by Dr. Joseph Mercola
Cochrane Library recently updated its 2020 systematic
review of physical interventions to reduce respiratory
illnesses. The update included an additional 11
randomized controlled trials, bringing the total number
of RCTs included to 78
in its 2020 review, they found no evidence to support
the use of surgical face masks or N95 respirators to
prevent influenza or COVID-19 infection
relative risk reduction of using surgical masks in the
general population (within hospitals and communities at
large) to reduce symptoms of flu-like/COVID-like illness
(not lab confirmed) was a statistically insignificant
same goes for reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza
and COVID. Here, the relative risk reduction was 1.01
with a confidence interval of 0.72 to 1.42. In other
words, it’s a wash. On average, it raises your risk of
lab-confirmed infection by 1%. Range-wise, it may lower
your risk by 28% or raise it by as much as 42%
review also found "no clear differences between the use
of medical/surgical masks compared with N95/P2
The question of whether we should wear face masks or not to prevent
the spread of
COVID-19 has been a hotly contested issue ever since
our so-called health authorities came out with the recommendation in
Some of us were quick to point out the obvious, namely
masks cannot filter out viruses due to the virus being far
smaller than the holes in the fabric.
Surgical masks have only ever been used to prevent droplets of
saliva to drip into open wounds during surgery, potentially causing
That's all they were ever designed to do...!
Numerous studies looking at mask-wearing during cold and flu season
in years past came up empty, showing masks are not a viable
Yet the narrative we were fed was that masks will
somehow prevent respiratory infection, and not wearing one meant you
had no regard for the health and safety of others.
Never mind the fact that a healthy person cannot transmit disease in
the first place. The asymptomatic spread fallacy was still used to
reinforce the idea that everyone had to wear a mask, regardless of
whether they were ill or not.
You couldn't even debate the issue.
The propaganda angle was the only viewpoint allowed to circulate.
Today, three years later, mask policies are cropping up yet again,
especially in schools, 1 and health care facilities.
2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
submitted a final rule to the Office of Information and Regulatory
Affairs and Office of Management and Budget for review which, if
approved and implemented, would make universal masking in health
care facilities a PERMANENT rule.
The largest nursing union in the U.S., National Nurses United, is
also pushing to include permanent rules for,
"screening and testing
of patients, visitors and staff, measures ensuring optimal PPE,
exposure notifications for healthcare workers and paid leave for
those exposed or infected with COVID-19," according to Health Care
All of this despite the fact that the scientific
underpinnings are now even shakier than they were in 2020.
The AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) is
even going so far as to claim mask wearing can help prevent heart
Florida Surgeon General Dr.
Joseph Ladapo had the
following to say about the AARP's attempt to invent benefits for
mask wearers: 4
Scientific Review Published
The latest of these studies is a meta-analysis and systematic review
by the Cochrane Library, 5,6,7,8,9 an independent
research organization that has been reviewing the use of physical
interventions to reduce respiratory illnesses since 2010. 10
The Cochrane Library
the gold-standard independent research organization –
reviewing the use of physical interventions
to reduce respiratory
like COVID and influenza since 2010.
Cochrane reviews have long been recognized as the gold standard in
evidence-based health care as their analyses look at the whole body
of published science, and every few years, reviews are updated to
include the latest research findings.
For example, reports on "Physical Interventions to Interrupt or
Reduce the Spread of Respiratory Viruses" were published in 2010,
2011, 2020 and January 30, 2023.
In the video above, Dr. Vinay Prasad, a hematologist-oncologist,
health researcher and professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at
the University of California, reviews 11 the latest Cochrane review,
which added 11 new randomized controlled trials (RTCs) and cluster-RCTs
to their previous 2020 analysis.
That brings the total number of RCTs included in the systematic
review to 78.
Six of the 11 new RCTs were conducted during the COVID
'pandemic' and looked at the spread of COVID-19 specifically.
Evidence to Back Surgical Mask Recommendations
The Cochrane investigators concluded that, while there's,
"uncertainty about the effects of face masks" due to trial bias and
low adherence by participants, the pooled results of randomized
controlled trials (RTCs) "did not show a clear reduction in
respiratory viral infection with the use of medical/surgical masks."
Here's an excerpt from the review:
"Medical or surgical masks - Ten studies took place in the
community, and two studies in healthcare workers.
Compared with wearing no mask in the community studies only, wearing
a mask may make little to no difference in how many people caught a
flu-like illness/COVID-like illness (9 studies; 276,917 people); and
probably makes little or no difference in how many people have flu/COVID
confirmed by a laboratory test (6 studies; 13,919 people)."
The relative risk reduction of using surgical masks in the general
population (within hospitals and communities at large) to reduce
symptoms of flu-like/COVID-like illness (not lab confirmed) was
A value below 1 indicates the intervention improved outcomes,
whereas a value above 1 shows it made it worse.
So, here, surgical
masks was associated with a relative risk reduction of 5%.
However, it's not statistically significant, as the confidence
interval ranges from 0.84 to 1.09. 13 So, it may lower your risk by
as much as 16% or raise it by 9%.
As noted by Prasad, the most
accurate way to describe this finding is that,
"we have not proven
there is an effect."
This is conclusive... This is the reality...
You just don't have
credible evidence [for masking],
and the science didn't change...
This is what the science has always shown.
Dr. Vinay Prasad
The same goes for reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza and COVID.
Here, the relative risk reduction was 1.01 with a confidence
interval of 0.72 to 1.42.
In other words, it's a complete wash.
average, it raises your risk of lab-confirmed infection by 1%.
Range-wise, it may lower your risk by 28% or raise it by as much as
So, masking really has
no effect on confirmed infection rates
(which, by the way, is more important than reports of perceived
As noted by the authors, the analysis,
wearing a medical/surgical mask probably makes little or no
difference compared to not wearing a mask for this outcome."
"This is conclusive," Prasad says.
"This is the reality... You just
don't have credible evidence [for masking], and I want to tell you
this: The science didn't change... This is what the science has
N95 Masks Are
The review also found,
"no clear differences between the use of
medical/surgical masks compared with N95/P2 respirators."
detailed by the authors: 14
"N95/P2 respirators -
Four studies were in healthcare workers, and one small study was
in the community.
Compared with wearing medical or surgical
masks, wearing N95/P2 respirators probably makes little to no
difference in how many people have confirmed flu (5 studies;
And may make little to no difference in how many
people catch a flu-like illness (5 studies; 8407 people), or
respiratory illness (3 studies; 7799 people)."
Experts Simply Lied
So, in conclusion, none of the new studies that were added made one
iota of difference.
Masks were unable to prevent influenza
transmission before the 'pandemic', and they still fail to prevent
respiratory infections, be it the flu or COVID.
But, if there was no evidence to back masking in the first place,
how did we end up with mask mandates?
our public health
authorities started lying...
As noted by Prasad:
"Anthony Fauci told
the truth on '60 Minutes' - the first time. The second time when he
said you have to wear a cloth mask... he was lying."
Yet somehow, they managed to convince everyone that
the truth was
the lie and the lie was the truth.
A clip from Fauci's "60 Minutes" appearance is featured in "The
Jimmy Dore Show" video above, as are some of his later public
announcements where he suddenly promotes mask wearing and defends
Population-Wide Mask Mandates 'Never Made Sense'
In a February 3, 2023, article in The Spectator, 15 lead author
Jefferson and Carl Heneghan, director of the University of Oxford's
Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine and former editor-in-chief of BMJ
Evidence-Based Medicine, explained why the 2020 Cochrane review was
unable to influence public health policy on masking:
"This is the second update of the review since the start of the
The first update was delayed by seven months due to
unexplained editorial decisions.
It was too late when it came out in
November 2020 to make a difference to national COVID policy; by
then, activism, low-quality observational evidence and government
policy had set the agenda for mask mandates, and the damage had been
Often these government policies relied on observational studies on
mask usage and the spread of COVID. But there are lots of flaws in
For example, in the absence of a study protocol setting out methods
before the study is done, it is possible to shift the dates of an
observational analysis to suit the rise and fall in infections.
if you time your analysis near the peak of infections, the results
will favor mask interventions as the infection rate quickly
But when we pointed out in November 2020 16 the troubling lack of
robust evidence on face masks and the problems with observational
studies, we were shouted down, removed from Facebook and put on the
government's secret watchlist...
Mandates that affected the whole population never made sense... even
in high adherence populations such as Japan, they have not stemmed
an inevitable rise in infections.
Part of the problem may be that
during the 'pandemic' the government had to be seen to be doing
something. Interventions like handwashing and vaccines are
invisible, but masks acted as a visible sign of compliance...
What we have witnessed in this
'pandemic' are strong beliefs about
what works and what doesn't...
Several policies such as mask
mandates, restrictions, and unproven interventions now seem absurd
in hindsight. And as the culture of fear has lifted, the population
has become all too aware of their detrimental effects.
We failed to follow an evidence-based approach during the
We are now left with the human, social and economic aftermath of
Agencies 'Steeped in Failure'
As noted by Prasad in an accompanying Substack post: 17
"Who should we be angry with?
Obviously there is a class of twitter
expert that doesn't understand how to read evidence. Some of them
have even been promoted to be deans for public health schools. So
much for public health.
But the real failure is NIAID [National Institutes of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases] and CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention]. It is Tony Fauci...
Fauci controlled NIAID budget. He could have run 10 RCTs
of masking - different masks, different ages, different
settings. He chose to run zero. Instead he went on TV 1,000
times and lied about effectiveness of cloth masks...
CDC and AAP [American Academy of Pediatrics] are also steeped in
failure. These agency forced 2 year olds to mask. Against the advice
of the World Health Organization and UNICEF.
The Cochrane review fails to identify any data that pertains to 2
year olds. The CDC should be ashamed of themselves.
thousands of people working from home, and no one inside the
organization with the ability to stop this policy."
Censored by Propagandists
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this masking debacle has been
the massive censorship and shutting down of healthy scientific
debate, not just among laypeople but among scientists themselves.
Only the yes-men were ever given room to air their perfectly
scripted views, while those who had concerns were silenced,
regardless of their credentials.
YouTube even censored a roundtable
discussion with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and several medical
Because in multiple instances, the doctors said
children didn't need to wear masks, and this position violated
YouTube's "COVID-19 medical misinformation" policy...
In a February 6 Substack article, Jefferson describes the propaganda
effort to twist the findings of the 2023 Cochrane review on masking
and other physical interventions against COVID-19: 18
"We, the co-authors of the Cochrane review... have received several... 'can I please check the main facts and, by the way, tell me what
your review says because I cannot be bothered to do my job' type of
However, we recently got another query...
comes from a very powerful press syndicate:
'I'm reaching out because I've been seeing some posts [links
redacted by TJ] spreading widely on social media that seem to be
misrepresenting the conclusions of your recently published study on
physical interventions and respiratory viruses.
Do you think it is a misrepresentation to claim (as the tweets I
link to above do) that your study definitively proves that masks
don't work in preventing the spread of viruses such as COVID-19 and
If so, I'd be interested in debunking these claims to set
the record straight and would love to speak with you more about the
The disturbing aspect of this request is as follows:
the stringer is
making contact with one of us.
After exchanging pleasantries, he/she
will ask a few superfluous questions.
We have an abstract, a plain language summary, TTE
[Trust the Evidence] posts and a podcast, and Carl and I have
written a Spectator piece covering the review. If you are a real
masochist, you can read all the 300-plus pages of the review...
So there is nothing to explain or fact-check. But the stringer is
not really interested in checking facts.
What they want to do is to
write truthfully that they have spoken to one of us and then put the
spin required in the release to ensure the 'misinterpretation' of twitterati is set straight.
'Debunking' is the term used, and it
will be actioned if the stringer thinks the Twitterati have
'misinterpreted' our findings...
What disturbs me... is the idea of 'debunking' or 'normalization' of
the information flow. We have done the tough work over two decades,
reporting results separately from our interpretation, as in all
The studies' results are the results reported by
the authors of the single studies included in the reviews.
Our interpretation is one you can - and should if you want -
challenge. However, successfully challenging our interpretation
requires hard work, elbow grease, graft, focus, and application.
picking up the phone and speaking to someone, then deciding how to
'debunk' or normalize the message, is so much easier.
The reach of this particular press syndicate is global and powerful.
I wonder why the stringer wanted to 'debunk' the interpretation of
the twitterati mentioned in the text.
To ensure 'truth' triumphed?
Or to ensure no more waves in the official narratives were made by a
bunch of academics or Twitter dwellers?"
While Jefferson now avoids interactions with the mainstream media,
he did agree to an interview with investigative journalist Maryanne Demasi, which you can read here.
He also granted an interview with
Paul D. Thacker, which you can read on Thacker's Substack.
Guilty of Creating Massive Pollution Problem
In addition to the many health problems associated with prolonged
mask wearing, which I've addressed previously, mask policies have
also created a massive pollution problem. Ironically, many pro-mask
activists also claim to be environmentalists, yet they completely
ignore the environmental effects of mask mandates.
According to UNICEF, the world used and discarded an estimated 2.4
billion masks in 2020. 20
Another estimate, calculated by the
University of Southern Denmark, 21 put that number at 129 billion
face masks EACH MONTH. As reported by Business Insider: 22
"Since the very first lockdowns of 2020, these plastic-based
coverings have... been an environmental disaster in the making... [The] rapid adoption of face masks...
means their waste can now be found everywhere...
Discarded masks have seeped into every corner of our lives, from
city sidewalks to solemn niches of the internet. 23
They've washed up
on the shores of Hong Kong's deserted Soko Islands and cloaked
octopi off the coast of France.
Scientists and environmental advocates expressed alarm
24 about this
tsunami of waste... They foresaw the dire ecological ramifications of
our mask waste - especially once those masks made their inevitable
way into the earth's waterways.
Elastic loops pose entanglement hazards for turtles, birds, and
other animals. Fish could eat the plastic-fiber ribbons that unfurl
from a discarded mask's body.
Then, there is the untold menace to
human health that would likely present, at the microscopic level,
once masks began to disintegrate."
The global consumption of other single-use plastics also increased
by a whopping 300% in the last three years, further adding to the
problem of plastic pollution.
You'd think governments that claim to
be so concerned about "saving the planet" would address the issue,
As noted by Business Insider:
"[W]orld leaders have ignored the problem. And once the immediate
public-health emergency superseded ecological concerns - the heads
of Big Plastic made sure it stayed that way."
Are Hazardous Waste
Research 26 from Swansea University in Wales reveals single-use masks
readily disintegrate when submerged in water, releasing both micro-
and nanoplastic particles, even after relatively brief periods of
As if that's not bad enough, the masks also release nanoparticles of
heavy metals like lead, cadmium, copper and arsenic. Not only can
this mask litter result in contaminated drinking water, but the
particles can also disrupt entire marine food chains.
Nanoparticles are particularly troublesome as they can penetrate
cell walls and damage DNA, and this is true not just in animals and
humans but also in plants.
As reported by Business Insider:
29 on silicon nanoparticles, in particular, has
shown that if a particle is very small in nano scale, it can act
almost as a tiny, carcinogenic bomb.
Multiply that by a minimum of
several hundred per mask, at a rate of 50,000 masks disposed per
second, and the scope of the dilemma grows vivid."
According to research
30 published in Science of the Total
Environment in September 2021, the polypropylene in medical face
masks could be recycled either by mechanical or thermal means, and
biodegradable mask options are also available.
Yet no one in a
position of power is advocating for these solutions.
High Time to
Discard False Mask Narratives
It's time to put an end to the false narratives that mask wearing
lowers infection rates and/or that it "protects others."
protect no one.
Not the wearer and not those around the wearer.
And, as noted by Prasad in the featured video, the burden of proof
lays on the proponent of a given intervention.
In this case, those
claiming we should mask up to protect others are the ones who have
the responsibility to prove they're correct. The burden of proof is
not on those who object, based on logical and existing evidence.
Universal mask wearing is also resulting in environmental pollution
that is completely unnecessary and avoidable.
wearing disposable masks.
The record has been set
There are no benefits, and
plenty of risks and negative
Sources and References
1, 8, 10
Daily Sceptic February 2, 2023
Health Care Dive December 9, 2022
AARP January 30, 2023
Twitter Joseph Ladapo February 3, 2023
5, 12, 14
Cochrane Library January 30, 2023
Daily Mail February 2, 2023
7, 11, 17
Vinay Prasad Substack February 1, 2023
The Spectator February 3, 2023
Cochrane Library January 30, 2023, Summary of findings 1
The Spectator November 19, 2020
Tom Jefferson Substack February 6, 2023
Maryanne Demasi Substack February 5, 2023
UNICEF December 1, 2021
Science Daily March 10, 2021
22, 25, 27, 28
Business Insider March 25, 2022
DW April 23, 2020
Water Research May 15, 2021; 196: 117033
Carcinogenicity and Mutagenicity of Nanoparticles
Science of the Total Environment September 10, 2021; 786: 147628