Mask mandates and case rates: “no significant relationship” (Lancet)

The statement

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been called out for its misleading justification of school mask mandates before. Rarely has it come from one of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals, such as “The Lancet.”

Two scientific researchers soft-peddle criticism of the CDC’s mask mandate claims in a new article entitled, “Revisiting Pediatric COVID-19 Cases in Counties With and Without School Mask Requirements—United States, July 1—October 20 2021.” But the results are devastating for the CDC’s support of school mask mandates.

Research abstract follows:

Background: There has been considerable debate around mask requirements in schools in the United States and other countries during the Covid-19 pandemic. To date, there have been no randomized controlled trials of mask requirements in children. All analyses of the effectiveness of school mask mandates have relied on observational studies. The Centers for Disease Control in the U.S. have released multiple observational studies suggesting that school mask mandates significantly reduce case rates. However, there have also been numerous additional US and international observational studies finding no significant effect of school mask mandates on pediatric cases. 

Methods: Our study replicates a highly cited CDC study showing a negative association between school mask mandates and pediatric SARS-CoV-2 cases. We then extend the study using a larger sample of districts and a longer time interval, employing almost six times as much data as the original study. We examine the relationship between mask mandates and per-capita pediatric cases, using multiple regression to control for differences across school districts. 

Findings: Replicating the CDC study shows similar results; however, incorporating a larger sample and longer period showed no significant relationship between mask mandates and case rates. These results persisted when using regression methods to control for differences across districts. Interpretation: School districts that choose to mandate masks are likely to be systematically different from those that do not in multiple, often unobserved, ways. We failed to establish a relationship between school masking and pediatric cases using the same methods but a larger, more nationally diverse population over a longer interval. Our study demonstrates that observational studies of interventions with small to moderate effect sizes are prone to bias caused by selection and omitted variables. Randomized studies can more reliably inform public health policy.   

The source

beckernews.com, 29 May 2022 (https://beckernews.com/new-study-at-the-lancet-debunks-widely-cited-cdc-study-justifying-school-mask-mandates-45145/)

(Original article: Revisiting Pediatric COVID-19 Cases in Counties With and Without School Mask Requirements—United States, July 1—October 20 2021, Lancet pre-print posted 25 May 2022 ( https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4118566 )

My take on it

Once again for the dummies: Masks don’t work.

The research approach is commendable in that it first replicates the prior observational CDC study, and then improves the methodology to a randomised controlled study – only to evince a contrary finding. From a scientific perspective the findings of the latter study should automatically prevail (unless and until proved wrong by subsequent endeavour).

Nonetheless, “The one convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

The tone in which the paper was written, has been described by Becker as ‘soft-peddle criticism of the CDC’s mask mandate claims.’ We understand why that might be so. You don’t cut off the hand that feeds you.

Masking: No pro’s, just cons

The statement

“More Than a Dozen Credible Medical Studies Prove Face Masks Do Not Work Even In Hospitals!

The medical literature for the past forty-five years has been consistent: masks are useless in preventing the spread of disease and, if anything, are unsanitary objects that themselves spread bacteria and viruses.

Mandating masks has not kept death rates down anywhere. The 20 U.S. states that have never ordered people to wear face masks indoors and out have dramatically lower COVID-19 death rates than the 30 states that have mandated masks. Most of the no-mask states have COVID-19 death rates below 20 per 100,000 population, and none have a death rate higher than 55. All 13 states that have death rates higher 55 are states that have required the wearing of masks in all public places. It has not protected them.”

The source

Arthur Firstenberg writing in Vision Launch Media (August 15, 2020)

( https://visionlaunch.com/more-than-a-dozen-credible-medical-studies-prove-face-masks-do-not-work-even-in-hospitals/ )
 

My take on it

First, the pro’s.

The main argument used to support masking as a public health measure is that they stop or significantly impede transmission of the virus from one person to another.The science does not support that argument.

I have also heard NSW Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant say words to the effect that (notwithstanding the case against them) masks are still helpful as a reminder to the public to be on their guard. In all the circumstances that statement is ignorant, insensitive, and condescending. And against the public interest..

The cons?

Expired air is a waste product of bodily function. As Martin Geddes pointed out, to re-breathe our expired air makes as much sense as eating our own scat, or drinking our own urine or sweat.

Atmospheric air contains about 20.9% oxygen.  Expired air contains about 16%.  Atmospheric air contains about 0.04% (400ppm) carbon dioxide.  Expired air contains 4%, a hundred times more.

So the re-breathing of our expired air deprives our bodies of life-sustaining oxygen, and intoxicates them with CO2. Bad idea. Very bad idea. Some of my earlier posts indicate how bad.

And then there are the adverse impacts on social interaction, and particularly on childhood formation.

For a more detailed treatment , may I recommend The Case Against Masking by Dr Judy Mikovits.

Mandatory masks: “a depraved act of violence”

The Statement

“Being forced to rebreathe your own exhaled air is no different in principle to being made to consume your own pee, scat, or puke. It’s one thing to do it as a voluntary act in a private fetish context (each to their own, live and let live); but is a depraved act of violence when enforced by the state and corporations under duress.”

The Source

Martin Geddes, Martin Geddes Channel on Telegram, 7 May 2021

My take on it

Not everyone is so gifted at both thinking and writing.

For more, may I recommend Open Your Mind to Change, by the same author?

Lockdown: Ineffectual, says the evidence

The statement

“Here are the 25 most stringent lockdown states graphed against the 25 least stringent; there must be a radical different between the two groups, right?
Shouldn’t those hospitalization numbers be wildly different? And yet you can’t even tell them apart.”

The source

Eric @IAmTheActualET on Twitter, cited by Dr Tom Woods

( https://mailchi.mp/tomwoods/faucitx?e=7bd75a31a9 )

My take on it

As a measure, ‘Hospitalisations’ has much to commend it, although the evidence suggests that it has been compromised by mis-attribution.   We can only hope that the mis-attribution was balanced between the two quotients.

As for the implication, I am already persuaded.

How about you?  What would it take?

Was it Benjamin Franklin who said, “A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.”

So I’ll sign off with that ad line from Hyundai:  “Please consider.”