Covid-19GovernmentHealthHealth fascism

WHO’s own document recommending face masks said there was very little evidence for them

Much has been made of WHO’s change of mind on the use of masks in June, which is said by many to have been a game-changer. However, the relevant WHO document, ‘Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19 Interim guidance’, is anything but decisive.

It says (on p. 6):

There is limited evidence that wearing a medical mask by healthy individuals in households, in particular those who share a house with a sick person, or among attendees of mass gatherings may be beneficial as a measure preventing transmission… Results from cluster randomized controlled trials on the use of masks among young adults living in university residences in the United States of America indicate that face masks may reduce the rate of influenza-like illness, but showed no impact on risk of laboratory-confirmed influenza. 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.

(Note that the document doesn’t spend any time going through the studies, it’s simply a summary document.)

The document concludes (p. 6):

At the present time, the widespread use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not yet supported by high quality or direct scientific evidence.

Despite all this, WHO still recommended that governments encourage mask-wearing. What was their justification for doing so? It says this (p. 6, my brackets):

taking into account [1] the available studies evaluating pre- and asymptomatic transmission, [2] a growing compendium of observational evidence on the use of masks by the general public in several countries, [3] individual values and preferences, as well as [4] the difficulty of physical distancing in many contexts, WHO has updated its guidance to advise that to prevent COVID-19 transmission effectively in areas of community transmission, governments should encourage the general public to wear masks in specific situations and settings as part of a comprehensive approach to suppress SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

This paragraph doesn’t provide any further reason for pushing masks. Nothing is said about the relevance of “available studies evaluating pre- and asymptomatic transmission”. And if the evidence for face masks stopping virus spread is weak in general then that’s going to apply to the early stages of a disease as well.

As for the “growing compendium of observational evidence on the use of masks by the general public in several countries”, this is a scientifically useless statement. What observational evidence? How do any such observations show that wearing a face mask is effective against Covid? How is this observations measured? It is incredible to think that the whole world is being changed on the basis of such evasive language.

[3] adds nothing of use. It seems to mean they took into account “individual values and preferences” when coming to their decision. It is entirely unclear how they did so, seeing as most people preferred not to wear a mask when they had the choice, but anyway this vague and irrelevant statement provides no extra reasons to mandate mask wearing.

[4] also doesn’t provide (nor, I think, is it intended to provide) an independent reason for mandating masks, as it is already assuming that masks have some effect.

So we do not have any additional justifications from this paragraph. (Note also the phrase “as part of a comprehensive approach” – this reads like an admission that you can’t rely on masks to do much on their own.)

My conclusion, then, is that WHO is pushing masks despite admitting that the evidence for them is poor. It is incredible to think that a fundamental change in human history, with healthy human beings forced by governments around the world to wear face masks for a mild disease that is dying away, has been brought in on the basis of a document that admits that there isn’t any good scientific evidence to justify this change. (You have to wonder how many of the people who have made policy based on this document have actually read it.)

One is very tempted to think that the stories about WHO changing their advice in response to political pressure are true, because WHO fails to provide any scientific grounds for their position.

It should also be noted that WHO warned of potential disadvantages of mask-wearing, including the following:

– potential increased risk of self-contamination due to the manipulation of a face mask and subsequently touching eyes with contaminated hands;

– potential self-contamination that can occur if non-medical masks are not changed when wet or soiled. This can create favourable conditions for microorganism to amplify;

– potential headache and/or breathing difficulties, depending on type of mask used;

– potential development of facial skin lesions, irritant dermatitis or worsening acne, when used frequently for long hours

One further thing needs to be said. Nowhere in this document did WHO recommend that governments force their citizens to wear masks through means of law enforcement. It merely says that governments should encourage their use, and furthermore, merely as part of an overall approach. Many governments, including the British government, have gone far beyond what WHO have recommended.

Update:

From the BBC just after the WHO document came out:

“Masks on their own will not protect you from Covid-19,” Dr Tedros said.

Share this article on social media:

10 thoughts on “WHO’s own document recommending face masks said there was very little evidence for them

  1. At the present time, the widespread use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not yet supported by high quality or direct scientific evidence.

    Those exact words were in the Welsh government’s guidance notes when they imposed masks on their population. So they knew that what they were mandating was not supported by evidence, but did it anyway.

  2. Even though I’m aware that they’re were put under pressure according to a BBC journo it …seems remarkable that they haven’t even updated with scientific medical evidence, I’m being told by every fuckwit out there that there is revised evidence now, so where is it?!

  3. Its increasingly apparent that even if there was any scientific evidence that mask wearing had positive effects, the way people use masks would not only negate those positive benefits but moreover replace them with significant harm to themselves and others. People do not use a new mask every day, they reuse the same one they keep in their car for going to the shops. They do not wash their hands before and after putting the mask on and off, and they constantly fiddle with their mask while wearing it. Thus contaminating their hands if they are indeed infectious at that point, and potentially contaminating everything they subsequently touch. Its arguable that the rise in cases now is precisely ‘because’ of mask wearing, not despite it.

  4. “So they knew that what they were mandating was not supported by evidence, but did it anyway”.

    In other words, “because we can”.

    “Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power”.

    – George Orwell (O’Brien to Winston Smith, “1984”)

  5. Alison, most people do not read carefully or understand exactly what is denoted by the words they see. Instead, they allow themselves to be influenced by the connotations of the words they see. This verbiage (the third WHO quotation in the fine article) would be quite sufficient for many people to believe they had read evidence of proof that masks work.

    “taking into account [1] the available studies evaluating pre- and asymptomatic transmission, [2] a growing compendium of observational evidence on the use of masks by the general public in several countries, [3] individual values and preferences, as well as [4] the difficulty of physical distancing in many contexts, WHO has updated its guidance to advise that to prevent COVID-19 transmission effectively in areas of community transmission, governments should encourage the general public to wear masks in specific situations and settings as part of a comprehensive approach to suppress SARS-CoV-2 transmission”.

  6. Of course, this advice is only an update of their previous advice from October (?) 2019 on non-pharmacological interventions.

    That document established a sensible bar of evidence that any interventions should surmount – in a pretty objective way. Which is why the current WHO conclusions have to be regarded with the utmost suspicion, and is indirect confirmation of political pressure.

    We re actually now further down the road of evidence, with data from a variety of countries available to show the impact of interventions on the real world.

    There is absolutely no evidence in real world situations of mask wearing having any impact on the key indicator : mortality.

    Thus ” observational evidence on the use of masks by the general public in several countries” confirms the previous view, gleaned from the majority of studies : the general wearing of masks has no observable beneficial effects when compared with the obvious harms (the only debate being how detrimental those harms are).

  7. The DELVE report used by the SAGE committee shows that the evidence for mask efficacy in source control is weak:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/delve-report-on-face-masks-for-the-general-public-21-april-2020

    They seem to be recommending mask wearing on the precutionary principle. But that is a flawed approach if you can’t be sure that masks don’t actually make the problem worse because of the way people handle masks. More worrying is that someone (Prof Melinda Mills) involved in a Royal Society report on face masks complained, I kid you not, about an over reliance on evidence when making decisions about their use.

    I’ve seen nothing to change my view that the recommendation on using face masks is being driven by emotional biases. The honest approach by scientists and politicians would be to accept uncertainty about the effictiveness of masks.

  8. @Alison
    First, I have refused to wear and no problems
    Visited Doctors last week for blood samples.. It was like a radiation leak disaster zone. Reception sealed off with plastic sheets, yellow tape & cones, toilets shut, few lights on, door locked & phone when arrive.
    Nurse opens door: “Will you wear a mask?”
    Me: “No”
    Her: “Come in”

    The bed wetters “new evidence” is Gov’t & msm say WHO says they work and will stop me dying. They’ve been hypnotised/brainwashed

    When Boris mandated masks he said ‘They will make people feel safer and encourage them to go shopping”
    My first thought was “No, it will make people more scared as virus must be more dangerous now” – I was correct, footfall down

    Wearing a full face crash helmet would give greater protection from C-19 and many other risks

    The largest harm of face masks is they reduce blood O2 and increase CO2 levels; people are fainting, and if nobody around to remove it they’ll probably die. Plenty of reports of nurses and workers fainting, but msm won’t report

    Most staff in Morrisons near me have stopped wearing masks

    @Jim
    +1 I see peeps pulling mask out of pocket, very few in bins

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *