Face Masks: Is Scientific Evidence Unanimous?

Face Masks: Is Scientific Evidence Unanimous? August 16, 2020

[originally a Facebook post from 7-10-20]

As usual, we are being told (it seems to be part and parcel of liberalism) that “all scientists” and “everyone” believe that all must wear masks in the current situation (except for small numbers outdoors, in one’s home, etc.).

In the interest of fair and honest debate, that I have always tried to foster and encourage, I ran across an article that presents significant medical / scientific data arguing that face masks have little or no overall effect on a pandemic or transmission of contagious diseases.

Someone may say these are simply fringe / extreme folks. It would be very difficult to argue that the following peer-reviewed, respectable medical journals whose studies were cited in the article are all “extreme” and “fringe”:

American Journal of Infection Control
Epidemiology and Infection
Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses
CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)
Clinical Infectious Diseases
JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association)
J Evid Based Med
Journal of Virology
BMC Infect Dis
BMC Med
Emerg Infect Dis.
Reviews of Infectious Diseases
Risk Analysis
Nature Medicine
PLoS Pathog
Lancet
BMC Public Health
Food Environ Virol

I’m not saying there are no studies that offer different conclusions, or even that this is necessarily my own position (I would say “I don’t know” for sure). I’m saying that the usual liberal mantra of universal agreement among scientists is not true, and that discussion is able to be had on this topic, just like virtually every other one; and that intelligent, inquiring, fair minds will want to take into consideration all relevant scientific / medical data and not only what media and governments say.

Nor am I saying that any state or local laws regarding this ought to be disobeyed. That’s a different issue as well. Just for the record, I have followed all the mandated rules myself: wearing a mask whenever some place said it was required, and maintaining social distancing and doing the hand sanitizer and all the rest.

At my sister’s funeral just two days ago we all followed all these rules and people didn’t even touch each other. I’m naturally a hugger, so I certainly followed the expected rules, refraining from that.

I shouldn’t even have to make these disclaimers, but in the groupthink / increasingly clonish society we now inhabit, it’s necessary.

It may even be thought that the author of the article, Dr. Denis Rancourt, is an American conservative, Trump operative, or perhaps (also) a Southern American. He’s none of these. He’s Canadian, and was formerly a tenured professor of physics at the University of Ottawa. Nor is he, apparently, even a political conservative. In the Wikipedia article about him he was described as “left-wing.”

So whatever else might be said about him, he clearly thinks for himself: sadly, an increasingly rare trait these days.

***

[additional comment from the original combox]

If the evidence is insufficient to establish universal mask-wearing as a supposed cure-all, then it’s not improper to question (or at least have some questions about) the prevailing tendency now.

I’d rather go with solid scientific evidence. But a lot of this comes down to individual temperament, too. Worriers and those inclined to go with the flow will obviously tend to be big mask proponents.

Those of us who are non-worriers and nonconformists (yours truly) will tend to be the opposite. But like I said, I want to follow all the evidence, not what is spoon-fed to me by an agenda-driven liberal media and Democrat Party in an election year, where they have a clear vested interest to make everyone as miserable as possible so Crazy Uncle Joe can actually be elected.

Note: see also very extensive discussion on my Facebook page.

***

Photo credit: Alex Borland (image cropped) [public domain / PublicDomainPictures.Net]

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