Initially I respected the call by my local Governor in Connecticut to protect our fellow citizens. Deep down I thought it was a little foolish to mandate masks, but love all people and thought I would wear one to help others feel safer. Then, I started digging a little further into the scientific literature. I have discovered that masks are neither safe nor effective. So, as schools prepare to create policies for children returning to school in the fall, we must keep these things in mind.
In Epidemics 2017, a meta-analysis concluded that masks had a non-significant protective effect. In the Annuals of Internal Medicine, April 2020, “neither surgical nor cotton masks effectively filtered SARS-CoV-2 during coughs by affected people.”
According to a University of New South Wales,
the widespread use of masks by healthcare workers may put them at
increased risk of respiratory illness and viral infections, and their
global use should be discouraged.
In the British Medical Journal 2015,
“Over three times, the risk of contracting influenza-like illness if a
cloth mask is used versus no mask at all.” Contaminated masks and masks
holding moisture and pathogen retention can increase the risk of
A 2016 study in the Journal ofExposure Science & Environmental Epidemiologyfound
97% of particles penetrated cloth masks, and 44% of particles
penetrated medical masks. They reported that cloth masks are only
marginally beneficial in protecting individuals from particles less than
2.5 micrometers. As referenced in the New England Journal of Medicine, the size of Coronavirus particles varied between 0.06 micrometers and 0.14 micrometers.