Correlation Between Mask Compliance and COVID-19 Outcomes in Europe

Authors: Beny Spira Published: April 19, 2022 DOI: 10.7759/cureus.24268


Abstract

Masking was the single most common non-pharmaceutical intervention in the course of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Most countries have implemented recommendations or mandates regarding the use of masks in public spaces. The aim of this short study was to analyse the correlation between mask usage against morbidity and mortality rates in the 2020-2021 winter in Europe. Data from 35 European countries on morbidity, mortality, and mask usage during a six-month period were analysed and crossed. Mask usage was more homogeneous in Eastern Europe than in Western European countries. Spearman’s correlation coefficients between mask usage and COVID-19 outcomes were either null or positive, depending on the subgroup of countries and type of outcome (cases or deaths). Positive correlations were stronger in Western than in Eastern European countries. These findings indicate that countries with high levels of mask compliance did not perform better than those with low mask usage.

Introduction

Universal masking has been introduced during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic at an unprecedented global scale as an important tool to curb viral transmission among potential susceptible persons. Face masks still are one of the most significant and controversial symbols in the fight against COVID-19. Two large randomised controlled trials about mask effectiveness performed during the pandemic came out with mixed results [1,2]. Several studies that analysed the effect of masks on the general population (ecological studies) have concluded that masks were associated with a reduction in transmission and cases [3-7]. However, these studies were restricted to the summer and early autumn of 2020. From March 2020 onwards, country after country instituted some form of mask mandate or recommendation. The stringency of these measures varied among the different countries and they, therefore, resulted in different proportions of mask compliance, ranging from 5% to 95% [8]. Such heterogeneity in mask usage among neighbouring countries provided an ideal opportunity to test the effect of this non-pharmaceutical intervention on the progression of a strong COVID-19 outburst.

Materials & Methods

Study design

This analysis aimed to verify whether mask usage was correlated with COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. Daily data on COVID-19 cases and deaths and on mask usage were obtained for all European countries. The rationale behind the choice of European countries for comparison was fourfold: (1) availability and reliability of data; (2) a relative population homogeneity and shared history of epidemics (comparing countries from different continents may bring too many confounding factors); (3) similar age stratification and access to health assistance; and (4) divergent masking policies and different percentages of mask usage among the different populations, despite the fact that the entire continent was undergoing an outburst of COVID-19 at the time period analysed in this study.

Inclusion criterion

Data were collected from the following Eastern and Western European countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland. The inclusion criterion was a population size higher than one million people.

Data retrieval

Data on morbidity, mortality, and mask usage were retrieved from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington [8]. Data from IHME were downloaded on 14th February 2022. IHME mask data sources are the Delphi Group at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland COVID-19 Trends and Impact Surveys, in partnership with Facebook, Kaiser Family Foundation, and YouGov COVID-19 Behaviour Tracker Survey (https://www.healthdata.org). Data on vaccination were obtained from Our World in Data (OWID) [9] on 4th April 2022.

Statistical analysis

Data from 35 European countries on morbidity, mortality, and mask usage during a six-month period were collected and analysed. Spearman’s correlation analyses and Shapiro-Wilk normality checks were in JASP (version 0.15; University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands) [10] and linear regressions in Wolfram Mathematica 13.0 (Wolfram Research, Inc., Champaign, Illinois) [11].

Results

This brief communication reports the correlation between the proportion of mask usage in the population and the number of cases (per million) and deaths (per million) from October 2020 to March 2021 in 35 European countries (Table 1). For this analysis, all European countries, including West and East Europe, with more than one million inhabitants were selected, encompassing a total of 602 million people. All analysed countries underwent a peak of COVID-19 infection during these six months (Figures 12). The average proportion of mask usage in the referred period was 60.9% ± 19.9%, slightly higher in Eastern than in Western Europe (62.1% and 59.6%, respectively). However, the level of mask compliance was considerably more homogeneous in East (SD = 13.4%) than in West European countries (SD = 25.4%).

CountryAverage mask usage1Cases/millionDeaths/million
Albania53%40990679
Bosnia and Herzegovina40%430781738
Bulgaria55%464051784
Croatia29%600391334
Czechia52%1374942418
Hungary77%647042064
North Macedonia67%520481413
Poland72%579661315
Romania81%428981121
Serbia54%64829521
Slovakia76%1283261779
Slovenia69%1011981879
Belarus55%25595149
Estonia64%78525639
Latvia64%52493972
Lithuania74%756641252
Republic of Moldova66%480451102
Ukraine67%34298686
Austria55%56237959
Belgium71%669051135
Denmark14%34942312
Finland46%12252100
France76%58354928
Germany57%29671791
Greece84%23722745
Ireland71%40270587
Italy91%543101223
Netherlands51%68009596
Norway29%1534075
Portugal84%700561397
Spain95%55480968
Sweden5%70356759
Switzerland53%62669927
United Kingdom62%576891363
Northern Ireland68%545671039
Shapiro-Wilk p-value20.0560.0040.693
Table 1: Proportion of mask usage and the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths per million throughout the 2020-2021 late fall and winter (1st October to 31st March) in Europe.

Percent of the population reporting always wearing a mask when leaving home.

Shapiro-Wilk test for normality.

Mortality-from-COVID-19-throughout-the-pandemic-in-East-European-countries.
Figure 1: Mortality from COVID-19 throughout the pandemic in East European countries.

The area between vertical black bars corresponds to the period analysed in this study (1 October 2020 to 31 March 2021). Data were downloaded on 14 February 2022 from Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

Mortality-from-COVID-19-throughout-the-pandemic-in-West-European-countries.
Figure 2: Mortality from COVID-19 throughout the pandemic in West European countries.

The area between vertical black bars corresponds to the period analysed in this study (1 October 2020 to 31 March 2021). Data were downloaded on 14 February 2022 from Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

Surprisingly, weak positive correlations were observed when mask compliance was plotted against morbidity (cases/million) or mortality (deaths/million) in each country (Figure 3). Neither the number of cases nor the proportion of mask usage followed a Gaussian distribution (Shapiro-Wilk p-values were 0.004 and 0.0536, respectively). A Spearman’s rank test was applied to quantify the correlation between mask usage, cases, and deaths (Table 2). The positive correlation between mask usage and cases was not statistically significant (rho = 0.136, p = 0.436), while the correlation between mask usage and deaths was positive and significant (rho = 0.351, p = 0.039). The Spearman’s correlation between masks and deaths was considerably higher in the West than in East European countries: 0.627 (p = 0.007) and 0.164 (p = 0.514), respectively. This difference could be associated with the fact that the most populous countries are located in West Europe. However, the correlations did not significantly change when the seven countries with populations > 20 million were excluded from the analysis (cases rho = 0.129 (p = 0.513); deaths rho = 0.375 (p = 0.049)). Analyses of other sub-groups, such as countries with populations smaller or higher than six million, higher than 10 million, or higher than 15 million, were also evaluated. None of these tests provided negative correlations between mask usage and cases/deaths.

Correlation-between-average-mask-compliance-and-cases/million-(A)-or-deaths/million-(B)-in-35-European-countries.-
Figure 3: Correlation between average mask compliance and cases/million (A) or deaths/million (B) in 35 European countries.

Each dot represents a country. The blue line represents the fitted regression line and the areas above and below indicate 1 σσ (yellow), 2 σσ (green), or 3 σσ (red). 

TerritoryMasks x casesMasks x deaths
All Europe0.136 (0.436)0.351 (0.039)*
Eastern Europe10.130 (0.606)0.164 (0.514)
Western Europe20.05 (0.848)0.627 (0.007)*
Table 2: Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient rho (p-value) between mask usage and COVID-19 cases or deaths.

1 Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine.

2 Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland.

* Statistically significant.

Discussion

Mask mandates were implemented in almost all world countries and in most places where masks were not obligatory, their use in public spaces was recommended [12]. Accordingly, the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as other public institutions, such as the IHME, from which the data on mask compliance used in this study were obtained, strongly recommend the use of masks as a tool to curb COVID-19 transmission [8,13]. These mandates and recommendations took place despite the fact that most randomised controlled trials carried out before and during the COVID-19 pandemic concluded that the role of masks in preventing respiratory viral transmission was small, null, or inconclusive [1,2,14,15]. Conversely, ecological studies, performed during the first months of the pandemic, comparing countries, states, and provinces before and after the implementation of mask mandates almost unanimously concluded that masks reduced COVID-19 propagation [3-7,16]. However, mask mandates were normally implemented after the peak of COVID-19 cases in the first wave, which might have given the impression that the drop in the number of cases was caused by the increment in mask usage. For instance, the peak of cases in Germany’s first wave occurred in the first week of April 2020, while masks became mandatory in all of Germany’s federal states between the 20th and 29th of April [5], at a time when the propagation of COVID-19 was already declining. Furthermore, the mask mandate was still in place in the subsequent autumn-winter wave of 2020-2021, but it did not help preventing the outburst of cases and deaths in Germany that was several-fold more severe than in the first wave (Figure 2).

The findings presented in this short communication suggest that countries with high levels of mask compliance did not perform better than those with low mask usage in the six-month period that encompassed the second European wave of COVID-19. It could be argued that some confounding factors could have influenced these results. One of these factors could have been different vaccination rates among the studied countries. However, this is unlikely given the fact that at the end of the period analysed in this study (31th March 2021), vaccination rollout was still at its beginning, with only three countries displaying vaccination rates higher than 20%: the UK (48%), Serbia (35%), and Hungary (30%), with all doses counted individually [9]. It could also be claimed that the rise in infection levels prompted mask usage resulting in higher levels of masking in countries with already higher transmission rates. While this assertion is certainly true for some countries, several others with high infection rates, such as France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain had strict mask mandates in place since the first semester of 2020. In addition, during the six-month period covered by this study, all countries underwent a peak in COVID-19 infections (Figures 12), thus all of them endured similar pressures that might have potentially influenced the level of mask usage.

Conclusions

While no cause-effect conclusions could be inferred from this observational analysis, the lack of negative correlations between mask usage and COVID-19 cases and deaths suggest that the widespread use of masks at a time when an effective intervention was most needed, i.e., during the strong 2020-2021 autumn-winter peak, was not able to reduce COVID-19 transmission. Moreover, the moderate positive correlation between mask usage and deaths in Western Europe also suggests that the universal use of masks may have had harmful unintended consequences.


References

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Speech Therapist: 364% Surge In Baby And Toddler Referrals Thanks To Mask Wearing

A speech therapist says that mask wearing during the pandemic has caused a 364% increase in patient referrals of babies and toddlers.

Authors: by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News, SUNDAY, JAN 30, 2022 – 03:50 PM

Jaclyn Theek told WPBF News that before the pandemic, only 5 per cent of patients were babies and toddlers, but this has soared to 20 per cent.

Parents are describing their children’s speech problems as “COVID delayed,” with face coverings the primary cause of their speaking skills being seriously impaired.

As young as 8 months old, babies start learning how to speak by reading lips, a thankless task if parents and caregivers smother themselves with masks to comply with mandates.

“It’s very important kids do see your face to learn, so they’re watching your mouth,” said Theek.

The news report featured one such mother, Briana Gay, who is raising five children but having speech problems with her youngest.

“It definitely makes a difference when the world you’re growing up in you can’t interact with people and their face, that’s super important to babies,” said Gay.

According to Theek, since the pandemic, autism symptoms are also skyrocketing.

“They’re not making any word attempts and not communicating at all with their family,” she said.

As we previously highlighted, Forbes deleted an article written by an education expert who asserted that forcing schoolchildren to wear face masks was causing psychological trauma.

A study by researchers at Brown University found that mean IQ scores of young children born during the pandemic have tumbled by as much as 22 points while verbal, motor and cognitive performance have all suffered as a result of lockdown.

Michael Curzon noted that two of the primary causes for this are face masks and children being atomized as a result of being kept away from other children.

“Children born over the past year of lockdowns – at a time when the Government has prevented babies from seeing elderly relatives and other extended family members, from socialising at parks or with the children of their parent’s friends, and from studying the expressions on the faces behind the masks of locals in indoor public spaces – have significantly reduced verbal, motor and overall cognitive performance compared to children born before, according to a new U.S. study. Tests on early learning, verbal development and non-verbal development all produced results that were far behind those from the years preceding the lockdowns,” he wrote.

Perhaps all the virtue signalers who think of themselves as such morally upstanding people for wearing masks will change their behavior given they are literally contributing to causing major cognitive problems in children.

Or maybe they simply won’t care, given that the mask is now a political status symbol above anything else.

Delta variant likely to bring a fall and winter of masks, vaccine mandates, anxiety

Authors: Rong-Gong Lin II, Luke Money Fri, August 20, 2021, 8:00 AM

The rise of the Delta variant has upended previous optimistic projections of herd immunity and a return to normal life, with many health experts believing mask mandates and tougher vaccine requirements will be needed in the coming months to avoid more serious coronavirus surges.

While there are promising signs that California’s fourth COVID-19 surge may be starting to flatten, the fall and winter will bring new challenges as people stay indoors more often and vaccine immunity begins to wane.

The rapid spread of Delta among the unvaccinated — and the still relatively small number of “breakthrough” cases among the vaccinated — shows that significant increases in inoculations will help stop the spread. In fact, officials are now preparing to provide booster shots to those who already got their first series of vaccinations, saying the extra dose is needed to keep people protected.

Still, “the vaccines themselves are not going to likely be sufficient. And during times of increased transmission, we’ll need other tools available to protect all of us — and particularly those who, at this time, can’t be vaccinated, like our children,” said UC San Francisco epidemiologist Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo.

California is in a better position than other states because of relatively higher vaccination rates, and there is little appetite for a return to stay-at-home orders. But in settings where more people gather, strategies that can be used to keep COVID-19 controlled include ensuring people are either vaccinated, have a recent negative coronavirus test or both, Bibbins-Domingo said.

“There will be a time when we have our masks off again as transmission goes back down. But I think we’re going to have to be prepared that if we’re in an environment when there’s more virus around, that it is sensible that we have another layer of protection — and that will be masks,” Bibbins-Domingo said. “And I don’t think we’re going to be totally throwing our masks away anytime soon, frankly.”

Policies like mandatory masking and requiring vaccines or regular testing in workplaces “are going to be very important if we are ever going to get over this pandemic,” said Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, a medical epidemiologist and infectious-diseases expert at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

It was once thought that as soon as 70% to 85% of a population was vaccinated, communities would reach a high enough level of herd immunity that the threat of COVID-19 would be mostly behind us. Now, “that’s out the window,” Bibbins-Domingo said, and computer models suggest the coronavirus will be with us for the foreseeable future. “Almost certainly, we’ll be dealing with it this winter.”

How long the pandemic will last depends on any new variants that emerge, the ability to adapt the vaccines to them and temporary measures that may be needed to tamp down surges, Bibbins-Domingo said.

There are several key factors that have altered what we previously understood about COVID-19 and underscore just how far off the end of the pandemic still is.

The first is the emergence of the Delta variant — at least twice as transmissible as the previous dominant variant, Alpha, and capable of producing a viral load up to 1,000 times greater in the upper throat.

“The big challenge with Delta is that it’s so much more transmissible than the original strain. … And really, this is possibly an unprecedented change in terms of the amount of the” shift in the so-called R-naught, or the basic reproductive rate of the coronavirus, Shane Crotty, a vaccine researcher at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, recently told a forum at UC San Francisco.

Originally, a person infected with the ancestral strain of the coronavirus spread it to 2.5 other people on average. But the Delta variant is estimated to spread to five to eight other people. That means that within 10 cycles of transmission of the virus, in a population with no immunity to the virus, instead of fewer than 10,000 people being infected, more than 60 million will be infected, Dr. Carlos del Rio, an Emory University epidemiologist and infectious-diseases expert, said at the same UC San Francisco forum.

This is why vaccine mandates will become more important, especially at places of employment, del Rio said. “I think the going phrase that we’re hearing over and over is: ‘No jab, no job.’ And I think mandates are going to make a big difference,” he said.

Second, breakthrough infections — in which fully vaccinated people become infected with COVID-19 — are still uncommon but no longer rare. “I think vaccinated persons are much safer than unvaccinated persons, but they’re not completely safe. Breakthrough infections occur often enough with Delta that you will see them,” del Rio said.

While a vaccinated person with a breakthrough infection can transmit the virus to others, he or she is likely to be infectious for a significantly fewer number of days, del Rio said. “And therefore your contribution to transmission is much lower if you’re vaccinated than if you’re not.”

And that’s why wearing masks indoors remains important. Del Rio said many infectious-diseases doctors never stopped masking indoors, even after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it wasn’t necessary for fully vaccinated people.

Vaccinated people with breakthrough infections have much more mild illnesses because the body is already equipped to defend itself against the virus and likely can avoid lung illnesses or hospitalization, said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, a deputy health officer for Orange County. But without prior immunity, the virus can lodge deeper into the body and cause more severe illness, eventually making it very difficult to breathe.

In Los Angeles County in April, fully vaccinated people accounted for 5% of all coronavirus cases; by July, they accounted for 30%. But fully vaccinated people, who now account for 55% of L.A. County residents of all ages, continue to be well-protected against hospitalization.

Unvaccinated older adults — age 50 and above — are 12 times more likely to be hospitalized than their vaccinated counterparts, and unvaccinated younger adults are 25 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who are fully vaccinated in that age group.

For More Information: https://news.yahoo.com/delta-variant-likely-bring-fall-120056591.html

Most face masks won’t stop COVID-19 indoors, study warns

Authors: by John Anderer

New research reveals that cloth masks filter just 10% of exhaled aerosols, with many people not wearing coverings that fit their face properly.

WATERLOO, Ontario — N95 or KN95 face masks may be the best way to avoid COVID-19 during crowded indoor events. That’s the recommendation from a new study reporting most cloth masks just don’t do the job when it comes to stopping the spread of coronavirus within enclosed spaces.

Researchers from the University of Waterloo simulated a person breathing in a large room with a cloth face mask on. Despite wearing a mask, the study finds a large buildup of aerosol droplets suspended in the air. Besides raising awareness on the vulnerability of certain face masks, these findings also emphasize the need for proper ventilation indoors. More ventilation means less of a chance for potentially viral aerosols to linger around.

“There is no question it is beneficial to wear any face covering, both for protection in close proximity and at a distance in a room,” says study leader Serhiy Yarusevych, a professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering, in a university release. “However, there is a very serious difference in the effectiveness of different masks when it comes to controlling aerosols.”

Studies continue to show that aerosols exhaled by infected individuals can indeed infect others with COVID-19, even if someone is standing more than six feet away.

For More Information: https://www.studyfinds.org/face-masks-wont-stop-covid-indoors/

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

A collection of articles and other resources on the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, including clinical reports, management guidelines, and commentary.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)     VACCINE RESOURCES     VACCINE FAQ https://www.nejm.org/coronavirus

All Journal content related to the Covid-19 pandemic is freely available.

For More Information: https://www.nejm.org/coronavirus

COVID-19 false dichotomies and a comprehensive review of the evidence regarding public health, COVID-19 symptomatology, SARS-CoV-2 transmission, mask wearing, and reinfection

Authors: Kevin EscandónAngela L. RasmussenIsaac I. BogochEleanor J. MurrayKarina EscandónSaskia V. Popescu & Jason Kindrachuk BMC Infectious Diseases volume 21, Article number: 710 (2021) 

Abstract

Scientists across disciplines, policymakers, and journalists have voiced frustration at the unprecedented polarization and misinformation around coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Several false dichotomies have been used to polarize debates while oversimplifying complex issues. In this comprehensive narrative review, we deconstruct six common COVID-19 false dichotomies, address the evidence on these topics, identify insights relevant to effective pandemic responses, and highlight knowledge gaps and uncertainties. The topics of this review are: 1) Health and lives vs. economy and livelihoods, 2) Indefinite lockdown vs. unlimited reopening, 3) Symptomatic vs. asymptomatic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, 4) Droplet vs. aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2, 5) Masks for all vs. no masking, and 6) SARS-CoV-2 reinfection vs. no reinfection. We discuss the importance of multidisciplinary integration (health, social, and physical sciences), multilayered approaches to reducing risk (“Emmentaler cheese model”), harm reduction, smart masking, relaxation of interventions, and context-sensitive policymaking for COVID-19 response plans. We also address the challenges in understanding the broad clinical presentation of COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 transmission, and SARS-CoV-2 reinfection. These key issues of science and public health policy have been presented as false dichotomies during the pandemic. However, they are hardly binary, simple, or uniform, and therefore should not be framed as polar extremes. We urge a nuanced understanding of the science and caution against black-or-white messaging, all-or-nothing guidance, and one-size-fits-all approaches. There is a need for meaningful public health communication and science-informed policies that recognize shades of gray, uncertainties, local context, and social determinants of health.

For More Information: https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-021-06357-4

Masking school children is abuse

No scientific studies support the CDC guidance

Authors: PrintBy Jenny Beth MartinSaturday, August 14, 2021

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

When it comes to imposing mask mandates – especially for school children – Democrats simply don’t get it. If President Joe Biden and his cronies don’t pay more attention to parents and the health care professionals who care for their children, they’re going to set themselves up for an even worse shellacking than the one they suffered in 2010, when they lost 63 seats in the House of Representatives and brought an end to their short-lived era of one-party rule.

Mr. Biden said last week his administration is “checking” to see whether or not he has the legal authority to order a nationwide mask mandate for school children. “I don’t believe I do [have that power], thus far,” he told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. “We’re checking that.”

That sounds suspiciously similar to what he said two weeks ago regarding the CDC-promulgated eviction moratorium – right before his administration had the CDC issue a “new” eviction moratorium.

But what’s a Supreme Court ruling when you’re a radical Democrat convinced you know best? Certainly, nothing to worry about, at least not enough to prevent you from doing something you don’t believe you have the legal authority to do. After all, to paraphrase (a most likely apocryphal quote) from Joseph Stalin, how many divisions does John Roberts have at his disposal?

First things first: Despite the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, parents know that school children should not be forced to wear masks as a condition of attending class in person. The CDC’s new guidance isn’t based on any scientific study proving that wearing masks reduces Covid transmission in children, as Drs. Marty Makary and H. Cody Meissner pointed out in a recent op-ed, there has been no scientific study with data to prove the point.

Further, explain Drs. Makary and Meissner, not only is there not any proof that forcing children to wear masks will help them; there actually is proof that forcing children to wear masks will hurt them: “[Children] who have myopia can have difficulty seeing because the mask fogs their glasses … Masks can cause severe acne and other skin problems. The discomfort of a mask distracts some children from learning. By increasing airway resistance during exhalation, masks can lead to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. In March, Ireland’s Department of Health announced it won’t require masks in schools because they ‘may exacerbate anxiety or breathing difficulties for some students.’ Some children compensate for such difficulties by breathing through their mouths. Chronic and prolonged mouth breathing can alter facial development. It is well-documented that children who mouth-breathe because adenoids blocks their nasal airways can develop a mouth deformity and elongated face.”

For More Information: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/aug/14/masking-school-children-is-abuse/

Do Masks Work? A Review Of The Evidence

Authors: BY TYLER DURDEN

Seriously people—STOP BUYING MASKS!” So tweeted then–surgeon general Jerome Adams on February 29, 2020, adding, “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus.”

Two days later, Adams said, “Folks who don’t know how to wear them properly tend to touch their faces a lot and actually can increase the spread of coronavirus.”

Less than a week earlier, on February 25, public-health authorities in the United Kingdom had published guidance that masks were unnecessary even for those providing community or residential care:

“During normal day-to-day activities facemasks do not provide protection from respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19 and do not need to be worn by staff.”

About a month later, on March 30, World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Program executive director Mike Ryan said that

“there is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any particular benefit.”

He added,

“In fact there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite” because of the possibility of not “wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly” and of “taking it off and all the other risks that are otherwise associated with that.”

For More Information: https://www.zerohedge.com/covid-19/do-masks-work-review-evidence

Do Masks Work?

A review of the evidence

Authors: Jeffrey H. AndersonAugust 11, 2021 Covid-19Health CarePolitics and law

Seriously people—STOP BUYING MASKS!” So tweeted then–surgeon general Jerome Adams on February 29, 2020, adding, “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus.” Two days later, Adams said, “Folks who don’t know how to wear them properly tend to touch their faces a lot and actually can increase the spread of coronavirus.” Less than a week earlier, on February 25, public-health authorities in the United Kingdom had published guidance that masks were unnecessary even for those providing community or residential care: “During normal day-to-day activities facemasks do not provide protection from respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19 and do not need to be worn by staff.” About a month later, on March 30, World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Program executive director Mike Ryan said that “there is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any particular benefit.” He added, “In fact there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite” because of the possibility of not “wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly” and of “taking it off and all the other risks that are otherwise associated with that.”

Surgical masks were designed to keep medical personnel from inadvertently infecting patients’ wounds, not to prevent the spread of viruses. Public-health officials’ advice in the early days of Covid-19 was consistent with that understanding. Then, on April 3, 2020, Adams announced that the CDC was changing its guidance and that the general public should hereafter wear masks whenever sufficient social distancing could not be maintained.

Fast-forward 15 months. Rand Paul has been suspended from YouTube for a week for saying, “Most of the masks you get over the counter don’t work.” Many cities across the country, following new CDC guidance handed down amid a spike in cases nationally caused by the Delta variant, are once again mandating indoor mask-wearing for everyone, regardless of inoculation status. The CDC further recommends that all schoolchildren and teachers, even those who have had Covid-19 or have been vaccinated, should wear masks.

The CDC asserts this even though its own statistics show that Covid-19 is not much of a threat to schoolchildren. Its numbers show that more people under the age of 18 died of influenza during the 2018–19 flu season—a season of “moderate severity” that lasted eight months—than have died of Covid-19 across more than 18 months. What’s more, the CDC says that out of every 1,738 Covid-19-related deaths in the U.S. in 2020 and 2021, just one has involved someone under 18 years of age; and out of every 150 deaths of someone under 18 years of age, just one has been Covid-related. Yet the CDC declares that schoolchildren, who learn in part from communication conveyed through facial expressions, should nevertheless hide their faces—and so should their teachers.

How did mask guidance change so profoundly? Did the medical research on the effectiveness of masks change—and in a remarkably short period of time—or just the guidance on wearing them?

Since we are constantly told that the CDC and other public-health entities are basing their recommendations on science, it’s crucial to know what, specifically, has been found in various medical studies. Significant choices about how our republic should function cannot be made on the basis of science alone—they require judgment and the weighing of countless considerations—but they must be informed by knowledge of it.

In truth, the CDC’s, U.K.’s, and WHO’s earlier guidance was much more consistent with the best medical research on masks’ effectiveness in preventing the spread of viruses. That research suggests that Americans’ many months of mask-wearing has likely provided little to no health benefit and might even have been counterproductive in preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

For More Information: https://www.city-journal.org/do-masks-work-a-review-of-the-evidence

Anti-maskers hurl abuse, threats after Tennessee school board reinstates mandate

Authors: By Yaron Steinbuch

Wild video captured a group of irate people in Tennessee hurling threats at health care professionals and school board members after a mask mandate was reinstated — with one man threatening, “We know who you are! You can leave freely, but we will find you!”

The chaos erupted Tuesday night in Franklin, just south of Nashville, where the Williamson County Board of Education approved the mask requirement for elementary schools as protesters gathered outside, according to News Channel 5.

During the heated debate before the measure was passed, a parent who identified himself as former Marine Daniel Jordan told the board, “Actions have consequences. If you vote for this, we will come for you, in a non-violent way,” CNN reported.

He added: “In the past, you dealt with sheep, now prepare yourself to deal with lions.”

Dr. Jennifer King, a parent and physician, told the board, “As a pediatric ICU physician, we are seeing more younger previously healthy children admitted with respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome than we have in prior strains, as cases in children are on the rise.

“This trend will only worsen if we don’t act now,” she said during the raucous meeting, where attendees cheered, clapped and booed. Police escorted some disruptive people out of the room, footage shared on Twitter shows.

For More Information: https://nypost.com/2021/08/12/anti-maskers-hurl-threats-after-school-board-reinstates-mandate/