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Paula Ducepec, in her article "Speaking out: Wearing a mask shows you care" (Aug. 26, 2020, Catholic Register), describes with youthful idealism her views on this worldwide trend as a sign of Catholic charity and suggests that those who oppose it are conspiracy theorists.
I respectfully disagree on both counts — from a scientific, health and historical perspective.
First, speaking as a scientist and a health professional, a mask was primarily designed for people working in a sterile environment — as for doing surgery, or for people working with toxic substances, i.e. chemicals or flammable liquids — not for healthy individuals in other environments.
In 2013, the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, whose slogan is "Evidence Driven," published a review of relevant literature, which clearly states, "No evidence was found on the effectiveness of wearing surgical masks to protect staff from infectious material in the operating room," which would be air-conditioned and sterile environments. Now, imagine masking in the general public, in all indoor places, which are certainly not sterile, and even during heat waves. That is certainly not sterile, and how much protection would those people have?
Furthermore, a May 2020 meta-study on pandemic influenza published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that face masks had no effect, neither as personal protective equipment nor as a source control.
Also, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed in a recent report from June 5, 2020 that: "At 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 and there are potential benefits and harms to consider."
Thus, making someone feel guilty or uncharitable for not wearing a mask would be as logical as telling someone to feel bad for not wearing a cervical collar or a back brace all day to supposedly help their spine, even though the wearer had no whiplash injury or no lower back signs or symptoms.
In actual fact, the poor victim of such unprofessional advice who would be using those items incorrectly would most likely end up with more problems, such as weakening of underlying musculoskeletal structures and hurting himself later on with increased workloads, e.g., soft tissue strains or sprains or even fractures due to bony osteoporosis.
Likewise, wearing a mask continuously by a healthy person could cause a weakening of one's immune system and consequently inhibit the development of herd immunity, making one even more likely to get sick in the future. That comes from the blog "Healthy People Should Not Wear Face Masks" by Jim Meehan, M.D., and neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D., who also said that "no studies have been done to demonstrate that either a cloth mask or the N95 mask has any effect on transmission of the COVID-19 virus."
Second, expanding on the harms of masking, there are very many, notably:
Even worse, as happened in China, two boys wearing masks during gym classes fainted and then died (Swiss Policy Research, Facts on COVID-19).
Third, wearing masks gives the wearer a false sense of security, since the viruses being extremely small can very readily pass through the openings in the masks. As Dr. Stefano Montanari, science director of a nanodiagnostics laboratory explained, using a mask to protect yourself from getting infected with a virus would be as effective as putting up a regular wire fence around your house in order to prevent mosquitoes from entering your property.
Fourth, the writer omits without any charity those people who cannot wear a mask due to underlying medical conditions, e.g. asthma, heart irregularities or skin sensitivities. Also, she omits those that are physically handicapped or have jobs that are physically very demanding, which would prevent them from wearing a mask safely.
Fifth, there have been hundreds of medical, scientific, economic, religious and legal experts who have seriously questioned the validity of the worldwide panic created over this COVID-19 virus, described as no more lethal than a regular influenza outbreak, with three major examples:
Labeling such distinguished people noted above as conspiracy theorists is wrong since they are not doing anything illegal as a conspiracist would do, but giving their honest professional opinions. To label them as such shows a mindless dismissal of the scientific evidence coming increasingly from all corners of the globe, which contrasts with the largely ideological and politically correct rhetoric fed to us through the mainstream media on TV, or through popular social platforms on the internet.
Therefore, if masking healthy populations is not about science, health or disease mitigation, as the above studies and expert opinions show, and we are forced to suffer more and more communist-like totalitarian regulations (e.g. Stalin, one of the worst mass murderers in history, severely restricted travel and freedoms for his own population), then who is making the wisest choice — those that wear a mask and fall victim to the pandemic of control, or those that do not (Mark Mallett, "The Pandemic of Control," Michael Journal, August/September, 2020)?
Dr. Andrzej Caruk
B.Sc. (microbiology and human sciences)
D.C., DACO, FACO (neuromusculoskeletal specialist-orthopedics)
Former Black Ribbon Day committee member and former Friends of Solidarity member (Kitchener/Waterloo)