Do masks protect from respiratory viruses?

Video inside essay, but I can’t embed it. But please watch it at the source.

Everything you wanted to know about masks and COVID and were not too afraid to ask.

Mask expert shares his abundant knowledge and experience. Spoiler alert: THEY DON'T WORK. But they DO CAUSE HARM.

TL;DR: masks have not ever been and cannot be an effective control for airborne virus control. Engineering controls (air filtration/circulation and destruction) have been the solution for 80 years with good reason.

Stephen Petty:

- Certified industrial hygienist;
- Certified safety professional;
- Professional engineer;
- 45 years in the field of health and safety, trying to protect workers and the public from toxins;
- Named/testified in over 400 legal cases related to exposure control and personal protective equipment (PPE);

talks us comprehensively through 50 years of evidence showing the ineffectiveness of masks in mitigating SARS-Cov-2, the COVID virus.

No they do not. Even N95 masks only offer 3.4% protection rate. What does help prevent them? Air filtration as many people here have said over and over. The coronavirus can linger in the air for 50 days according to the video.

Humans all come with noses and its very difficult to get a mask to not have any separation from allowing a human hair to be slipped through. It’s a lot bigger than the virus. A lot bigger.

This information has been known since 1950. You think Fauci doesn’t know that they don’t work? Remember he said that at the beginning of the epidemic, but then Mr. Science changed his mind.

Plus masks can do harm because of what they are made of. I’d think that if they had been affective we would have had put them in bio containers instead of putting them in the garbage bins or throwing them on the ground or put them in our pockets and wear them for days or weeks on end instead of one and done like they are used in hospitals.

Watch and see how they cannot protect us no matter how many we wear.

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Lookout's picture

However, I would add, if it makes you feel safer, then wear a mask... but the data doesn't support it.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

enhydra lutris's picture

silver bullet? Shit no! Are they totally useless? Ditto. There is something called viral load that plays a big role in 1) if you even get sick at all and 2) how sick you do get and for how long. In addition, if there are several sick people in the room and all are unmasked, they are pumping out a lot more viral particles than if they are all masked. If you re in a small room with 8 seriously sick people constantly coughing and sneezing, I don't care the air is filtered to usual standards or not, you're probably going to catch it, mask or no mask. That, however, is not a realistic test, you should not enter or stay in that room.

If one is generally pretty healthy but also immune compromised in one respect or another, masking and avoiding closed venues with piss poor air filtration (almost all of them) where most others are unmasked seriously reduces the likelihood of contagion and or a serious case, whether it is common cold or covid.

Life and reality is probability based and full of randomness. I sneeze out some viral particles, do they all stay in the air 50 hours? no. where are the ones that do? uhhh, brownian motion takes over, they disperse. If somebody walks through the general area 6 hours later, wearing a mask how likely are they to get infected? Is that different from if they weren't and how can you ethically test that on a group of live humans? keep in mind that for most of us, if a few viral particles get through there will be a negligible probability of infection.

same, btw, holds for larger particulate matter, fiberglass dust, asbestos dust, sawdust, smoke, and various petrochemicals. The more that you keep out of your respiratory system, the better off you are.

all my non-expert opinion based on a ton of experience, large chunks of it relevant and a basic understanding of the basic science involved.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris

Even during the height of the pandemic, I never wore a mask to protect me. I never saw any data that it was a great protection. What I did see was that was a great way to keep someone from spreading the disease.

That is the only reason I wore a mask. I did not want to be the one sneezing out of the blue onto a group of people.

We are back to wearing masks at work due to high levels in the area. I won't lie and say I wear it all the time, but when people are close I do.

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6 users have voted.

@enhydra lutris that's what you think logically happens wearing a mask.
That isn't true.
Mask do Zilch to stop the spread of Covid.
Zero.
Nada.

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@Battle of Blair Mountain

1. Do masks protect against virus? (topic)
2. Are masks useful to slow the normal virus spread? (the topic)
3. Do masks protect against COVID? (which strain?) (the substance)

Start with #1:

"Precautions taken to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, including wearing masks and distancing, are likely the major reason for a steep decline of flu cases in the U.S., according to experts."

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/a-sharp-drop-in-flu-c...

So wearing masks and social distancing had a significant drop in virus spread. So the topic of this piece is wrong.

#2

Initial COVID variant was characterized by prolonged contact. The more COVID virus you were exposed to, the more likely you were to get sick and symptoms would be worse. So wearing masks did indeed help.

#3
Yes the current variants are less likely to be controlled by masks. If the subject and thrust of this was solely on that, it would be much better.

That does not negate the usefulness of masks. They have shown that if worn by all, they can significantly slow the spread of most virus infections.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@enhydra lutris

I've read the science for two years straight, and the viral load is everything.

What's happening with the latest variants is bad news: Variants are becoming exponentially more contagious. Infected people are now shedding copious amounts of virus and many people continue shedding long after they have recovered. Some shed live virus for up to a year. Plus, those who recover from the infection develop little to no immunity and can immediately become re-infected (or reinfect themselves). Scientists (at Johns Hopkins, for example) say that what this currently means is that every man, woman, and child on the planet will ultimately become infected with this virus (and so will their pets) — repeatedly. Organ and brain damage gets worse with each infection. The average infected person infects 32 people, or so I've read.

None of this information is being made easily accessible to capitalists and consumers living in most nations — for obvious reasons.

So, folks who wear a cloth rag or cheap mask on their face that they carry around in the glove compartment — don't really need to do that anymore. The typical consumer-level masks (sold in the US) don't really provide protection from this coronavirus, anyway.

And folks who are infected and still want to go out and do stuff — but they really hate wearing a mask just to protect others — can skip the mask. They can rationalize that everyone is going to get infected, anyway. Their wearing a mask won't stop the eventual infection of anyone else. Plus, in the US, just about everyone who gets infected brings the virus home and infects their entire household.

As for anecdotes, my friend is an ER Doc working in Marin. He says he couldn't-wouldn't do the job without a mask. And he won't work on a patient who isn't properly masked. This is the scientist's bottom line.

Thus, health care workers will continue to wear medical-grade masks to protect themselves and their patients. Front-line medical workers are trained to achieve an airtight seal on their faces. If these masks don't work for them, then all of us will be negatively impacted.

Someone who fears they may die if they become infected should be trained in how to fit a medical mask on their face and achieve a seal. There are many techniques that can make that happen. And they should adapt to living a quarantined life for as long as they can. The internet is a blessing.

The NIH and the CDC insist that they haven't given up. But they have.

If I were going to design a eugenics program to reduce the population in general, to weed out certain defects, and to eliminate expensive or crippling diseases like diabetes — this is a virus that I would consider using (with a few modifications). In theory, it could produce a population of robust healthy workers and reproducing livestock. I, too, would develop some serums (pseudo-vaccines) — not to prevent the viral infection, but to make the symptoms less critical. The virus would remain just as deadly for certain people, but over a period of a few years, not days.

As for vaccines, remember this: Scientists have never been able to create a vaccine that can prevent a coronavirus infection. Don't expect this to happen any time soon.

And keep this in mind: There are ways to prevent the infection. But you have to find them yourself. They will not come from the Medical Industrial Complex.

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____________________

The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato

@Pluto's Republic that is hard to find, and since you found it, do you mind sharing your sources with us? Seems, from your scenario, proper masks will inevitably run out for lack of workers to manufacture them while we have mass die off. This is it, and masks are what makes us the last man (or whatever) standing?
If so, if that is all true, then just FUCK IT. There are terms and conditions I absolutely DEMAND from life. I am unafraid of death, expect to go out while having myself some fun. I have no interest in being the last to go, the last one seeing an animal before they are all gone. To live in that world? Fuck that shit. Your scenarios makes masks a joke.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

Pluto's Republic's picture

@on the cusp

I will look it up the sources for you. There are a dozen or more separate facts in my knowledge-based comment. They all come from different source material.

I am very interested in the facts that may be unfamiliar to you. It helps me identify what is being suppressed.

Or, you can type the "phrase in question" into google search or Google Scholar. I tend to use the same terminology that I originally read.

My opinions, speculations, hyperbole, cynicism, and conclusions, of course, cannot be sourced. I'm sure you know the difference.

The opinions of scientists that I recited, I can probably find in my bookmarks. But these are their opinions about facts they already know, not the source of those facts.

I spent a couple of hours responding to you, and this website killed my text when I posted it.
I wish I could get that quality time back.
I'm disgusted.
Knowing me, It will be a long time before I post again.

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____________________

The political system is what it is because the People are who they are. — Plato

@Pluto's Republic Just head me to any source you believe is good that shows masks are effective.
And same for any source that indicates the newest variant will be the worst yet.
Get me started, I will take the ball and run with it.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

that masks have a breathe in, breathe out, then re-breathe negative effect.
I do have this discomfort that WEF and Gates have said masks are vital to their agenda. Why? Masks are always in their pandemic agenda, and vaccines.
At this point, give me distance from people. Let me be outdoors, let me be in fresh air.
I will never glue a mask to my face.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

enhydra lutris's picture

@on the cusp are definitely tres beaucoups good, but If I have to go into a crowded venue or hospital, I will be masked, you betcha, and I'm almost a regular at certain hospitals.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

snoopydawg's picture

@enhydra lutris

It has good information about masks efficiency.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

Proud election denier

enhydra lutris's picture

@snoopydawg (something) we're not interested in partial solutions". Fine, I am because I cannot ensure that every indoor setting I need to enter has the air circulation and filtration and sterilization protocols that are the perfect solution, in fact, I'm pretty certain that almost none of them are even close or will be within my lifetime.

His illustrations are also, imho a touch deceptive. In still air an aesorol 5 microns in diameter can stay in the air up to 50 days. So what? Where the hell on earth is there perfectly still air, especially for days in a row. If somebody sneezes, some concentrated cloud of aerosols doesn't just hang there stationary and compact for 50 days and then fall, the sneeze itself disrupts the air, no longer still, the stuff is set in motion in varying directions at varying speeds, etc. He is trying to sell a preferred alternative, and I wish him luck with that, especially in schools and such, but it's not going to happen at the supermarkets, mom and pop stores and even most areas of the hospitals and labs I go to, or my dentist's office. I have to accept less than perfect, and a mask is better than nothing, as is nose spray and chronic rhinitis.

He debunks masks as a silver bullet and I agree, but, totally useless, I don't. In ordinary everyday situations of everyday people in everyday settings, my wife and I have noticed who have gotten covid and how bad and how often, ans also colds and shit and, though it may be confirmation bias, the folks who tend to get it are largely the ones we expect to. gregarious anti-maskers who hang out in semi-crowded and often indoor spaces and thosw who do a lot of meet and deal.

Again, I'm just saying I'm not buying the whole "totally useless schtick" but YMMV, I'm not selling anything.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

snoopydawg's picture

@enhydra lutris

Not to be rude but if you didn’t hear what he said about them how can you form an opinion? I don’t care if people wear them or not, but I just don’t get not getting all the information available on whether they work or not.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

Proud election denier

enhydra lutris's picture

@snoopydawg

I can design a study to prove that they're useless and another to prove that they work very well. A real, valid study has not been performed because it would be unethical and probably illegal too. One doesn't need to block 100% of pretty much any viral particle to do some good. Proof and illustration that masks do not and cannot meet this impossible and unnecessary standard don't impress me, neither does almost every super duper room filtration system. He cannot demonstrate or truthfully argue that a well made and moderately well fitting mask blocks nothing whatsoever, and that is the real test. The mucous in one's nose doesn't block everything either, but, luckily for us, it doesn't have to. There's plenty of evidence, including some very recent work that the efficacy of ones nasal and oral mucous in trapping particles, which is highly variable, plays a significant role in whether one gets ill and if so how ill, which is also part of why betadine sprays and mouthwashes work and I'm sure that he can produce o lecture on why they also cannot do the job, only industrial filtration etc. Nonetheless, they do work. It isn't binary, very little in this world is.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

enhydra lutris's picture

@snoopydawg

I've seen millions or sales pitches and promotions, so I don't need to sit through a 20 minute spiel to decide that this year's F-150 is not the greatest vehicle ever made.

He tells us that in one "case" 3,000 folks who masked got covid as did 3,000 who didn't. The omitted detail and information is so overwhelming that that the tiny bit of info presented is virtually meaningless and indicative of nothing, so why did he use it in his presentation is he has some real, valid, killer information?

He has that little propaganda flic with the guy donning mask after mask and forceably exhaling and producing clouds of something around the edges of the mask. That shows that those masks (over the ear) leak upon forceable exhalation, which nobody denies. It shows nothing about inhalation, and forceable exhalation should leak much worse than normal inhalation, but it is something of a "so what?" Does he at some point demonstrate that 100% of all aerosol particles take the long tortuous trip to the edges of the mask and that none are trapped by the portion directly in front of and most proximate to the mouth and nose and/or the other material between the exhalation point and the edges? Does he make a similar 100% particle leak for inhalation? If not, why is he bothering with a silly vid that shows that some air will lead around a cheap disposable over the ear mask? Because good sales trick if you don't analyze it.

So you watched it all, you can tell me. Did he at any point prove that masks trap zero aerosol particles on inhalation and exhalation. That would be pretty easy to prove, especially with respect to exhalation, so did he do so? If not, his failure to do so is telling. It says that such is not the case, that masks, even crappy ones, trap some viral particles. I keep waiting for the anti-maskers to come up with the simple proof that masks trap nothing, and it never happens, did this guy actually show such a thing? The fact that he led with garbage as well as a recitation of his credentials and his insistence that ever since 1950 we've known that only his method is efficacious (I don't recall him saying 100% efficacious) led me to decide not to bother with the whole damn thing. I've seen hundreds of vids "debunking" masks, and none yet have delivered the easy proof that they trap nothing, so I didn't expect him to either. Did he?

be well and have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

snoopydawg's picture

@enhydra lutris

Appreciate you taking the time.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

Proud election denier

@enhydra lutris I have some say on where I go, what I do, and I will mask up if any establishment requires it.
From the beginning, I donned a mask to simply show I cared about others. I do. I never thought it would help me.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

If masks did nothing, what good did lock down do? Everyone shopped at the store so everyone got exposed
Lock down was worthless.
And let me repeat: we all got exposed. ALL of us.
Long before a "vaccine" became available.

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enhydra lutris's picture

@Battle of Blair Mountain

get it. How can that be? 1) differences in viral load, 2) differences in natural resistance. Don't tell anybody of either side of the political divide over this, they don't want to think about the fact that this isn't a binary phenomena and what that means.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris What makes you think we didn't all get it. Most cases are asymptomatic.

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enhydra lutris's picture

@Battle of Blair Mountain

false positives, nobody has yet claimed that they generate a lot of false negatives. A great many people over the relevant time span have tested negative not only with respect to the "do you have it now?" test, but also with respect to the "have you ever had it?" test.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@Battle of Blair Mountain I should add.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

"I don’t care if people wear them or not, but I just don’t get not getting all the information available on whether they work or not."

Well then here is some more information for you to consider.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0264389

https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2021/09/surgical-masks-covid-19.html

https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2014564118

Masking against Covid or any other respiratory virus just makes common sense. Would you like a doctor and hospital staff to operate all day long on people without masking? I personally don't believe that you don't care whether people mask or not. I think you obviously and actively are trying to discourage people from using masks to prevent covid transmission. That's why you kept pushing back at enhydra lutris.


"The coronavirus can linger in the air for 50 days according to the video."

Well, no it can't according to science. The longest this virus has been observed to stay active outside a body is 6-9 days on certain surfaces. and in the air..."The survival of airborne human coronavirus 229E (HCV/229E) was studied under different conditions of temperature (20 +/- 1 degree C and 6 +/- 1 degree C) and low (30 +/- 5%), medium (50 +/- 5%) or high (80 +/- 5%) relative humidities (RH). At 20 +/- 1 degree C, aerosolized HCV/229E was found to survive best at 50% RH with a half-life of 67.33 +/- 8.24 h while at 30% RH the virus half-life was 26.76 +/- 6.21 h. At 50% RH nearly 20% infectious virus was still detectable at 6 days. High RH at 20 +/- 1 degree C, on the other hand, was found to be the least favourable to the survival of aerosolized virus and under these conditions the virus half-life was only about 3 h; no virus could be detected after 24 h in aerosol."

Joe Smalley of Dead Man Talking on Substack isn't exactly where you want to get information about masking or any other Covid topic.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

snoopydawg's picture

@Fishtroller 02

I personally don't believe that you don't care whether people mask or not. I think you obviously and actively are trying to discourage people from using masks to prevent covid transmission. That's why you kept pushing back at enhydra lutris.

I’m not trying to make people do anything and I questioned EL out of curiosity not malice or whatever accusation you are making. I thought the video was interesting, but I don’t give a damn whether you or anyone else wears a mask. But it’s pretty interesting that when the whole country was under mask mandates the Covid cases kept rising instead of going down like they would if they stopped the virus from infecting people.

Joe Smalley of Dead Man Talking on Substack isn't exactly where you want to get information about masking or any other Covid topic.

I don’t need your permission to read whoever I want. Funny how you think only your sites are worth reading though.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

Proud election denier

@Fishtroller 02 Why do you think so? why was COVID spreading at the mask mandates globally period? Why are they no longer mandated, at a time we are being told of a fall wave from hell?
You always make your argument very personal against snoopy. Please see the polite and respectful exhange between EL and snoopy, see if you can do that.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

I wear my mask in the elevator to make sure if I sneeze or cough I do not frighten my neighbors.

Does this work at all? No idea. And I do not care. Courtesy motivates me.

20 stories up or down.

Why frighten my neighbors?

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NYCVG

@NYCVG I have never believed they worked. All a mask is, to me, is some way to put a person at ease if they do believe in masks being of some help.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

masks to prevent getting and spreading the virus has been around for 2.5 yrs since Covid was announced, and many of us made our decisions about mask efficacy long ago. Congrats to those who watched hundreds of videos and read up extensively in dozens of peer-reviewed papers on the matter, but for humble me I have always found it a probably more useful than not and only temporary inconvenience that is not bodily intrusive that I can tolerate for moderate periods in indoor settings.

So my decision to use was made early, has been confirmed as the smart thing to do by my two main sources on Covid, one of whom has been right since the beginning on the virus, and so long ago put this question in the rear view mirror. Temporary inconvenience, no permanent harm, use masks moderately and then when done go breathe fresh outdoor air (if available, YMMV) for 5 minutes to restore balance to the system.

But no mandates at this point. We're too long into the virus, and people are sick of hearing about it, and so there would be political hell to pay for any pol heavily pushing yet another mask mandate, short of a bona fide, verifiably deadly and highly infectious outbreak of a new strain.

I fully realize this relatively relaxed mask stance puts me at odds with the several indy covid sources I have found credible in other areas of the virus and on many topics outside of covid. So be it. I never agree with anyone 100% of the time, not even myself.

But I do want to associate my humble non-expert self with the excellent non-expert commentary here by the Lutris feller.

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we couldn't enter our courthouse without masks. This went on for months. There were times entire offices in the courthouse were closed due to so many employees and officials being sick. You couldn't go in any store or restaurant, any drs.' office, post office, and this was throughout Texas. And our COVID cases were nonetheless, very high.
The super strict mandates in Australia still resulted in high numbers of cases.
Quite frankly, no mandate, no restriction any country implemented worked very well. Maybe China scored with their mandates.
The medical profession's standards of masking didn't work. I have a niece who is an RN. So far, she has had 8 bouts of COVID.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

CB's picture

@on the cusp
social distancing - forced to stay in your own home.

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CB's picture

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