The long awaited random controlled sampled study on the effectiveness of masks to combat the spread of Coronavirus was published on Wednesday. Months of anticipation and speculation preceded the first ever RCS study that has been sandbagged for almost three months past its due date for publish. However, the findings were predictable. The Danish government has known the results for months without implementing a mask mandate.
With six thousand participants sorted into a control and a test group, the study found that 42 mask wearers got COVID and 53 non mask wearers got COVID. The percentages in the chart do not seem to add up because not every one of the 6024 adults seem to have completed the study. What the Danish study found was that the mask group has a lower infection rate by .3%. At a 95% confidence interval, the margin of error of this study would show that masks reduce the risk of infection anywhere from 46% to -23% meaning they slightly increase the risk of infection. This wide margin of error does not bolster the claim that mask usage is an effective mitigation strategy. These were the masks the study provided:
They received 50 three-layer, disposable, surgical face masks with ear loops (TYPE II EN 14683 [Abena]; filtration rate, 98%; made in China). Participants in both groups received materials and instructions for antibody testing on receipt and at 1 month.
As one can observe these are surgical masks made for this purpose as opposed to the masks people wear as fashionable virtue signals.
This is likely the best study we are going to get on COVID and masks and its results do not conclusively support the use of masks. The rebuttal to this is that masks do not protect the wearer but other people. But masks are not doorknobs that can open from the inside while locked on the outside. If a mask cannot keep particles from getting in, they then cannot keep those same particles from getting out. That is what critical thinking would conclude.
We don’t have enough critical thinking in our society. We have emotion and narcissism. We want to feel like good people more than we want to actually do good. We want to signal virtue without being virtuous. And masks are the epitome of that.