There is apparently no science behind mandatory public masking. None. Multiple analyses of randomized controlled studies over the last decade have demonstrated the inability of facial masks to impede transmission of viruses, e.g., here, here, here, here, here, here, here.
But somewhere between May and July of 2020 an order from on high appears to have been able to convince, or coerce, political leaders, such as Wisconsin’s Governor, various governmental officials, and the boards of countless companies, that all under their leadership and influence must wear facial coverings in public.
Consider: Anthony Fauci is mainstream media’s highly showcased expert. In March, 2020, citing accumulated knowledge based on science, Fauci stated flatly that there is no reason for the public to be masked. But by May that all had changed, and the best explanation for masking that he could come up with was that it’s “symbolic”.
Consider: In May, 2020, Communicable Disease Center (CDC) acknowledged that public masking is ineffective in stemming transmission. But only two months later, in July, 2020, the CDC recommends masking with absolutely no scientific justification for the change. It is a directive to just do it. (Note: Below on the CDC web page, a link to “emerging evidence” takes one to a bibliography which in fact is not of controlled studies but simply of observations, reports of infection rates, most having nothing per se to do with masking. There is no scientific evidence of mask efficacy, so one must assume the mere presence of the bibliography was intended to deter further scrutiny).
Consider: In October, 2016, Canada’s Oral Health Group published an extensive review of the literature encompassing 36 earlier studies regarding the use of facial masks. The title: “Why Face Masks Don’t Work: A Revealing Review”. The subtitle read “Yesterday’s Scientific Dogma is Today’s Discarded Fable”. The idea of facial masks blocking transmission was found to be “fable”.
But search that title today, and find “Update”, followed by “If you are looking for ‘Why Face Masks Don’t Work: A Revealing Review’ by John Hardie, BDS, MSc, PhD, FRCDC, it has been removed. The content was published in 2016 and is no longer relevant in our current climate.” The reader is instead referred to a July, 2020 article titled “Understanding Personal Protective Equipment”, merely a comparison of different mask types, and a governmental “web hub” about buying and selling personal protective gear, including masks. An excellent review of scientific studies had been censored without explanation.
Wisconsin, USA: In the contained environment of Wisconsin, the Governor ordered citizens to wear masks in public, effective August 1, 2020. On July 3, 2020, the State’s Chief Medical Officer, in a televised interview, stated “Now the science is in”. [Because of] “recent studies with large numbers of patients in large numbers of countries…. we have hard evidence that risk of transmission goes down dramatically when people wear masks.” “Hard scientific evidence” would necessarily indicate randomized controlled trials so persuasive as to counter the wealth of previous studies. Mere field observations would not be adequate for such a position.
This came as a surprise, because in May, 2020, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine stated “We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection.” In the same month, the Communicable Disease Center (CDC) posted “In pooled analysis, we found no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks.” Not understanding how proper trials could have been accomplished globally, then undergone peer review prior to publication in so short a time, I emailed the Chief Medical Officer on August 21, 2020 a request for citations. The text of my request is shown here in full (but compressed):
“Dear Dr. Westergaard: In a July appearance on Wisconsin Public Television’s Here and Now, you stated that recent studies have shown with certainty that mask wearing by the general public protects against becoming infected with a virus as well as against transmission to others. I’m writing to ask for citations to some of the studies to which you refer. Having that information would be of great help in my discussions with others in the biological community. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, William B. Willers, Emeritus Professor of Biology.”
I have not received a reply, and naturally it leads me to suspect that no studies have been carried out that would justify the claim, so I wondered about the provenance of such an opinion. According to his biography, he has both MS and Ph.D degrees from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (named after donor Michael Bloomberg). The Bloomberg School was one of the three hosts for Event201 (the others being the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Economic Forum), the October 18, 2019 pandemic exercise that predated the March 11, 2020 declaration that Covid19 was a global pandemic, by 20 weeks.
The Chief Medical Officer, having spent years at the Bloomberg School, would certainly have maintained contacts there, and I’m guessing he must have been told by people at Bloomberg about studies the citations of which I’m seeking. Perhaps he can ask them for the information on my behalf. In any case, a cordial request for bona fide citations is perfectly appropriate, and it is also appropriate that a state chief medical officer answer such a request in a cordial, timely and professional manner.
Bill Willers is an emeritus professor of biology, University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. He is founder of the Superior Wilderness Action Network (SWAN) and editor of Learning to Listen to the Land, and Unmanaged Landscapes, both from Island Press. He can be contacted at email@example.com