I’ve reviewed the science on mask wearing in several articles over the past nine months. So far, there’s not been a study showing a significant benefit. On the contrary, evidence is conspicuously piled on the side of the argument that they don’t protect the wearer or prevent the spread of infection in community settings.
Despite the lack of scientific basis, universal mask mandates continue to be pushed to ludicrous ends. Case in point: A family was recently booted off a United Airlines flight because the couple’s 2-year-old daughter refused to wear a face mask.1
Family Kicked Off Flight Over 2-Year-Old’s Mask Refusal
The father, Eliz Orban, spoke to Eyewitness News about the incident in their December 13, 2020, report. United Airlines issued a statement about the event, saying the company has “a multi-layered set of policies, including mandating that everyone onboard 2 and older wears a mask.”
United Airlines added that “These procedures are not only backed by guidance from the CDC and our partners at the Cleveland Clinic, but they’re also consistent across every major airline.” The Orban family were refunded for the flight, and contrary to the couple’s original video2 statement, they are not banned from future flights.
This is about as unreasonable as it can get. Not only do universal mask mandates have no scientific backing in general, but insisting that a 2-year-old wear a mask is also nonsensical for the fact that the only way to get what little benefit you can from a mask is by putting it on, wearing and removing properly.
Readers Digest published “11 Mistakes You’re Probably Making with Face Masks,”3 reviewing all the ways in which you might nullify the mask’s benefit. The idea that a young child would be able to comply with these detailed instructions is beyond unreasonable, seeing how a vast majority of adults cannot even follow them.
One key way by which you negate the benefit of a mask is by touching it. Yet people are constantly fiddling with their masks as they fall down or shift on their face as they talk or move around. A young child is even more likely to contaminate the mask beyond the point of it providing any benefit whatsoever.
Young Children Pose Extremely Low Risk to Others
Importantly though, young children are insignificant disease vectors,4, 5,6,7 meaning they rarely test positive or spread the infection. This makes kicking the family off the plane all the more egregious. In truth, the smartest person in this whole affair is the baby who refused to comply.
Interestingly enough, back in May 2020, United Airlines’ COVID-19 policy stressed the need to avoid confrontation. In a statement to CNN for a May 14, 2020, article on airline mask policies, United Airlines said:8
“If for some reason this policy causes a disturbance onboard, we’ve counseled our flight attendants to use their de-escalation skills, and they do have the flexibility to reseat customers on the aircraft as needed.”
Apparently, the flight attendant in this case disregarded such solutions and chose the most traumatic path in dealing with the Orbans instead. Incidentally, while the Orbans are apparently being allowed to fly United Airlines in the future, the company does have a policy that calls for the permanent suspension of noncompliant passengers, according to Forbes.9
Hundreds of Mask Refusers Placed on No-Fly List
The Orbans aren’t the first to be kicked off a flight over a mask dispute. According to Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian, nearly 700 people have been placed on the company’s no-fly list since May 2020 for refusing to wear a face mask.10 The Orbans also aren’t’ the first to be booted because of an uncompliant child.
September 14, 2020, CNN reported11 that Jodi Degyansky and her 2-year-old son were asked to de-board a Southwestern Airlines flight because her son had his mask pulled under his chin while eating some gummy bears. A flight attendant told Degyansky that families with small children shirk the company’s mask policy by eating throughout the entire flight.
Even though Degyansky’s son voluntarily put his mask back on, the plane taxied back to the gate and the pair were told to get off. “I feel horrible that my son had to endure that,” Degyansky told CNN.12 In August, Southwest Airlines also booted a passenger and her 3-year-old autistic son off a flight after the boy became upset by efforts to force a mask onto his face.13
Defund Forced Maskers
Forcing young children to wear masks for hours on end is ludicrous for all the reasons already mentioned. Even the idea that adults must wear them while flying flies in the face of scientific evidence. My sister recently took a flight during which she noted that first-class passengers were unmasked throughout the entire flight without repercussions. Meanwhile, flight attendants policed everyone else.
If we were really dealing with a lethal virus, wouldn’t first-class passengers be as prone to carry and contract it as those with cheaper tickets? And if masks really did work, wouldn’t first-class passengers be forced to wear them as well? Enforcement discrepancies alone point to the whole thing being part of a class war and little else.
So, what’s the answer? Probably the best strategy would be to “defund” companies that strictly enforce these unscientific rules. In short, don’t fly with airlines that boot children off for mask infractions.
What Risk Do Flights Pose?
Do flights pose an infection risk? Probably, yes, for the simple fact that you’re in a confined space with many individuals. At least two studies14,15 published in November 2020 have confirmed that infection can and does take place during flights.
Unfortunately, both looked at flights that took place in early March 2020, and neither specify whether passengers were wearing masks or not. Proximity to an infected person appears to be the key finding in these studies, which suggests that spacing out passengers and not filling flights to capacity is the right thing to do to limit transmission.
That said, experts who have looked at available flight data say your risk of catching COVID-19 during a flight is still pretty slim. According to an August 20, 2020, report by CNN:16
“If new scientific claims are borne out, the perceived heightened risk of boarding an airplane could be unfounded. In one case, about 328 passengers and crew members were tested for coronavirus after it was learned that a March 31 flight from the US to Taiwan had been carrying 12 passengers who were symptomatic at the time.
However, all the other passengers tested negative, as did the crew members. And while there have certainly been cases of infected passengers passing the virus on to an airplane’s crew or fellow travelers in recent months, the transmission rates are low …
[A] flight from the UK to Vietnam on March 2, in which one passenger seemingly spread the virus to around 14 other passengers, as well as a crew member, is so far believed to be the only known on-board transmission to multiple people.
One explanation for the apparently low risk level is that the air in modern aircraft cabins is replaced with new fresh air every two to three minutes, and most planes are fitted with air filters designed to trap 99.99% of particles …
Arnold Barnett, a professor of statistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, tried to quantify the odds of becoming infected with the virus while on board a short flight in a recent study that looked at the benefits of the empty middle seat policy.
According to his findings, based on short haul flights in the US on aircraft configured with three seats on either side of the aisle … the risk of catching the virus on a full flight is just 1 in 4,300. Those odds fall to 1 in 7,700 if the middle seat is vacant.”
Barnett does include mask wearing as one of the factors in his risk calculation. I’m curious how he rated the effectiveness of the masks, seeing how he states that:
“Three things have to go wrong for you to get infected (on a flight). There has to be a COVID-19 patient on board and they have to be contagious. If there is such a person on your flight, assuming they are wearing a mask, it has to fail to prevent the transmission. They also have to be close enough …”
To Pose a Risk, You Need To Be Symptomatic
Studies have repeatedly shown that masks do not significantly reduce transmission of viruses, so it’s safe to assume that a mask will in fact fail in this regard. That leaves two key factors: There must be a contagious person onboard, and they must be sufficiently close for transmission to occur.
We now know that asymptomatic individuals — even if they test positive using a PCR test — are highly unlikely to be contagious.17 So, really, a key prevention strategy for COVID-19 seems to be to stay home if you have symptoms. Clearly, forcing a healthy young child to wear a face mask is not going to make the flight any safer.
What Does the Science Say About Masks?
If you’re still on the fence about whether masks are a necessity that must be forced on everyone, including young children, I urge you to take the time to actually read through some of the studies that have been published.
As noted by Denis Rancourt, Ph.D., a former full professor of physics and researcher with the Ontario Civil Liberties Association in Canada, all of the well-designed studies that have been published so far have failed to find a statistically significant advantage to wearing a mask versus not wearing one.
Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find when you start searching for data on face masks as a strategy to prevent viral infection:
Surgical masks and N95 masks perform about the same — A 2009 study18 published in JAMA compared the effectiveness of surgical masks and N95 respirators to prevent seasonal influenza in a hospital setting; 24% of the nurses in the surgical mask group still got the flu, as did 23% of those who wore N95 respirators.
Cloth masks perform far worse than medical masks — A study19 published in 2015 found health care workers who wore cloth masks had the highest rates of influenza-like illness and laboratory-confirmed respiratory virus infections, when compared to those wearing medical masks or controls (who used standard practices that included occasional medical mask wearing).
Compared to controls and the medical mask group, those wearing cloth masks had a 72% higher rate of lab-confirmed viral infections. According to the authors:
“Penetration of cloth masks by particles was almost 97% and medical masks 44%. This study is the first RCT of cloth masks, and the results caution against the use of cloth masks … Moisture retention, reuse of cloth masks and poor filtration may result in increased risk of infection.”
“No evidence” masks prevent transmission of flu in hospital setting — In September 2018, the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) won its second of two grievances filed against the Toronto Academic Health Science Network’s (TAHSN) “vaccinate or mask” policy. As reported by the ONA:20
“After reviewing extensive expert evidence submitted … Arbitrator William Kaplan, in his September 6 decision,21 found that St. Michael’s VOM policy is ‘illogical and makes no sense’ …
In 2015, Arbitrator James Hayes struck down the same type of policy in an arbitration that included other Ontario hospitals across the province … Hayes found there was ‘scant evidence’ that forcing nurses to use masks reduced the transmission of influenza to patients …
ONA’s well-regarded expert witnesses, including Toronto infection control expert Dr. Michael Gardam, Quebec epidemiologist Dr. Gaston De Serres, and Dr. Lisa Brosseau, an American expert on masks, testified that there was … no evidence that forcing healthy nurses to wear masks during the influenza season did anything to prevent transmission of influenza in hospitals.
They further testified that nurses who have no symptoms are unlikely to be a real source of transmission and that it was not logical to force healthy unvaccinated nurses to mask.”
No significant reduction in flu transmission when used in community setting — A policy review paper22 published in Emerging Infectious Diseases in May 2020, which reviewed “the evidence base on the effectiveness of nonpharmaceutical personal protective measures … in non-healthcare settings” concluded, based on 10 randomized controlled trials, that there was “no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks …”
Risk reduction may be due to chance — In 2019, a review of interventions for flu epidemics published by the World Health Organization concluded the evidence for face masks was slim, and may be due to chance:23
“Ten relevant RCTs were identified for this review and meta-analysis to quantify the efficacy of community-based use of face masks …
In the pooled analysis, although the point estimates suggested a relative risk reduction in laboratory-confirmed influenza of 22% in the face mask group, and a reduction of 8% in the face mask group regardless of whether or not hand hygiene was also enhanced, the evidence was insufficient to exclude chance as an explanation for the reduced risk of transmission.”
“No evidence” that universal masking prevents COVID-19 — A 2020 guidance memo by the World Health Organization pointed out that:24
“Meta-analyses in systematic literature reviews have reported that the use of N95 respirators compared with the use of medical masks is not associated with any statistically significant lower risk of the clinical respiratory illness outcomes or laboratory-confirmed influenza or viral infections …
At present, there is no direct evidence (from studies on COVID- 19 and in healthy people in the community) on the effectiveness of universal masking of healthy people in the community to prevent infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.”
Vast majority of COVID-19 patients wore mask — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention25,26,27 71% of COVID-19 patients reported “always” wearing a cloth mask or face covering in the 14 days preceding their illness; 14% reported having worn a mask “often.”
Mask or no mask, same difference — A meta-analysis and scientific review28 led by respected researcher Thomas Jefferson, cofounder of the Cochrane Collaboration, posted on the prepublication server medRxiv in April 2020, found that, compared to no mask, mask wearing in the general population or among health care workers did not reduce influenza-like illness cases or influenza.
In one study, which looked at quarantined workers, it actually increased the risk of contracting influenza, but lowered the risk of influenza-like illness. They also found there was no difference between surgical masks and N95 respirators.
First COVID-specific mask study fails to show benefit — The first randomized controlled trial29,30 to assess the effectiveness of surgical face masks against SARS-CoV-2 infection specifically, was published November 18, 2020, in the Annals of Internal Medicine.31 It included 3,030 individuals assigned to wear a surgical face mask and 2,994 unmasked controls.
Of them, 80.7% completed the study. Based on the adherence scores reported, 46% of participants always wore the mask as recommended, 47% predominantly as recommended and 7% failed to follow recommendations.
Among mask wearers, 1.8% (42 participants) ended up testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, compared to 2.1% (53) among controls. When they removed the people who reported not adhering to the recommendations for use, the results remained the same — 1.8% (40 people), which suggests adherence makes no significant difference.
Among those who reported wearing their face mask “exactly as instructed,” 2% (22 participants) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 compared to 2.1% (53) of the controls. In conclusion, they found that masks may reduce your risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection by as much as 46%, or it may increase your risk by 23%.
Statistics Show Mask Use Have No Impact on Infection Rates
Another way to shed light on whether masks work or not is to compare infection rates (read: positive test rates) before and after the implementation of universal mask mandates. In his article,32 “These 12 Graphs Show Mask Mandates Do Nothing to Stop COVID,” Yinon Weiss does just that.
He points out that “No matter how strictly mask laws are enforced nor the level of mask compliance the population follows, cases all fall and rise around the same time.” To see all of the graphs, check out Weiss’ article33 or Twitter thread.34 Here are just a select few to bring home the point:
Let’s Embrace Reality
Mask wearing, which clearly does little in terms of preventing the rate and risk of infectious spread of SARS-CoV-2, delays the inevitable, which is the acceptance that the disease known as COVID-19 is part of our future, just like the pandemic swine flu H1N1, all the influenza viruses that shift with each season, tuberculosis, Zika and a whole host of other viruses.
We simply cannot prevent any and all COVID-19 deaths any more than we can prevent death from any other cause. All we can do is understand what makes us vulnerable, and take steps to address those underlying weaknesses. In the case of COVID-19, that includes addressing metabolic health, insulin resistance, obesity, and nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin D, magnesium and zinc.
By doing that, you make yourself more resistant to infection and complications thereof. For nine months, the focus has been on masking, social distancing, shutting down businesses and getting a vaccine. Time and again, the goal post has shifted, such that now we’re told that even with a vaccine, all of the other measures will still be required well into 2022.
There’s a reason why none of it makes sense, and that is because the measures have nothing to do with preventing infection. They’re tools used to implement a new economic and social system, as explained in “What You Need to Know About the Great Reset,” “Who Pressed the Great Reset Button?” and “Technocracy and the Great Reset.”
We need to start presenting a united front against those who seek to destroy society as we know it and steal our assets and resources. One of the first steps toward that end is taking a firm stand against nonsensical and scientifically unjustifiable rules such as universal mask wearing, be it on planes, in stores or outdoors.
While it may not always be possible, consider not frequenting or buying from businesses that kick people out for not wearing a mask. Remember that collectively we have financial clout and, typically, hitting businesses in the pocketbook is the most effective way to demand change.
Sources and References
- 1 Eyewitness News December 13, 2020
- 2 Wabcradio.com December 14, 2020
- 3 Reader’s Digets May 14, 2020
- 4 Archives of Disease in Childhood 2020; 105(7)
- 5 Science Daily July 10, 2020
- 6 Pediatrics August 2020; 146 (2) e2020004879
- 7 Bloomberg June 23, 2020
- 8 CNN May 14, 2020
- 9 Forbes December 7, 2020
- 10 Wltz.com December 10, 2020
- 11, 12, 13 CNN September 14, 2020
- 14 Emerging Infectious Diseases November 2020; 26(11): 2713-2716
- 15 Emerging Infectious Diseases November 2020; 26(11): 2617-2624
- 16 CNN August 20, 2020
- 17 Nature Communications November 20, 2020; 11 Article number 5917
- 18 JAMA 2009;302(17):1865-1871
- 19 BMJ Open 2015;5:e006577
- 20 ONA.org September 7, 2018
- 21 William Kaplan Decision (PDF)
- 22 Emerging Infectious Diseases May 2020; 26(5)
- 23 WHO.int
- 24 WHO.int Advice on the Use of Masks in the Context of COVID-19
- 25 CDC.gov MMWR September 11, 2020; 69(36)
- 26 CDC MMWR Erratum September 25; 69(38): 1380
- 27 Breitbart October 14, 2020
- 28 medRxiv April 7, 2020 DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.30.20047217
- 29, 31 Annals of Internal Medicine November 18, 2020 DOI: 10.7326/M20-6817
- 30 Spectator November 19, 2020
- 32, 33 The Federalist October 29, 2020
- 34 Twitter Yinon Weiss October 27, 2020