Once upon a time, sanity and science reigned supreme during responses to pandemics. There was a period of time between the Dark Ages and today when we actually followed logic, science, and learned experience and understood that masks do not stop viruses. You might be wrestled to the ground by police in Australia today for not wearing a mask, but 17 years ago it was the mask proponents who were on the hook for lying about mask efficacy in Australia.
We've all seen the warning labels from mask manufacturers that masks don't work against viruses, which used to be common knowledge among all government agencies as well as laymen. But during the SARS outbreak of 2003, the Australian government warned companies not to mislead the public about their effectiveness in mitigating the spread of SARS 1.
In an article titled, "Farce mask: It's safe for only 20 minutes," the Sydney Morning Herald reported on April 27, 2003, "Retailers who cash in on community fears about SARS by exaggerating the health benefits of surgical masks could face fines of up to $110,000." Then-NSW Fair Trading Minister Reba Meagher threatened prosecution of those mask manufacturers who exaggerated the level of protection afforded by medical masks. "I'm sure everyone would agree that it is un-Australian to profiteer from people's fears and anxieties," Ms. Meagher said.
How times have changed!
The irony is that, if anything, the science against mask-wearing is even clearer today than in 2003. It has now become clear that SARS-like viruses spread through microscopic aerosols, not primarily via large droplets. Those virions are often 30 times smaller than the pores in surgical masks, let alone the larger pores of the cloth masks most commonly worn. Also, the loose seal around the face for the overwhelming majority of people who don't properly clamp the mask is a source of all sorts of virion emissions. However, the Sidney Morning Herald noted at the time that masks were ineffective even against larger droplets.
"Those masks are only effective so long as they are dry," said Professor Yvonne Cossart of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University of Sydney.
"As soon as they become saturated with the moisture in your breath they stop doing their job and pass on the droplets."
Professor Cossart said that could take as little as 15 or 20 minutes, after which the mask would need to be changed. But those warnings haven't stopped people snapping up the masks, with retailers reporting they are having trouble keeping up with demand.
Now consider the fact that people are wearing this mask (or even more ineffective cloth masks) for hours on end, often reusing them for multiple days! And yet, nobody in government is questioning the consequential assumptions they have made forcing young children, seniors, and people with disabilities to continue wearing these absurd cloths, despite 10 months of evidence showing that shockingly high levels of mask-wearing fail to alter the natural trajectory of the epidemiological curve.
This video is a good demonstration of how worthless masks are in stopping aerosols.
https://t.co/vOqHTs9gDJ— Sammy Luquion (@Sammy Luquion)1612298889.0
On April 3, already several weeks into the unprecedented lockdown over coronavirus, but before the big media push for universal masking, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued guidance for respiratory protection for workers exposed to people with the virus. It stated clearly what governments had said all along about other forms of airborne contamination, such as smoke inhalation — "Surgical masks and eye protection (e.g., face shields, goggles) were provided as an interim measure to protect against splashes and large droplets (note: surgical masks are not respirators and do not provide protection against aerosol-generating procedures)."
It wasn't until October that the CDC finally admitted to the aerosol threat indoors, but even then declined to acknowledge that it was the primary method of transmission and that therefore masks are useless. This is a point that Biden's top epidemiologist, Michael Osterholm, made last June. Now, Osterholm has joined a group of scientists criticizing the CDC for continuing to downplay aerosol transmission and not updating its indoor guidance based on this fact. But the irony is that Osterholm still won't acknowledge that he was right to assert that surgical and cloth masks don't work against the spread of this virus. Instead, they are now pushing for even tougher mandates to prevent indoor gathering or requiring N95 masks that are form-fitted.
It is unsustainable for large swaths of the public to wear masks that really cut off the aerosols for hours because, absent state-of-the-art oxygenation, wearing these devices for long periods of time will reduce oxygen flow. Moreover, their view on aerosols is an admission that this virus cannot be avoided in any realistic manner. Given that at least a third of the country has gotten the virus and many more vulnerable people have been vaccinated, it is simply insane to continue this charade.
What's worse about the mask mandate is that it's very likely that improper masking actually aerosolizes the droplets that would otherwise fall to the ground. As Megan Mansell, a PPE expert for OSHA and ADA compliance, writes at Rational Ground, "The worst part of all is the ability of commonly-used face coverings to aerosolize respiratory droplets that would otherwise have fallen in a predictable arc of approximately 6 feet."
Instead, these aerosolized particulates remain aloft for extended periods after passing through the mask, responding to airflow patterns (like HVAC systems and breathing), effectively evading the 6-feet-over or 6-feet-under rhetoric, as the aerosol range is 18-20 feet.
Plosive force, which is caused by respiratory activities such as sneezing, blowing raspberries, coughing, screaming, and snorting, among others, pushes larger droplets forcefully through woven fibers like flour through a sieve, and droplets that would have otherwise just fallen in that neat, predictable arc are now sent aloft within respiratory range, where they can remain for hours, effectively increasing atmospheric viral load in contained spaces.
The "experts" are implicitly yielding this point by now, moving on to requiring double masking (a counterproductive absurdity in itself, which weakens the seal on the first mask) and by recognizing the thin evidence behind universal masking months into this sadistic and shameful ritual. Just this week, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control conceded that "there are still significant uncertainties about the size" of the effect of surgical masks and that the evidence in support of homemade cloth masks (which is what most people wear when indoors for long periods of time due to comfort) "is scarce and of very low certainty." Yet they still double down on using them!
But 10 months into the failure of the masks to change the trajectory of the virus one iota, why do we continue to treat this as a harmless intervention, especially as it relates to children, who aren't even in danger of the virus? Aside from the psychological or physical effects, has anyone considered the future damage to the speech and social development of children? A recent analysis in Scientific American showed that babies begin lip-reading at eight months and that obscuring their ability to mimic the facial expressions of adults impedes their language development. Of course, the author still declines to actually attack the mask mandate despite making the case for how harmful it is.