Here’s another flip-flop:
“No significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks”
“Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said he opposed conducting studies to determine whether face masks are effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Is it because he already knows that the studies would put the lie to the whole mask-mandate regime?
During a July 14 conversation with students at Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, Fauci was asked by a student if it was possible to conduct studies to learn whether masks are effective.
“What kind of studies can we do right now in the middle of the pandemic about masks and transmission of the disease?” the student asked. “Or are we just relying on anecdotal evidence because we are not able to do those kind of studies right now?”
“Right now,” replied Fauci, “I’m convinced enough in the summation and totality of the data that has been analyzed by meta-analysis that … the benefit of wearing a mask clearly is there and is better than not wearing a mask.”
Fauci went on to suggest it would be unethical to perform a “randomized controlled study” — the most scientifically valuable type of study — “because that would mean having people not wear masks and see if they do better.”
As it turns out, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has already reviewed a number of studies concerning the efficacy of masks in preventing transmission of flu viruses — exactly the sort of “meta-analysis” that Fauci claimed proved masks worked — and found that masks and certain other practices recommended by health authorities had no “substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.” (emphasis added)
The CDC’s analysis, published in the May issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, “review[ed] the evidence base on the effectiveness of nonpharmaceutical personal protective measures and environmental hygiene measures in non-healthcare settings and discuss[ed] their potential inclusion in pandemic plans.”
The overall conclusion, according to the abstract: “Evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.” Moreover, there is only “limited evidence on the effectiveness of improved hygiene and environmental cleaning.”
The CDC identified 10 randomized controlled studies on “the effectiveness of face masks in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infections in the community” published between 1946 and 2018. “In pooled analysis,” they wrote, “we found no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks.” (emphasis added)