A new study published in January 2021 has investigated and summarised many other studies on the use of different types of masks (or no masks) on the prevention of transmission of the SARS-2 coronavirus, as well as the health risks and complications that the wearing of masks may cause (Vainshelboim, 2021). This new study is very appropriate, with many people currently affected by governmental mask mandates.
Some interesting points in this new study, found these observations (which were found in other studies too):
- N95 respirator masks are tight-fitting commercial masks which have a filter for the incoming air to reduce exposure to infectious or damaging particles. The filter makes breathing more difficult. However N95 respirator masks offer NO protection to other people, if the wearer has any respiratory infection, as there is no filter on exhaled breath, hence can INCREASE the transmission of infections to others!
- Surgical masks are designed to be used in STERILE environments (such as in hospitals) more as a barrier against splashes, spit and other body fluids to prevent contaminating the wearer. As they are very loose fitting, they offer very little protection from infections to other people
- Fabric and cloth masks offer the most minimal protection or filtration
- The majority of COVID deaths were in the elderly with chronic health conditions already. The SARS-2 virus may exacerbate existing conditions but rarely causes death by itself
- Masks can restrict breathing, to cause hypoxemia (low oxygen pressure in the blood), hypercapnia (high carbon dioxide in the blood), increased respiratory complications, self-contamination (from repeated touching of surfaces and the mask, or breathing in contaminated air), and exacerbation of existing chronic conditions
- Conversely, increasing breathing and especially oxygen intake levels has been used for medical treatments for hospitalised patients and especially those with COVID-19 symptoms
- Mild or moderate hypoxemia or hypercapnia from wearing masks can change energy metabolism, decrease pH levels (towards acidic) in cells and blood, and cause toxicity, oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, immunosuppression (poor immune function, at a time you really need it working!), and health deterioration
- Severe hypoxemia and hypercapnia can cause cardiopulmonary and neurological conditions, including heart attacks, arrhythmias, dizziness, high or low blood pressure, fainting, fatigue, headaches, and other issues including death
- Using surgical masks for a longer time (60 mins) can reduce the blood oxygen saturation by more than 1%
- Masks are ineffective at blocking viral particles that are much smaller than the gaps in the threads of the masks, and filtration of masks is very poor
- Breathing through masks increases the temperature and humidity of the mask and respiratory tracts, causing the release of toxic chemicals from the mask's materials, increasing the risks of breathing in other pathogens and toxic contaminants
- There have been studies looking at the effects that masks have on reducing transmission or infectivity between people infected with SARS-2. There was no difference in transmission rates between those who wore masks or not.
- Another study found no transmissions from an asymptomatic SARS-2 carrier to 445 others, even in a shared quarantine space for an average of 4-5 days
- Even amongst healthcare workers, masks and respirators were not effective against transmission of viral infections, in many studies
- One RCT study looking at cloth masks found a 13-times higher risk of flu-like illness, compared to those wearing a surgical mask or no mask
- More studies comparing N95 respirators and surgical masks found no reduction in virus transmissions in the community (even with over 33,000 participants)
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) changed their guidance on wearing masks from early 2020 to say that "masks were not required as no evidence was available for their benefit", to a few months later say that even cloth masks "can prevent the infected wearer transmitting the virus to others, and offer protection to the HEALTHY wearer against infection", but based on limited or no evidence
- The CDC has stated that only people with symptoms should consider wearing a mask, and in asymptomatic people the wearing of masks was not recommended
- There are many possible physical facial harms to the wearer of masks, such as lesions, dermatitis, worsening acne, and other discomfort
- People with mental health disorders, developmental disabilities, hearing problems, or living in humid environments, children, or those with respiratory conditions, are at SIGNIFICANT health risk for complications and harm
- Wearing of masks remove self-identity and affects social interactions and relationships, resulting in poor mental and physical health
- Wearing of masks was associated with a 50% increase in mortality due to depression, anxiety, and suicide
- The fear associated with the pandemic and effects of wearing masks activates the "flight or fight" response of higher cortisol (stress hormone) and its effects on the body - reduced brain function, and greatly reduced immune system function, being the natural and fundamental body system that is needed at this time to protect you from infections or to fight them
- The long-term consequences of wearing masks can be severe and devastating, as a result of physiological and psychological stresses and the hypoxemia and hypercapnia effects - including increased risks of heart disease and cancers, due to effects on the blood and a reduced function of the immune system.
The study concludes with the following points:
- Scientific evidence is lacking for the wearing of masks to reduce mortality or morbidity from infectious or viral diseases including the SARS-2 coronavirus
- Both medical and non-medical masks are ineffective to reduce human-to-human transmission and infectivity of SARS-2 and COVID-19
- Wearing of masks has adverse physiological and psychological effects
- Long-term consequences of wearing of masks on health are severely detrimental.
Local, state and federal governments, businesses and companies, public health advisors, doctors, and other healthcare practitioners MUST give quality advice based on the scientific evidence, NOT on what may appear to be common sense (that the wearing of masks in this alleged pandemic may appear to be). There is very little scientific evidence (or none that I have seen) that shows that wearing of any type of mask offers protection to the wearer or to others, for the prevention of transmission of viral respiratory infections, including the SARS-2 coronavirus.
All health authorities should reconsider the mask mandates in light of this study, and many others. There are other better ways to reduce the risks of this virus, and improve immune system function and overall health, to prevent infections or protect you from them. That is what they have NOT done thus far in this pandemic and this has to change.
Sadly you can't quote this and other studies as a reason to not wear a mask. But you can and should use the available medical exemptions to not wear one, especially for children, or those with respiratory conditions, mental health conditions, disabilities, or other valid reasons.
Vainshelboim, B. (2021). Facemasks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis. Medical Hypotheses, 146, 110411. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2020.110411