The CDC has tweeted a well-designed infographic purporting to show significant health benefits from wearing masks. The tweet tries to show that the higher quality the mask, the more the wearer is protected from COVID-19, while no mask use is marked with a foreboding red circle and slash, indicating NO protection.
Unfortunately for the CDC, its own research study supposedly supporting this graphic is hardly supportive, as noted by multiple comments on the tweet.
1. The infographic contradicts itself
While the CDC’s graphic touts the benefits of even cloth masks, boasting a 56% reduction in the odds of testing positive for COVID-19, the very same graph includes a # symbol next to the words “cloth mask.” At the bottom of the graphic, we learn that # indicates, “Not Statistically Significant,” as noted in this twitter response:
The CDC mask study on which this graphic is based makes the stunning admission that, “The findings in this report are subject to at least eight limitations.”
One of these limitations appears to explain how a reduction as high as 56% can lack significance - they didn’t create sufficient subsets (strata), “… small strata limited the ability to differentiate between types of cloth masks or participants who wore different types of face masks in differing settings, and also resulted in wider CIs [confidence intervals] and statistical nonsignificance (sic) for some estimates that were suggestive of a protective effect.”
2. Results were counted for less than 1/7 of participants
When investigators tried to call participants to check on their mask status, only 13.4% of people who tested positive for COVID-19 answered the phone and just 8.9% of people who tested negative answered.
Vinay Prasad, MD MPH, hematologist-oncologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of California San Francisco, reacted to this methodology, “We could stop right now. Very few people answered the phone. Moreover, there may be a big difference in who answered the phone. A person sick enough to be tested for COVID, who was +, might not be doing so well 2 days later. Which ones answered? How about those who tested negative? Are these comparable people? Sadly, researchers continued…”
3. The study did not look at deaths, hospitalizations, illness or even symptoms
The sole criterion by which the efficacy of wearing masks was measured was whether a person tested positive or negative in a COVID-19 test. The study fails to disclose the type of COVID-19 test performed. Most US testing use unreliable PCR tests with cycle thresholds exceeding reliable limits as set by the CDC itself. This is noted in the America’s Frontline Doctors’ Petition For A Temporary Restraining Order against the use of COVID-19 vaccines in children, “A PCR test can only test for the presence of a fragment of the RNA of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and literally, by itself, cannot be used to diagnose the COVID-19 disease. The RNA fragment detected may not be intact and may be dead, in which case it cannot cause COVID- 19. This is analogous to finding a car part, but not a whole car that can drive. Manufacturer inserts furnished with the PCR test products include disclaimers stating that the PCR tests should NOT be used to diagnose COVID-19. This is consistent with the warning issued by the Nobel Prize winning inventor of the PCR test that such tests are not appropriate for diagnosing disease.
“Further, the way in which the PCR tests are administered guarantees an unacceptably high number of false positive results. Cycle Threshold Value (“CT value”) is essentially the number of times that a sample (usually from a nasal swab) is magnified or amplified before a fragment of viral RNA is detected. The CT Value is exponential, and so a 40 -cycle threshold means that the sample is magnified around a trillion times. The higher the CT Value, the less likely the detected fragment of viral RNA is intact, alive and infectious. Virtually all scientists, including Dr. Fauci, agree that any PCR test run at a CT value of 35-cycles or greater is useless.”
4. The CDC tried this study before
A previous attempt at showing mask efficacy in a similar 2020 CDC study failed to find a mask benefit:
5. The CDC’s new study further erodes an already weak level of public trust in public health officials.
Professor Prasad summed up his reaction to this study in a tweet, “What happened to science? When the pandemic ends, and people have no faith in public health, it would be wrong to blame Joe Rogan. It's institutions like the CDC and our leaders who push bad info masquerading as science.”
This follows an unusual charge by a sitting U.S. Senator against Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Dr. Rochelle Walensky director of the Centers for Disease Control. Senator Richard Burr, the ranking Republican on the Senate Health Committee, confronted Fauci and Walensky during their testimony before the committee, telling them:
That exchange itself followed a disastrous appearance by Fauci on Hugh Hewitt’s talk show in which the host challenged Fauci, “… botched testing at the beginning, no research on masks for children in primary care, the J&J pause, [and] the controversy over the use or non-use of Ivermectin …
“I’ve lost confidence in the CDC and the FDA. And I actually believe a lot of Americans, a significant part of America, now have lost confidence in you, Dr. Fauci,” Hewitt said. “Is there a point where you will say, ‘I do more harm than good because people don’t listen to me anymore’ and step aside?”
“No, absolutely, unequivocally no, Hugh,” was Fauci’s response.
Fauci’s earlier appearance on 60 minutes, in which he stated, “people should not be walking around with masks … there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask” doesn’t help.