helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease.”

People’s tendency to drink less water while masked up, as well as consume more coffee and alcohol during lockdown, have also added to the widespread dehydration he’s seeing.

“Patients are coming into us like, ‘Wow, my breath smells, I need a cleaning.’ [But] when you smell the bad breath, you either already have periodontal disease or you have a lot of bacteria that’s sitting on your tongue because of dry mouth,” says Sclafani. – NY Post

This quote provides a good synopsis of the pros and cons of facemasks.

Facemasks reduce your blood oxygen level depending upon your health. This could be serious this is most likely for people who have or are predisposed to breathing issues like smokers, obese or who have COPD or asthma. You would need a pulse oximeter to check your blood oxygen level and determine the impact of a facemask has upon it. But if you have asthma or any breathing issue as to be exempt researchers claim that the end 95 mask can reduce oxygen intake by five to 20%. That is significant. Anyone exercising should not wear a face mask. It will lower your blood oxygen level and increase your blood carbon dioxide level while exercising. Sweating while exercising will get the facemask damp making it subsequently harder to breathe through the mask exacerbating low blood oxygen levels and increasing carbon dioxide levels. Having a wet mask will also promote the growth of bacteria and microorganisms affecting your health. So there’s a couple of things in the question that you just have.– Brainwashed: How the Media and Government Misread, Misinformed and Mismanaged the COVID-19 Virus

Observe that none of the negatives of wearing masks was covered by the establishment media. According to their coverage, masks only have a positive impact on health no negative impacts.

The WHO and CDC Provides False Information About “Droplet” Transmission of Covid

The organization that provided false information about droplet transmission was the World Health Organization or the WHO an the Center for Disease Control, or the CDC.

This is explained in the following quotation.

COVID-19 is airborne. The WHO carried water for China by claiming that the virus was only droplet- borne. Our own CDC absurdly claimed that it was mostly transmitted by fomite-to-face contact, which, given its rapid spread from Wuhan to the rest of the world, would have been physically impossible.

Fomite is a surface of an object.

The ridiculous belief in fomite-to-face being a primary mode of transmission led to the use of surface disinfection protocols that wasted time, energy, productivity, and disinfectant.

The 6-foot guidelines are absolutely useless. The minimum safe distance to protect oneself from an aerosolized virus is to be 15+ feet away from an infected person, no closer. Realistically, no public transit is safe.

Surgical masks do not protect you from aerosols. The virus is too small and the filter media has too large of gaps to filter it out. They may catch respiratory droplets and keep the virus from being expelled by someone who is sick, but they do not filter a cloud of infectious aerosols if someone were to walk into said cloud.” – Gulf Coast Commentary

The following quote, which is a comment on an article in the Telegraph, asks why masks are not used to stop the spread of the cold virus.

Masks, apart from part of a PPE regime, do not stop viruses or much else (check the literature). Joe Public spluttering runny nosed behind his mask, removing it to blow his nose, replacing it, covered in microbes, which he transfers to his hands, washes hands, fingers mask again….? Far better to blow nose, discard tissue, wash hands, full stop, and repeat whenever necessary. Much more hygienic.

Before coronavirus hysteria, studies explained that masks are not effective against viruses. This is because maskers and establishment Democrats, in particular, have close to no scientific knowledge whatsoever. Most will have never read a research paper in their lives. The studies showed an increased risk of infections from masks. 

This video covers a study into mask effectiveness for coronavirus.

Fauci’s flip flop on double masks continues.

Long after masking supplanted his initial advice against masking, Fauci shifted yet again to double-masking, then backtracked on this advice a few days later, then re-embraced the practice a few days after that in conjunction with a new CDC recommendation.

The medical literature states that single masks are not effective. What led Fauci to state that double masks were effective? Does Fauci not know how small viruses are?

The long-term pattern of how Fauci communicates and how he influences policy is explained as follows.

Whether it’s the coronavirus of 2020-21 or the AIDS crisis of 1983, he routinely stakes out public positions that rely upon unwarranted speculation about scientific matters in the absence of evidence.

Allow me to be more direct. Fauci is a politically motivated bullshit artist who has no concern for scientifically true or false but changes his views based upon what he thinks will be good for him.

Journal Quotes on Topic #3: On the Topic of Masking

In Asia during the SARS period, many people in the affected communities wore surgical masks when in public. But studies have shown that the ordinary surgical mask does little to prevent inhalation of small droplets bearing influenza virus. The pores in the mask become blocked by moisture from breathing, and the air stream simply diverts around the mask. – Disease Mitigation Measures in the Control of Pandemic Influenza

It is almost as if Fauci and other health care leaders are illiterate or can’t be bothered to read the scientific literature. You don’t need a medical degree or a board-certified medical doctor to understand the scientific literature. I found most of these papers quite straightforward to read and clearly explained in their conclusions. Reading the papers indeed took a lot of time. One of the papers was 84 pages long, and the part related to what I was interested in was only a paragraph.

Perhaps these health leaders are so busy they don’t have time to read the scientific literature. However, they also have many assistants who should be able to provide a synopsis of the scientific literature findings. The problem I have run into when writing research papers for companies is that the executives are so busy and in so many meetings that they don’t have time to read the papers they hire me to write.

Comparing The Effectiveness of Different Types of Masks

The following quotation describes four studies into masks and their effectiveness against covid 19.

We have four studies that we’re comparing and 95 masks with surgical masks. These studies had a total of almost 9000 participants, which is a big enough number so that it should be able to find a meaningful difference if there was one. Overall 45% of the participants in and 95 group developed respiratory infections compared to 55% in the surgical facemask group. This is a relative risk reduction of 19% which is nothing but the difference was not statistically significant. What can we conclude? Well, n 95. Masks may reduce the frequency of respiratory infections slightly when compared with surgical masks. Although the difference that was seen in these studies could just be the result of chance. Finally, if we look at the one study that compared surgical masks with cloth masks, the study had 1607 participants in which 580 were in the surgical mask group. And 569 people were in the cloth mask group, and 458 were controls. Unfortunately, control in this study didn’t mean no mask but rather that the people in the control group could do whatever they felt like sometimes wearing a cloth mask, sometimes wearing a surgical mask, sometimes wearing an N and 95 mask and sometimes wearing no mask. So the control group doesn’t really help us understand anything. At the end of the trial, 7.6% of the people in the cloth mask group had developed a respiratory infection compared with 77% in the in the control group, and 4.8% in the surgical mask group. As explained above, the control group in the study doesn’t tell us any thing.

The absolute risk reduction was 2.8%, which is a relative risk of 38% risk reduction. So surgical masks that are exchanged regularly definitely seem to be better than cloth masks that are reused. So what conclusions can we draw so far and 95 or possibly a little bit better than search masks and surgical masks are probably better than cloth masks, whatever cloth masks whether cloth masks are better than nothing or for that Matter worse than nothing, there’s unfortunately something we don’t know from these studies. since none other research is thought to be Good idea to have a control group that wasn’t wearing any masks. Anyway, let’s get to the studies looking at how effective masks are in a community setting. – Why Most of What You Know About Covid is Wrong

This changed my view on the N95 mask, which had always been explained to me as the gold standard of masks.

The next question of course is masks versus going without masks.

A Study into Masks Versus No Masks

At the present point in time, there has only been one randomized control trial done that looks at whether face masks can prevent the spread of COVID will finish this chapter by analyzing that study in detail it was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in November 2020.

This by itself is curious. World populations have been compelled to purchase and use masks, yet there has been so little money and time invested into determining if masks are effective against covid. What a strange imbalance.

The study was carried out in Denmark it was funded by a charitable foundation that is connected with a company that owns supermarkets. I’m not sure whether that means they wanted the study to be a success or a failure or just wanting to know the truth. In total, 6024 people were recruited into the study and of these 4860 to 81% followed through to the end. This study was powered to detect a relative risk reduction of 50%. Half the participants were randomized to wear Face Mask at all times when outside the home and half are randomized not to. For obvious reasons this study was done blinded since it’s hard to create a situation where people are unaware of whether they’re wearing masks. Or not if outside of the home for more than eight hours at a time, they were instructed to change to a new mask so that a single mask was never used for longer than eight hours before being discarded. In the face mask group 1.8% developed COVID over the course of the study in the control group 2.1% developed COVID that is an absolute difference of point 3% in favor of face masks, which means that a relative risk reduction of 14%

So this is a joke. No one would have agreed to mask mandates if they had been told the benefit was so low. The benefit level is essentially so close to zero, it may as well be zero. And yet, for years now, anyone not wearing a mask has been extensively reprimanded for not wearing one in public places. The amusing thing is masks in many countries have been mandated outdoors!

Unfortunately, it is not even close to being statistically significant. Okay, let’s look instead at the per protocol analysis, which is in practice means that 7% of participants who will often didn’t follow the mask wearing instructions properly are excluded from the analysis in the face mask group 1.8% of all of COVID and in the control group 2.1% developed COVID So interestingly, the result was same regardless of whether you look only at those who wore the mask as intended or look at any everyone, including those who didn’t follow the instructions. This in itself suggests that mask wearing doesn’t make a big difference. Since the results don’t change when you only look at people who have been good at wearing their masks as intended.

What can we conclude from this study?

Wearing face masks when out in public does not decrease the probability that the mask wear will get COVID by a large amount. Just as with the earlier studies, it’s possible that there was a small reduction in risk in the region of 10 to 20% relative risk reduction, but the results are not statistically significant. So it’s equally possible that there was no reduction whatsoever. A separate interesting result of the study was that 52 people in the mask and the facemask group and 39 people in the control group reported another individual in the home having COVID during the course of the study, yet of those only three actually developed the COVID people sharing a home with someone with COVID were really no more likely to get COVID then people who weren’t.

This is also peculiar, and was not at all explained to the public.

This suggests that most COVID infections happen outside the home and is it in itself something that would be an interesting avenue for further further research. It also suggests that most people with COVID are not themselves very infectious, giving further support to the hypothesis that most infections happen through a small group of highly infectious super spreaders. – Why Most of What You Know About Covid is Wrong

The Risks of Facemasks to Health

All we hear about is the risk reduction of masks, however, there is also another side, which is the dangers that come with facemasks.

However, when you have chronic oxygen deprivation, all of those symptoms disappear, because you get used to it. But your efficiency will remain impaired and the under-supply of oxygen in your brain continues to progress.

We know that neurodegenerative diseases take years to decades to develop. If today you forget your phone number, the breakdown in your brain would have already started 20 or 30 years ago.

While you’re thinking that you have gotten used to wearing your mask and rebreathing your own exhaled air, the degenerative processes in your brain are getting amplified as your oxygen deprivation continues.

The second problem is that the nerve cells in your brain are unable to divide themselves normally. So in case our governments will generously allow as to get rid of the masks and go back to breathing oxygen freely again in a few months, the lost nerve cells will no longer be regenerated. What is gone is gone.

I do not wear a mask, I need my brain to think. I want to have a clear head when I deal with my patients, and not be in a carbon dioxide-induced anaesthesia.

For children and adolescents, masks are an absolute no-no. Children and adolescents have an extremely active and adaptive immune system and they need a constant interaction with the microbiome of the Earth. Their brain is also incredibly active, as it is has so much to learn. The child’s brain, or the youth’s brain, is thirsting for oxygen.

To deprive a child’s or an adolescent’s brain from oxygen, or to restrict it in any way, is not only dangerous to their health, it is absolutely criminal. Oxygen deficiency inhibits the development of the brain, and the damage that has taken place as a result CANNOT be reversed.

When, in ten years, dementia is going to increase exponentially, and the younger generations couldn’t reach their god-given potential, it won’t help to say “we didn’t need the masks”.

I know how damaging oxygen deprivation is for the brain, cardiologists know how damaging it is for the heart, pulmonologists know how damaging it is for the lungs. Oxygen deprivation damages every single organ.

Where are our health departments, our health insurance, our medical associations? It would have been their duty to be vehemently against the lockdown and to stop it and stop it from the very beginning. – Dr. Margarite Griesz-Brisson MD, PhD is a Consultant Neurologist and Neurophysiologist with a PhD in Pharmacology

Changing Mask Mandates Not Based On Anything

This video explains that in February of 2022, the changes also made no sense.

Conclusion

The studies converge on masks being either completely ineffective or very marginally effective and stopping the spread of coronavirus. To the point that there is no reason to wear masks of any kind.

All of the studies enforce far more stringent rules regarding masks that are employed in the general public. Therefore that 3% or so benefit would be even less under the way masks are used generally by the public.

Secondly — this does not count the negative impacts of mask-wearing, such as reduced oxygen flow (which makes one more susceptible to the coronavirus), and the general inconvenience of masks.

However, the lack of evidence for the effectiveness of masks did not stop the health authorities and private businesses from mandating them. This is a devastating indictment on the lack of ability of health authorities to bring across the results of research or to incorporate it in their policies.