By Patrick Wood - 19. June 2020
Once upon a time, there was something called science. It included the discovery of truth about nature, the elements, the universe, etc. It was practiced by honest and accountable practitioners called scientists and engineers. They often invented cool new things as a result of their studies, but generally they had no primal urge to use their knowledge to dominate other people, groups or even entire societies.
Then certain other scientists and engineers rose up and made a discovery of their own. If true science was ever-so-slightly skewed and engineering disciplines were applied to society at large, then they could indeed use their “knowledge” to dominate and control other people, groups, entire societies or even, heaven forbid, the entire planet.
The first group pursued science. The second group pursued pseudo-science.
Merriam-Webster defines pseudo-science as “a system of theories, assumptions, and methods erroneously regarded as scientific.” The Oxford dictionary clarifies by stating, “a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method.“
Pseudo-science quickly emerged as the principal domain of Technocrats, but they soon found that scientific debate with those promoting real science was most inconvenient to their social engineering goals. The solution was simple: claim that their own pseudo-science was indeed the real science, and then refuse debate by excluding all other voices to the contrary.
In the context of pseudo-science, this report will examine the three primary tools of fighting COVID-19: face masks, social distancing and contact tracing.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website plainly states that cloth face masks “Will not protect the wearer against airborne transmissible infectious agents due to loose fit and lack of seal or inadequate filtration.”
But, what about surgical masks? OHSA is clear here also that they “will not protect the wearer against airborne transmissible infectious agents due to loose fit and lack of seal or inadequate filtration.”
But then right under these statements, OSHA furiously backpedaled by adding an FAQ section on COVID-19 directly underneath and stated,
OSHA generally recommends that employers encourage workers to wear face coverings at work. Face coverings are intended to prevent wearers who have Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) without knowing it (i.e., those who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic) from spreading potentially infectious respiratory droplets to others. This is known as source control.
Consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation for all people to wear cloth face coverings when in public and around other people, wearing cloth face coverings, if appropriate for the work environment and job tasks, conserves other types of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as surgical masks, for healthcare settings where such equipment is needed most.
So, wearing a face mask cannot protect you from getting COVID, but it is supposedly able to keep someone else from getting it from you? OSHA is speaking out of both sides of its mouth. What it calls “source control” likely puts the real motive out in the open: since you are the source, it’s about controlling YOU. There is no true scientific rationale for anyone but the sick and medical workers to wear masks.
The truly healthy have no business wearing a mask, period.
But, what about asymptomatic carriers?
On June 8, 2020, Maria Van Herkhove, PhD., head of the World Health Organization’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit released a compilation of a number of contact tracing programs from various nations and plainly stated “From the data we have, it still seems to be very rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual.”
This writer hates to think what happened to Dr. Herkhove overnight at the hands of her WHO handlers, because the next day she also furiously backpedaled and stated “I used the phrase ‘very rare,’ and I think that that’s misunderstanding to state that asymptomatic transmission globally is very rare. I was referring to a small subset of studies.”
It is clear that Dr. Herkhove’s first statement that naively repeated the clear facts of the matter did not follow the WHO’s justification for non-infectious people to wear masks. In fact, the entire mask wearing narrative hangs on the single pseudo-scientific idea that asymptomatic people can spread the virus.
In a recent Technocracy News article authored by highly-respected neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock, MD titled Face Masks Pose Serious Risks To The Healthy, he concluded, “there is insufficient evidence that wearing a mask of any kind can have a significant impact in preventing the spread of this virus.” (Blaylock represents real science.)
Nevertheless, in the face of clear evidence of the worthlessness of face masks for preventing disease,
- States and municipalities are mandating that face masks be worn by all citizens when outside their home
- Large and small companies are forcing their employees to wear masks
- People at large are scared to death to not wear a face mask for fear of getting sick or being mask-shamed by others if they take it off.
Breath Is Vital To Life
Many people believe that face masks lower the percentage of oxygen available for inhaling because you rebreathe much of your exhausted breath. However, a face mask itself does not retain a significant amount of your exhaled breath since most of it is exhaled through the mask into the open atmosphere. Furthermore, when you inhale, most of the air delivered to your lungs comes from outside the mask.
The real science is much more complicated than the amount of residual air contained within a face mask.
The real problem with breathing through a mask is that the lungs and chest muscles must exert a lot of extra energy to inhale and exhale. In other words, you must work harder to breathe the same amount of fresh air that you would normally breathe without a mask.
For this reason, those who already have impaired lung functions, minor as they may be, should never wear a mask unless it is for a specific purpose for a very short period of time. The older you are, especially those over 70, lung capacity and muscle strength decline rapidly.
This writer has already encountered several retail store employees, forced by their employers to wear a face mask during work hours, who exhibit symptoms like headache, shortness of breath or dizziness. When asked if they relate their symptoms to wearing the mask, every single one has emphatically said “Yes!”.
Workers with the most physically demanding jobs are the most likely to exhibit these kind of symptoms. Other considerations are age, any preexisting conditions of the lungs (like pleurisy, COPD, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, etc.) or chest muscles and factors like poor physical condition and obesity. Actually, any debilitating health condition should be a red flag. In other words, those who are prone to get winded without a face mask will immediately be at a disadvantage when wearing a mask. The net effect is that the lungs receive less fresh air with vital oxygen even as the body is under more physical stress.
Every employer and government entity that mandates the wearing of face masks should be required to do two things: first, they should carefully consider each employee as an individual to determine their suitability for wearing a mask. All factors mentioned above should be included, and in any case, no one should be required to wear a mask if it puts too much stress on their lungs.
Many state-level politicians are now mandating the wearing of face masks for all citizens in public places. They have fallen prey to pseudo-science and are now putting entire populations at risk for physical harm that has nothing to do with the COVID-19 virus.
In sum, lung strength, physical condition, age, pre-existing conditions, physical demands of the job, etc., should all be carefully considered by all. A blanket statement that all employees or all citizens should wear face masks it wholly inappropriate.
Adding to the fear of contagion, people across the nation are driven to practice social distancing, or staying 6 feet apart at all times. This is practiced to excess in almost every commercial establishment with markers taped or painted on the floor and shopping isles converted into one-way travel only.
Yet, two real scientists at the University of Oxford in Britain, Professors Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson, wrote in The Telegraph (UK) recently that “the two-metre rule has no basis in science.” Their article was titled There is no scientific evidence to support the disastrous two-metre rule.
According to these scientists,
The influential Lancet review provided evidence from 172 studies in support of physical distancing of one metre or more. This might sound impressive, but all the studies were retrospective and suffer from biases that undermine the reliability of their findings. Recall bias arises in research when participants do not remember previous events accurately, and it is problematic when studies look back in time at how people behaved, including how closely they stood from others.
More concerning was that only five of the 172 studies reported specifically on Covid exposure and proximity with infection. These studies included a total of merely 477 patients, with just 26 actual cases of infection. In only one study was a specific distance measure reported: “came within six feet of the index patient”. The result showed no effect of distance on contracting Covid.
Heneghan and Jefferson further noted,
On further independent inspection of 15 studies included in the review, we found multiple inconsistencies in the data, numerical mistakes and unsound methods in 13 of them. When assumptions over distance were made, we could not replicate any of them.
This is the hallmark of modern pseudo-science: inconsistencies in the data, numerical mistakes, unsound methods and inability to replicate results.
What is the real purpose of social distancing? It certainly is not to curtail contagion. The only other possibility is to curtail economic activity and prevent social cohesion. Humans are social beings, after all, and lack of close proximity leads to depression, anxiety and even serious health consequences.
Contact tracing is an established practice in modern medicine. It is useful for the early stages of serious infectious diseases like Ebola, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia.
Every credible expert on contact tracing says that it is effective only up to the point of mass distribution. In other words, during the early stages of a contagion or a slow moving or very serious disease.
In the case of COVID-19, the horse has already left the barn. Except to harass people, there is nothing useful that contact tracing can accomplish.
Yet, almost every state in America is implementing a wide-ranging contact tracing program that may ultimately employ some 300,000 tracers.
The Center for Disease Control website states that “Contact tracing will be conducted for close contacts (any individual within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes) of laboratory-confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients.”
Furthermore, CDC complete definition of “close contact” is,
Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
If you are “exposed” to such a person, your personal information will be collected and you will be contacted by the “tracer” to be instructed to quarantine for up to two weeks. The infected person could have been mistaken about having contact with you. They could be someone who just wants to get you in trouble. If you live in Washington state, where all restaurants are now required to record the contact information of every patron, you might not have a clue who was infected, but you will be quarantined anyway.
Now, the CDC’s declaration of “6 feet” above takes us back to social distancing, where we just learned above that there is “no effect of distance on contracting COVID” in the first place.
Thus, find that contact tracing misses the mark on two main points: first, the virus is too widespread throughout the population to make tracing effective and second, the criteria of six feet for defining a “contact” is bogus.
So, why are governors, mayors and health departments ramping up for a nationwide exercise in obtrusive contact tracing? Again, pursuing a path of pseudo-science, the intended outcome is control over people.
The American public is being spoon-fed a steady diet of pseudo-science in order to justify the wearing of face masks, social distancing and contact tracing. Yet, the actual science points in the polar opposite direction.
Furthermore, those who try to present the real science are shamed, ridiculed and bullied for having such narrow-minded views.
This is a clear sign of Technocrats-at-work. Instead, these are the ones who should be exposed, shamed and ridiculed.
In sum, these dangerous and destructive policies are designed to curtail economic activity, break down social cohesion and control people. Moreover, they fit the original mission statement of Technocracy as far back as 1938:
Technocracy is the science of social engineering, the scientific operation of the entire social mechanism to produce and distribute goods and services to the entire population…
It is highly doubtful that most state and local leaders understand the lack of real and verified science behind their actions and mandates. Nevertheless, they are implementing policies that are destructive to our economic system, harmful to our personal health and ruinous to personal liberty.
Patrick Wood is editor of Technocracy News & Trends, and a leading and critical expert on Sustainable Development, Green Economy, Agenda 21, 2030 Agenda and historic Technocracy. He is the author of Technocracy: The Hard Road to World Order (2018), Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation (2015) and co-author of Trilaterals Over Washington, Volumes I and II (1978-1980) with the late Professor Antony C. Sutton. Wood remains a leading, critical expert on the elitist Trilateral Commission, their policies and achievements in creating their self-proclaimed “New International Economic Order” which is the essence of Sustainable Development and Technocracy on a global scale.
Permission is granted to repost or reprint this article with original credit and direct link back to Technocracy.news. An updated PDF version suitable for printing may be downloaded here.
This writer suggests that you print multiple copies of this report and deliver it to every political leader, every commercial establishment, all family and friends, etc.
Seeing is Believing: Effectiveness of Facemasks
Using flow visualization of emulated coughs and sneezes, researchers assessed the efficacy of facemasks in obstructing droplets. Loosely folded facemasks and bandana-style coverings provide minimal stopping-capability for the smallest aerosolized respiratory droplets.
By gisele galoustian - 30. June 2020
Currently, there are no specific guidelines on the most effective materials and designs for facemasks to minimize the spread of droplets from coughs or sneezes to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19. While there have been prior studies on how medical-grade masks perform, data on cloth-based coverings used by the vast majority of the general public are sparse.
Research from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, just published in the journal Physics of Fluids , demonstrates through visualization of emulated coughs and sneezes, a method to assess the effectiveness of facemasks in obstructing droplets. The rationale behind the recommendation for using masks or other face coverings is to reduce the risk of cross-infection via the transmission of respiratory droplets from infected to healthy individuals.
Researchers employed flow visualization in a laboratory setting using a laser light sheet and a mixture of distilled water and glycerin to generate the synthetic fog that made up the content of a cough-jet. They visualized droplets expelled from a mannequin’s mouth while simulating coughing and sneezing. They tested masks that are readily available to the general public, which do not draw away from the supply of medical-grade masks and respirators for healthcare workers. They tested a single-layer bandana-style covering, a homemade mask that was stitched using two-layers of cotton quilting fabric consisting of 70 threads per inch, and a non-sterile cone-style mask that is available in most pharmacies. By placing these various masks on the mannequin, they were able to map out the paths of droplets and demonstrate how differently they perform.
Results showed that loosely folded facemasks and bandana-style coverings stop aerosolized respiratory droplets to some degree. However, well-fitted homemade masks with multiple layers of quilting fabric, and off-the-shelf cone style masks, proved to be the most effective in reducing droplet dispersal. These masks were able to curtail the speed and range of the respiratory jets significantly, albeit with some leakage through the mask material and from small gaps along the edges.
Importantly, uncovered emulated coughs were able to travel noticeably farther than the currently recommended 6-foot distancing guideline. Without a mask, droplets traveled more than 8 feet; with a bandana, they traveled 3 feet, 7 inches; with a folded cotton handkerchief, they traveled 1 foot, 3 inches; with the stitched quilting cotton mask, they traveled 2.5 inches; and with the cone-style mask, droplets traveled about 8 inches.
“In addition to providing an initial indication of the effectiveness of protective equipment, the visuals used in our study can help convey to the general public the rationale behind social-distancing guidelines and recommendations for using facemasks,” said Siddhartha Verma, Ph.D., lead author and an assistant professor who co-authored the paper with Manhar Dhanak, Ph.D., department chair, professor, and director of SeaTech; and John Frakenfeld, technical paraprofessional, all within FAU’s Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering. “Promoting widespread awareness of effective preventive measures is crucial at this time as we are observing significant spikes in cases of COVID-19 infections in many states, especially Florida.”
When the mannequin was not fitted with a mask, they projected droplets much farther than the 6-foot distancing guidelines currently recommended by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The researchers observed droplets traveling up to 12 feet within approximately 50 seconds. Moreover, the tracer droplets remained suspended midair for up to three minutes in the quiescent environment. These observations, in combination with other recent studies, suggest that current social-distancing guidelines may need to be updated to account for aerosol-based transmission of pathogens.
“We found that although the unobstructed turbulent jets were observed to travel up to 12 feet, a large majority of the ejected droplets fell to the ground by this point,” said Dhanak. “Importantly, both the number and concentration of the droplets will decrease with increasing distance, which is the fundamental rationale behind social-distancing.”
The pathogen responsible for COVID-19 is found primarily in respiratory droplets that are expelled by infected individuals during coughing, sneezing, or even talking and breathing. Apart from COVID-19, respiratory droplets also are the primary means of transmission for various other viral and bacterial illnesses, such as the common cold, influenza, tuberculosis, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), to name a few. These pathogens are enveloped within respiratory droplets, which may land on healthy individuals and result in direct transmission, or on inanimate objects, which can lead to infection when a healthy individual comes in contact with them.
“Our researchers have demonstrated how masks are able to significantly curtail the speed and range of the respiratory droplets and jets. Moreover, they have uncovered how emulated coughs can travel noticeably farther than the currently recommended six-foot distancing guideline,” said Stella Batalama, Ph.D., dean of FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. “Their research outlines the procedure for setting up simple visualization experiments using easily available materials, which may help healthcare professionals, medical researchers, and manufacturers in assessing the effectiveness of face masks and other personal protective equipment qualitatively.”
COMPUTER SIMULATION OF CONTAGION SPREAD
Masks Don't Work: A Review of Science Relevant to COVID-19 Social Policy
By D.G. Rancourt - 26. June 2020
Originally published on www.ocla.ca
Summary / Abstract
Masks and respirators do not work.
There have been extensive randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies, and meta-analysis reviews of RCT studies, which all show that masks and respirators do not work to prevent respiratory influenza-like illnesses, or respiratory illnesses believed to be transmitted by droplets and aerosol particles.
Furthermore, the relevant known physics and biology, which I review, are such that masks and respirators should not work. It would be a paradox if masks and respirators worked, given what we know about viral respiratory diseases: The main transmission path is long-residence-time aerosol particles (< 2.5 μm), which are too fine to be blocked, and the minimum-infective-dose is smaller than one aerosol particle.
The present paper about masks illustrates the degree to which governments, the mainstream media, and institutional propagandists can decide to operate in a science vacuum, or select only incomplete science that serves their interests. Such recklessness is also certainly the case with the current global lockdown of over 1 billion people, an unprecedented experiment in medical and political history.
Review of the Medical Literature
Here are key anchor points to the extensive scientific literature that establishes that wearing surgical masks and respirators (e.g., "N95") does not reduce the risk of contracting a verified illness:
Jacobs, J. L. et al. (2009) "Use of surgical face masks to reduce the incidence of the common cold among health care workers in Japan: A randomized controlled trial", American Journal of Infection Control, Volume 37, Issue 5, 417 - 419. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19216002
N95-masked health-care workers (HCW) were significantly more likely to experience headaches. Face mask use in HCW was not demonstrated to provide benefit in terms of cold symptoms or getting colds.
Cowling, B. et al. (2010) "Face masks to prevent transmission of influenza virus: A systematic review", Epidemiology and Infection, 138(4), 449-456. doi:10.1017/S0950268809991658 https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection/article/face e-masks-to-prevent-transmission-of-influenza-virus-a-systematicreview/64D368496EBDE0AFCC6639CCC9D8BC05
None of the studies reviewed showed a benefit from wearing a mask, in either HCW or community members in households (H). See summary Tables 1 and 2 therein.
bin-Reza et al. (2012) "The use of masks and respirators to prevent transmission of influenza: a systematic review of the scientific evidence", Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 6(4), 257-267. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/j.1750-2659.2011.00307.x
"There were 17 eligible studies. … None of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask ⁄ respirator use and protection against influenza infection."
Smith, J.D. et al. (2016) "Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks in protecting health care workers from acute respiratory infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis", CMAJ Mar 2016, cmaj.150835; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.150835 https://www.cmaj.ca/content/188/8/567
"We identified 6 clinical studies ... In the meta-analysis of the clinical studies, we found no significant difference between N95 respirators and surgical masks in associated risk of (a) laboratory-confirmed respiratory infection, (b) influenza-like illness, or (c) reported work-place absenteeism."
Offeddu, V. et al. (2017) "Effectiveness of Masks and Respirators Against Respiratory Infections in Healthcare Workers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis", Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 65, Issue 11, 1 December 2017, Pages 1934-1942, https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix681 https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/65/11/1934/4068747
"Self-reported assessment of clinical outcomes was prone to bias. Evidence of a protective effect of masks or respirators against verified respiratory infection (VRI) was not statistically significant"; as per Fig. 2c therein:
Radonovich, L.J. et al. (2019) "N95 Respirators vs Medical Masks for Preventing Influenza Among Health Care Personnel: A Randomized Clinical Trial", JAMA. 2019; 322(9): 824-833. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.11645 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2749214
"Among 2862 randomized participants, 2371 completed the study and accounted for 5180 HCW-seasons. … Among outpatient health care personnel, N95 respirators vs medical masks as worn by participants in this trial resulted in no significant difference in the incidence of laboratory-confirmed influenza."
Long, Y. et al. (2020) "Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks against influenza: A systematic review and meta‐analysis", J Evid Based Med. 2020; 1‐ 9. https://doi.org/10.1111/jebm.12381 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/jebm.12381
"A total of six RCTs involving 9 171 participants were included. There were no statistically significant differences in preventing laboratory‐confirmed influenza, laboratory‐confirmed respiratory viral infections, laboratory‐confirmed respiratory infection and influenza-like illness using N95 respirators and surgical masks. Meta‐analysis indicated a protective effect of N95 respirators against laboratory‐confirmed bacterial colonization (RR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.43‐0.78). The use of N95 respirators compared with surgical masks is not associated with a lower risk of laboratory‐confirmed influenza."
Conclusion Regarding that Masks Do Not Work
No RCT study with verified outcome shows a benefit for HCW or community members in households to wearing a mask or respirator. There is no such study. There are no exceptions.
Likewise, no study exists that shows a benefit from a broad policy to wear masks in public (more on this below).
Furthermore, if there were any benefit to wearing a mask, because of the blocking power against droplets and aerosol particles, then there should be more benefit from wearing a respirator (N95) compared to a surgical mask, yet several large meta-analyses, and all the RCT, prove that there is no such relative benefit.
Masks and respirators do not work.
Precautionary Principle Turned on Its Head with Masks
In light of the medical research, therefore, it is difficult to understand why public-health authorities are not consistently adamant about this established scientific result, since the distributed psychological, economic and environmental harm from a broad recommendation to wear masks is significant, not to mention the unknown potential harm from concentration and distribution of pathogens on and from used masks. In this case, public authorities would be turning the precautionary principle on its head (see below).
Physics and Biology of Viral Respiratory Disease and of Why Masks Do Not Work
In order to understand why masks cannot possibly work, we must review established knowledge about viral respiratory diseases, the mechanism of seasonal variation of excess deaths from pneumonia and influenza, the aerosol mechanism of infectious disease transmission, the physics and chemistry of aerosols, and the mechanism of the so-called minimum-infective-dose.
In addition to pandemics that can occur anytime, in the temperate latitudes there is an extra burden of respiratory-disease mortality that is seasonal, and that is caused by viruses. For example, see the review of influenza by Paules and Subbarao (2017). This has been known for a long time, and the seasonal pattern is exceedingly regular.
For example, see Figure 1 of Viboud (2010), which has "Weekly time series of the ratio of deaths from pneumonia and influenza to all deaths, based on the 122 cities surveillance in the US (blue line). The red line represents the expected baseline ratio in the absence of influenza activity," here:
The seasonality of the phenomenon was largely not understood until a decade ago. Until recently, it was debated whether the pattern arose primarily because of seasonal change in virulence of the pathogens, or because of seasonal change in susceptibility of the host (such as from dry air causing tissue irritation, or diminished daylight causing vitamin deficiency or hormonal stress). For example, see Dowell (2001).
In a landmark study, Shaman et al. (2010) showed that the seasonal pattern of extra respiratory-disease mortality can be explained quantitatively on the sole basis of absolute humidity, and its direct controlling impact on transmission of airborne pathogens.
Lowen et al. (2007) demonstrated the phenomenon of humidity-dependent airborne- virus virulence in actual disease transmission between guinea pigs, and discussed potential underlying mechanisms for the measured controlling effect of humidity.
The underlying mechanism is that the pathogen -laden aerosol particles or droplets are neutralized within a half-life that monotonically and significantly decreases with increasing ambient humidity. This is based on the seminal work of Harper (1961). Harper experimentally showed that viral- pathogen -carrying droplets were inactivated within shorter and shorter times, as ambient humidity was increased.
Harper argued that the viruses themselves were made inoperative by the humidity ("viable decay"), however, he admitted that the effect could be from humidity-enhanced physical removal or sedimentation of the droplets ("physical loss"): "Aerosol viabilities reported in this paper are based on the ratio of virus titre to radioactive count in suspension and cloud samples, and can be criticized on the ground that test and tracer materials were not physically identical."
The latter ("physical loss") seems more plausible to me, since humidity would have a universal physical effect of causing particle / droplet growth and sedimentation, and all tested viral pathogens have essentially the same humidity- driven "decay". Furthermore, it is difficult to understand how a virion (of all virus types) in a droplet would be molecularly or structurally attacked or damaged by an increase in ambient humidity. A "virion" is the complete, infective form of a virus outside a host cell, with a core of RNA or DNA and a capsid. The actual mechanism of such humidity-driven intra-droplet "viable decay" of a virion has not been explained or studied.
In any case, the explanation and model of Shaman et al. (2010) is not dependant on the particular mechanism of the humidity- driven decay of virions in aerosol / droplets. Shaman's quantitatively demonstrated model of seasonal regional viral epidemiology is valid for either mechanism (or combination of mechanisms), whether "viable decay" or "physical loss".
The breakthrough achieved by Shaman et al. is not merely some academic point. Rather, it has profound health-policy implications, which have been entirely ignored or overlooked in the current coronavirus pandemic.
In particular, Shaman's work necessarily implies that, rather than being a fixed number (dependent solely on the spatial-temporal structure of social interactions in a completely susceptible population, and on the viral strain), the epidemic's basic reproduction number (R0) is highly or predominantly dependent on ambient absolute humidity.
For a definition of R0, see HealthKnowlege-UK (2020): R0 is "the average number of secondary infections produced by a typical case of an infection in a population where everyone is susceptible." The average R0 for influenza is said to be 1.28 (1.19-1.37); see the comprehensive review by Biggerstaff et al. (2014).
In fact, Shaman et al. showed that R0 must be understood to seasonally vary between humid-summer values of just larger than "1" and dry-winter values typically as large as "4" (for example, see their Table 2). In other words, the seasonal infectious viral respiratory diseases that plague temperate latitudes every year go from being intrinsically mildly contagious to virulently contagious, due simply to the bio-physical mode of transmission controlled by atmospheric humidity, irrespective of any other consideration.
Therefore, all the epidemiological mathematical modelling of the benefits of mediating policies (such as social distancing), which assumes humidity-independent R0 values, has a large likelihood of being of little value, on this basis alone. For studies about modelling and regarding mediation effects on the effective reproduction number, see Coburn (2009) and Tracht (2010).
To put it simply, the "second wave" of an epidemic is not a consequence of human sin regarding mask wearing and hand shaking. Rather, the "second wave" is an inescapable consequence of an air-dryness-driven many-fold increase in disease contagiousness, in a population that has not yet attained immunity.
If my view of the mechanism is correct (i.e., "physical loss"), then Shaman's work further necessarily implies that the dryness-driven high transmissibility (large R0) arises from small aerosol particles fluidly suspended in the air; as opposed to large droplets that are quickly gravitationally removed from the air.
Such small aerosol particles fluidly suspended in air, of biological origin, are of every variety and are everywhere, including down to virion-sizes (Despres, 2012). It is not entirely unlikely that viruses can thereby be physically transported over inter-continental distances (e.g., Hammond, 1989).
More to the point, indoor airborne virus concentrations have been shown to exist (in day-care facilities, health centres, and onboard airplanes) primarily as aerosol particles of diameters smaller than 2.5 μm, such as in the work of Yang et al. (2011):
"Half of the 16 samples were positive, and their total virus concentrations ranged from 5800 to 37 000 genome copies m-3. On average, 64 per cent of the viral genome copies were associated with fine particles smaller than 2.5 µm, which can remain suspended for hours. Modelling of virus concentrations indoors suggested a source strength of 1.6 ± 1.2 × 105 genome copies m-3 air h -1 and a deposition flux onto surfaces of 13 ± 7 genome copies m-2 h-1 by Brownian motion. Over 1 hour, the inhalation dose was estimated to be 30 ± 18 median tissue culture infectious dose (TCID50), adequate to induce infection. These results provide quantitative support for the idea that the aerosol route could be an important mode of influenza transmission."
Such small particles (< 2.5 μm) are part of air fluidity, are not subject to gravitational sedimentation, and would not be stopped by long-range inertial impact. This means that the slightest (even momentary) facial misfit of a mask or respirator renders the design filtration norm of the mask or respirator entirely irrelevant. In any case, the filtration material itself of N95 (average pore size ~0.3-0.5 μm) does not block virion penetration, not to mention surgical masks. For example, see Balazy et al. (2006).
Mask stoppage efficiency and host inhalation are only half of the equation, however, because the minimal infective dose (MID) must also be considered. For example, if a large number of pathogen- laden particles must be delivered to the lung within a certain time for the illness to take hold, then partial blocking by any mask or cloth can be enough to make a significant difference.
On the other hand, if the MID is amply surpassed by the virions carried in a single aerosol particle able to evade mask-capture, then the mask is of no practical utility, which is the case.
Yezli and Otter (2011), in their review of the MID, point out relevant features:
- most respiratory viruses are as infective in humans as in tissue culture having optimal laboratory susceptibility
- it is believed that a single virion can be enough to induce illness in the host
- the 50%-probability MID ("TCID50") has variably been found to be in the range 100-1000 virions
- there are typically 103-107 virions per aerolized influenza droplet with diameter 1 μm - 10 μm
- the 50%-probability MID easily fits into a single (one) aerolized droplet
For further background:
- A classic description of dose-response assessment is provided by Haas (1993).
- Zwart et al. (2009) provided the first laboratory proof, in a virus-insect system, that the action of a single virion can be sufficient to cause disease.
- Baccam et al. (2006) calculated from empirical data that, with influenza A in humans, "we estimate that after a delay of ~6 h, infected cells begin producing influenza virus and continue to do so for ~5 h. The average lifetime of infected cells is ~11 h, and the half-life of free infectious virus is ~3 h. We calculated the [in-body] basic reproductive number, R0, which indicated that a single infected cell could produce ~22 new productive infections."
- Brooke et al. (2013) showed that, contrary to prior modeling assumptions, although not all influenza-A-infected cells in the human body produce infectious progeny (virions), nonetheless, 90% of infected cell are significantly impacted, rather than simply surviving unharmed.
All of this to say that: if anything gets through (and it always does, irrespective of the mask), then you are going to be infected. Masks cannot possibly work. It is not surprising, therefore, that no bias-free study has ever found a benefit from wearing a mask or respirator in this application.
Therefore, the studies that show partial stopping power of masks, or that show that masks can capture many large droplets produced by a sneezing or coughing mask-wearer, in light of the above -described features of the problem, are irrelevant. For example, such studies as these: Leung (2020), Davies (2013), Lai (2012), and Sande (2008).
Why There Can Never Be an Empirical Test of a Nation-Wide Mask-Wearing Policy
As mentioned above, no study exists that shows a benefit from a broad policy to wear masks in public. There is good reason for this. It would be impossible to obtain unambiguous and bias-free results:
- Any benefit from mask-wearing would have to be a small effect, since undetected in controlled experiments, which would be swamped by the larger effects, notably the large effect from changing atmospheric humidity.
- Mask compliance and mask adjustment habits would be unknown.
- Mask-wearing is associated (correlated) with several other health behaviours; see Wada (2012).
- The results would not be transferable, because of differing cultural habits.
- Compliance is achieved by fear, and individuals can habituate to fear-based propaganda, and can have disparate basic responses.
- Monitoring and compliance measurement are near-impossible, and subject to large errors.
- Self-reporting (such as in surveys) is notoriously biased, because individuals have the self-interested belief that their efforts are useful.
- Progression of the epidemic is not verified with reliable tests on large population samples, and generally relies on non-representative hospital visits or admissions.
- Several different pathogens (viruses and strains of viruses) causing respiratory illness generally act together, in the same population and/or in individuals, and are not resolved, while having different epidemiological characteristics.
Unknown Aspects of Mask Wearing
Many potential harms may arise from broad public policies to wear masks, and the following unanswered questions arise:
- Do used and loaded masks become sources of enhanced transmission, for the wearer and others?
- Do masks become collectors and retainers of pathogens that the mask wearer would otherwise avoid when breathing without a mask?
- Are large droplets captured by a mask atomized or aerolized into breathable components? Can virions escape an evaporating droplet stuck to a mask fiber?
- What are the dangers of bacterial growth on a used and loaded mask?
- How do pathogen-laden droplets interact with environmental dust and aerosols captured on the mask?
- What are long-term health effects on HCW, such as headaches, arising from impeded breathing?
- Are there negative social consequences to a masked society?
- Are there negative psychological consequences to wearing a mask, as a fear-based behavioural modification?
- What are the environmental consequences of mask manufacturing and disposal?
- Do the masks shed fibres or substances that are harmful when inhaled?
By making mask-wearing recommendations and policies for the general public, or by expressly condoning the practice, governments have both ignored the scientific evidence and done the opposite of following the precautionary principle.
In an absence of knowledge, governments should not make policies that have a hypothetical potential to cause harm. The government has an onus barrier before it instigates a broad social-engineering intervention, or allows corporations to exploit fear-based sentiments.
Furthermore, individuals should know that there is no known benefit arising from wearing a mask in a viral respiratory illness epidemic, and that scientific studies have shown that any benefit must be residually small, compared to other and determinative factors.
Otherwise, what is the point of publicly funded science?
The present paper about masks illustrates the degree to which governments, the mainstream media, and institutional propagandists can decide to operate in a science vacuum, or select only incomplete science that serves their interests. Such recklessness is also certainly the case with the current global lockdown of over 1 billion people, an unprecedented experiment in medical and political history.
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D.G. Rancourt - Former tenured and Full Professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. Known for applications of physics education research. Published over 100 scientific articles in the areas of metal physics, materials science, measurement methods, and earth and environmental science, and many social commentary essays. Author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
By Spiro Skouras - June 21, 2020
We are beginning to see more and more mask mandates being rolled out, which raises many questions. Does wearing a mask offer protection from the virus? Does wearing a mask for extended periods of time pose any risk to your health? Can the government or employers really make you wear a mask?
In this interview, Spiro is joined by Dr. Andrew Kaufman to discuss these issues in addition to another concerning aspect regarding mandated masks.
Are we being conditioned to accept other mandates? If they can make you wear a mask, what will they make you do next? Mandatory testing? Mandatory vaccination? Do not miss this important interview!
Dr. Andrew Kaufman’s Website
Department of Labor & OSHA
Department of Labor & OSHA
Universal Masking in Hospitals in the Covid-19 Era
A Cluster Randomised Trial of Cloth Masks Compared With Medical Masks in Healthcare Workers
The Physiological Impact of Wearing an N95 Mask During Hemodialysis as a Precaution Against SARS in Patients With End-Stage Renal Disease
Masks Don’t Work: A Review of Science Relevant to COVID-19 Social Policy