The CDC Knew Masks Were Kinda Worthless

The days of wearing masks out in public feel like a bad memory these days. I rarely see people wearing masks at the store or in public places. I suspect that the overwhelming majority of public maskers are masochists, ugly, or thrive on feeling fear.

Most of us, however, only wore masks in public because we had to. If you were traveling, wearing a mask was, I suppose a small price to pay not to get thrown off a plane, even if they were pointless — and for a long time, many of us knew they weren’t effective protection, but mask mandates persisted nonetheless.

For example, a review of COVID-19 transmission rates in various states clearly showed that mask mandates did virtually nothing. But the CDC still recommended masking, compelling compliance — particularly in states with Democrat governors.

“The evidence is clear,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a video posted to Twitter in November 2021. “Masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by reducing your chance of infection by more than 80 percent, whether it’s an infection from the flu, from the coronavirus, or even just the common cold. In combination with other steps like getting your vaccination, hand washing, and keeping physical distance, wearing your mask is an important step you can take to keep us all healthy.”

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PJ Media readers are certainly aware know that the CDC lost a lot of credibility during the COVID pandemic, and its evangelism for masking went undeterred despite the increasing number of studies showing that masks weren’t effective at stopping the spread of COVID. The CDC was more influenced by political pressure than science. It was actually teachers’ unions exerting their influence to alter the “science” so that the CDC would continue to recommend full masking in schools.

But a new comprehensive review proves that the CDC exaggerated the evidence of masks’ effectiveness in order to justify the mask mandates.

Related: Are Mask Wearers More Self-Conscious Than Others?

The Cochrane Library, an acclaimed collection of scientific databases, conducted a systematic review analyzing 18 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in order to determine the efficacy of using surgical masks or N95 respirators in preventing the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID.

“Two RCTs were conducted during the pandemic, one in Denmark and one in Bangladesh. The first found no protective effect, while the second found that symptoms consistent with COVID-19 were about 11 percent less common in the masked group,” reports Reason. “The latter finding was far less impressive than the results from the observational study that the CDC touted in February 2022. In that study, the CDC reported, surgical masks similar to the ones used in the Bangladesh RCT reduced the risk of infection by 66 percent. Even cloth masks, which the CDC has conceded are the least effective kind, supposedly reduced infections by 56 percent.”

Wow, that’s quite a difference. How is that possible?

“That gloss obscured grave methodological problems with the CDC-promoted study, including sample bias, recall bias, and the failure to consider ‘other preventive behaviors.’” explains Reason. “As the Cochrane review notes, the Bangladesh study also suffered from several weaknesses, including ‘baseline imbalance, subjective outcome assessment and incomplete follow-up across the groups.’”

So, in short, the CDC was cherrypicking studies/data to push the narrative it wanted — and that narrative was “masks work and should be mandated.”

But masks don’t work as well as the CDC has suggested. In fact, according to the Cochrane study, they don’t really work much at all.

“The pooled results of RCTs did not show a clear reduction in respiratory viral infection with the use of medical/surgical masks,” the study concluded.

Gee, you don’t say? But wait! What about those fancy N95 respirators that many Branch Covidians have chosen to wear instead? At one point, it seemed that people got wise to the fact that typical surgical masks didn’t do much and the answer was N95 respirator masks. In fact, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was so convinced that these were the magical solution to stopping the spread of COVID that a year ago he proposed legislation to have N95 masks sent to every home in the country.

Sorry, guys… those don’t do much either. The study found that there were “no clear differences between the use of medical/surgical masks compared with N95/P2 respirators in healthcare workers when used in routine care to reduce respiratory viral infection.”

But, believe it or not, there is something that can help slow the spread: hand-washing.

“Hand hygiene is likely to modestly reduce the burden of respiratory illness,” the study found. Well, great, something people should be doing anyway is the one thing that has a modest impact.

So, the moral of the story is: wash your hands and don’t trust the CDC.

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