A Cochrane Report Tells the Truth, But Many Are not Ready to Hear It
They kept saying, we just follow the science. No you were simply following policy. Policy was designed to respond to fear not science.
I worked emergency medicine for 20 years. We never wore masks or used glove routinely during annual and recurring flu epidemics. We never had mandated flu vaccinations. How did that all start? Policy ... from the JCAH or its successor JCAHO.
Cochrane and NEJM both have editors who have been compromised and fail to adhere to EBM. NIH is a major funder of Cochrane so the rhetoric is not surprising. Jefferson’s conclusion were correct: more data is needed.
So the rot has spread to Cochrane. So depressing.
In our medical office, I stopped wearing a mask months ago. But several of our younger staff are indicating they might just wear them indefinitely! They feel some sense of "security" wearing a mask. Several mention "I haven't been getting colds as much!" - my comment to them: I don't think a goal of life is to avoid colds! Our modern feelings and desire for "control" and "avoidance" of illness/discomfort, etc. There is no life in which we will just avoid illness. I am concerned that we have created a population of young people who fear colds and common respiratory illness and have a focus on avoiding them. (I'm all for general healthy habits, but this clinging to masks is a different level and as pointed out, essentially useless!). I also consider the increase in asthma and allergies in households that are focused on "clean" and "antibacterial" - actually exposing young people to things can serve a purpose in building their immune systems, etc.
The ironic thing is that all the younger staff in our office have already had Covid.
Jefferson was also the Cochrane editor who pursued Tamiflu data and showed it did not reduce risk of pneumonia, was he not? https://youtu.be/vm4m28JvSUY
I have had enough of mask wearing in the office and hospital. I hope this universal masking policy is not forgotten and is overturned. None of the patients wear the masks correctly and it really interferes with the ability to understand and connect to one’s patient. I fear administrators will just leave it in place forever.
It is chapter 1 page 1 of the EBM handbook that you have to accept the null unless there is “adequate” evidence to justify rejecting it.
And while “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”, it’s certainly not evidence of presence either. The parallel to ivermectin is apt. I’ve spent many pixels pointing out to ivermectin wingnuts that it might work….all you gotta do is prove it. And so too with mask mandates and especially 3 years deep.
Although I will say I find a mask useful when I fly to hide my wide open mouth when I snooze
VP bringing the high heat!!!
You are so spot on vinay. But there’s no convincing people. I just had a long exchange in the comments section to a WSJ article on masking ( the article just restated the results of Cochrane) pointing out why they don’t work, but was impugned by a few pro-maskers as a no nothing. It’s sad that many just can’t be bothered to think for themselves.
Masks don’t work! Try Ivermectin and you’ll see the results.
Vinay, I remember the first time you wrote on this and I came back stridently; you opined that masks were bioplausible. I noted that geocentricity was geoplausible...but dead wrong. I am really thrilled, and tip my hat to you, for coming around to supporting the only position supportable by the available evidence which is extensive and has been for years.
There is exactly as much evidence that masking works against respiratory viruses as there is for tying garlic to your left ear. You have never proven to me that the garlic thing does not work, so absence of evidence must not mean evidence of absence -- let us invest mightily in Gilroy.
Many many thanks for writing the most clear of several articles on this. Interested readers may also like a complementary view at https://ianmsc.substack.com/p/the-new-york-times-published-misinformation
Cochrane Admin pushed back the publication 7 months. Who made that decision and was Cochrane Admin pushed to do so and if so by who? If they are so hellbent on discrediting their own authors, why the hell publish the research in the first place. I would hope they read it before printing it. If you think the research is poor, wrong, inconclusive, flawed,etc, an op-ed or a tweet isn’t going to prove you’re right or provide any evidence to the contrary. Get off your ass and do some quality trials of your own.
Those who control the money (NIH, CDC, etc) are probably the ones pushing this agenda on Cochrane. “If you want funds you need to get your publication in line”. And pushing masks on people without evidence is cheap so why put money into studying that when they can fund their pet projects and give grants to prop up the things they feel are more important. Also all that money goes to prop up research institutions whose findings can then get picked up by pharma and Med tech companies.
Has there been any review of what occurred at various colleges and universities during Covid? I thought a CDC or other epidemiological review of what measures were implemented at various colleges and what the overall outcomes were at the college and surrounding community would be very informative. There were thousands of "experiments" going on all over the US that year of 2020/2021. Each place had different requirements - the liberal schools/cities having draconian rules re: masks, testing, distancing, zoom class, etc. vs those that were much more relaxed and "let it ride" earlier on. My personal sense of the entire thing was that IT MADE NO DIFFERENCE! And I'd say this was true even prior to vaccine availability - I'm not sure about that, but it is information I'd love to have. Each college/university was a microcosm community. Obviously low-risk individuals, but that is where much of our anger and irritation lies - the extreme hindrance put on low risk college students (and ALL children!) How about some epidemiological evaluation of these?
Remember "test, test, test" - "if only we had more tests, we'd stop this thing!". Then "I'm wearing this mask to protect YOU". Then "this is a pandemic of the UNVACCINATED"
Ugh. so much ridiculous, untrue public "health" statements. All it did was serve to divide us all even further. I still have a strong feeling that to at least half the country, "mask" came to equal "Trump" and many could not get off that visual. I also think a certain segment of the population loved the external marker that allowed them to simultaneously virtue-signal and spot the enemy. And certainly many who just can't accept that our world holds some risk and uncertainty. There are infectious diseases which we can do little to stop - the mask gave at least some small attempt at "control".
I read the review. I doubt my hospital's infection control department has. They are still auditing (spying) us for mask compliance. Everyone 2 and up must mask at our hospitals and clinics. It's a disgrace, especially the little kids.
I’m glad that the review authors are intending to stand their ground, and I’m looking forward to the upcoming dialogue! 🍿