In the 14 days before illness onset, 71% of case-patients and 74% of control participants reported always using cloth face coverings or other mask types when in public

Another 14.5% of those who contracted Covid-19 reported they “often” wore a face mask. Together, up to 88.5% of those contracting Covid-19 always or frequently wore a face mask. See table on page 1261, bottom of table figures, link below. Only 3.9% said they never wear a face mask and another 3.9% said they rarely wore a face masks.

This means that

  • there is extremely high compliance with face mask mandates,
  • and as shown in numerous other examples, face masks are not working. Why?

A common explanation has been “well people are just not complying” but that assertion is false per the CDC and numerous surveys.

A related point: The news media excitedly reports about persons who opposed mask wearing but who then contracted Covid-19 as if this was a meaningful correlation. As we now see from CDC’s own data, there is a strong correlation between wearing a face mask and contracting Covid-19. However, the news media never reports that a person who believed strongly in face mask wearing contracts Covid-19. The danger of this, as seen in numerous online photos, wearing a face mask does not mean you should stand shoulder to shoulder or lie on top of one another (as has been done at protest “die ins”).

Finally, public health has failed to provide a unified theory to explain why face masks work and do not work at the same time. I have asked them to explain how face masks were the definitive solution in jurisdictions that had low case counts for month – until cases literally exploded. Why did face masks stop working? That is a reasonable question. I have asked OHA, OSU and CDC about this and none have replied.

Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities —United States, July 2020

UPDATE: Snopes weighed in with an odd fact check: “Did CDC Report ‘Majority’ of People Wore Masks?” which seems to have invented a straw man to declare “mostly false” when the gist of the claim is actually true, even by their own analysis. At most, this met their criteria for “Mixture” rather than saying it is “Mostly False”.

What’s True

Nearly three-quarters of people interviewed in a non-peer-reviewed study conducted by the CDC said that they had worn a mask or cloth face covering while in public in the weeks leading up to their COVID-19 diagnosis. The report concluded that although people were wearing masks, that does not mean they were wearing them properly, and that “masks cannot be effectively worn while eating and drinking, whereas shopping and numerous other indoor activities do not preclude mask use.”

What’s False

The CDC report did not suggest that masks and face coverings are ineffective at preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Hilariously, they further note that the CDC thinks that people are not wearing masks properly and effectively – which gets to the crux of the problem with face mask studies. Virtually all assume use of a properly designed, constructed, and maintained (washed at least daily) face mask, made of proper materials.

At this point, however, it is not permitted to question face mask orthodoxy. When a news report begins “There is no question that face masks work….” they have shut off all discussion. It is the argumentative equivalent short hand of calling your opponent a Nazi. If you question any aspect, you are obviously a Nazi.

CNN tried to take down the CDC claim on face masks with a bizarre fake news article. Sorry, I didn’t save the link and don’t intend to go find it again.

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Coldstreams Skeptic