To summarize, some studies indicate that surgical masks and respirators worn by medical professionals in a medical setting show efficacy in reducing the odds of infections, but NO studies show disposable, cotton or paper masks, such as those foisted upon the general public by our glorious leaders, reduce your chances of infection.
In fact, one of the studies that compared N95 to surgical masks found no difference in infection rates between the two, which the study suggests might be due to people touching the N95 mask and contaminating it because it’s not as comfortable to wear. In the only study that focused specifically on cloth masks, it found an increased risk of infection by people who wore them.
How many times a day are people touching their grimy cotton face diapers with unwashed hands, and then pressing that damp contaminated surface against their facial orifices? How many people are dead now because they wore a face diaper and they infected themselves because of this bad advice?
For more information on why face diapers don’t work and are a bad idea, look no further than this Association of American Physicians and Surgeons article.
Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza. We similarly found limited evidence on the effectiveness of improved hygiene and environmental cleaning.
The first randomized controlled trial of cloth masks.
- Penetration of cloth masks by particles was 97% and medical masks 44%, 3M Vflex 9105 N95 (0.1%), 3M 9320 N95 (<0.01%).
- Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection.
- The virus may survive on the surface of the face masks
- Self-contamination through repeated use and improper doffing is possible. A contaminated cloth mask may transfer pathogen from the mask to the bare hands of the wearer.
- Cloth masks should not be recommended for health care workers, particularly in high-risk situations, and guidelines need to be updated.
Conclusion: Face mask use in health care workers has not been demonstrated to provide benefit in terms of cold symptoms or getting colds. A larger study is needed to definitively establish noninferiority of no mask use.
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.
There is some evidence to support the wearing of masks or respirators during illness to protect others, and public health emphasis on mask wearing during illness may help to reduce influenza virus transmission. There are fewer data to support the use of masks or respirators to prevent becoming infected. Further studies in controlled settings and studies of natural infections in healthcare and community settings are required to better define the effectiveness of face masks and respirators in preventing influenza virus transmission.
None of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask/respirator use and protection against influenza infection.
We found no significant difference in risk of influenza-like illness between N95 respirators and surgical masks in the meta-analysis of the 3 RCTs (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.19–1.41; I2 = 18%) (Figure 2). We also found no significant difference in risk of workplace absenteeism between N95 respirators and surgical masks in the 1 RCT that measured this outcome.
Our analysis confirms the effectiveness of medical masks and respirators against SARS. Disposable, cotton or paper masks are not recommended.
Dr. Jeffrey Barke gives a detailed explanation of why wearing cloth face diapers is at best a useless idea, and at worst a harmful one.