WHO Admits: No Direct Evidence Masks Prevent Viral Infection by Dr. Joseph Mercola for Mercola
According to the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, life will not be returning to your old normal anytime soon. What’s more, things will only get worse unless the public follow health advice such as wearing masks and social distancing. The somber announcement came during a July 13, 2020, press conference (above).
This, despite the fact that the WHO’s June 5, 2020, guidance memo1 on face mask use states there’s no direct evidence that universal masking of healthy people is an effective intervention against respiratory illnesses.
What’s more, people are being urged to use cloth masks or bandanas (ostensibly to prevent shortages among health care staff), none of which conform to any kind of quality standards, and according to what little scientific evidence is available have been shown to provide only about half of what little protection you may get from a surgical mask.
No Direct Evidence to Support Universal Mask Usage
SARS-CoV-2 is a beta-coronavirus with a diameter between 60 nanometers (nm) and 140 nm, or 0.06 to 0.14 microns (micrometers).2 This is about half the size of most viruses, which tend to measure between 0.02 microns to 0.3 microns.3
Virus-laden saliva or respiratory droplets expelled when talking or coughing measure between 5 and 10 microns,4 and it is these droplets that surgical masks and respirators can block.
For example, N95 masks can filter particles as small as 0.3 microns,5 so they may prevent a majority of respiratory droplets from escaping. They cannot block aerosolized viruses, however, that are in the air itself. Additionally, many N95 masks only protect the wearer, as they have exhalation ports that allow you to exhale unfiltered air.
Lab testing6 has shown 3M surgical masks can block up to 75% of particles measuring between 0.02 microns and 1 micron, while cloth masks block between 30% and 60% of respiratory particles of this size. As noted in the WHO’s guidance memo:7
“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 …
The use of cloth masks (referred to as fabric masks in this document) as an alternative to medical masks is not considered appropriate for protection of health workers based on limited available evidence …
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.”
Curiously, while cloth masks and face coverings are far less effective for blocking respiratory droplets, the WHO recommends that cloth or nonmedical masks “should only be considered for source control (used by infected persons) in community settings and not for prevention.”8