A number of medical professionals and occupational respirator experts, including Chris Schaefer, featured in the video above, have warned that wearing of face masks may have adverse health effects and that people really should not be forced to wear them on a regular basis.
Aside from that, there’s a glaring lack of evidence proving they actually prevent viral illness. On the contrary, the evidence overwhelmingly shows they have little to no impact on viral spread.
Research1 also shows asymptomatic individuals pose virtually no risk, as they rarely ever spread live virus, thereby undermining the idea that everyone must be masked simply because you don’t know who’s infectious and who’s not.
Despite all of that, government officials insist that universal mask wearing is an essential strategy to combat COVID-19, now even recommending wearing two,2 three3,4 or even four5 layers of face masks. And, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Americans may have to wear masks all the way through 2022.6
Is Wearing a Wet Mask Good for You?
Just when you thought mainstream propaganda could not propose a greater irrational perversion of the truth, a new study7 from the National Institutes of Health claims wearing a moist mask — which is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria — is actually good for you because inhaling through the wet mask hydrates your lungs and boosts your immune system. As reported by Healthing.ca, February 16, 2021:8
“The study, published in the Biophysical Journal, tested an N95 mask, a three-ply disposable surgical mask, a two-ply cotton-polyester mask and a heavy cotton mask, measuring the level of humidity by having a volunteer breathe into a sealed steel box.
When the person did not wear a mask, the water vapor of the exhaled breath filled the box, leading to a rapid increase in humidity inside the box. When the person wore a mask, the buildup of humidity inside the box greatly decreased as most of the water vapor remained in the mask, became condensed, and was re-inhaled. The researchers conducted the tests at three different temperatures ranging from 7 to 36 degrees Celsius.
‘We found that face masks strongly increase the humidity in inhaled air and propose that the resulting hydration of the respiratory tract could be responsible for the documented finding that links lower COVID-19 disease severity to wearing a mask,’ said Adriaan Bax, Ph.D., a NIH Distinguished Investigator and the study’s lead author.
‘High levels of humidity have been shown to mitigate severity of the flu, and it may be applicable to severity of COVID-19 through a similar mechanism.’”
However, it’s important to realize that the humidity inside the mask will allow pathogenic bacteria to rapidly grow and multiply — a documented fact not addressed by the NIH — and since the mask makes it more difficult to breathe, you’re likely to breathe heavier, thereby risking inhaling the microbes deep inside your lungs. As you’ll see below, this can have significant health risks that vastly outweigh any benefit you might get from breathing more humid air.
Occupational Respirator Testing Expert Speaks Out
In June 2020, Schaefer wrote an open letter9 addressed to the chief medical officer in Alberta, Canada, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, pointing out the errors of recommending universal wearing of N95 masks, surgical masks or nonmedical masks as protection against SARS-CoV-2. In it, he writes:10
“I have been teaching and conducting respirator fit testing for over 20 years and now currently for my company SafeCom Training Services Inc. My clients include many government departments, our military, healthcare providers with Alberta Health Services, educational institutions and private industry. I am a published author and a recognized authority on this subject.
Filter respirator masks, especially N95, surgical and non-medical masks, provide negligible COVID-19 protection for the following reasons:
1. Viruses in the fluid envelopes that surround them can be very small, so small in fact that you would need an electron microscope to see them. N95 masks filter 95% of particles with a diameter of 0.3 microns or larger. COVID-19 particles are .08 – .12 microns.
2. Viruses don’t just enter us through our mouth and nose, but can also enter through our eyes and even the pores of our skin. The only effective barrier one can wear to protect against virus exposure would be a fully encapsulated hazmat suit with cuffs by ankles taped to boots and cuffs by wrists taped to gloves, while receiving breathing air from a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
This barrier is standard gear to protect against a biohazard (viruses) and would have to be worn in a possible virus hazard environment 24/7 and you wouldn’t be able to remove any part of it even to have a sip of water, eat or use the washroom while in the virus environment. If you did, you would become exposed and would negate all the prior precautions you had taken.”
Face Masks Pose Several Health Hazards
In his letter, and in the video above, Schaefer also stresses that these kinds of face masks pose “very real risks and possible serious threats to a wearer’s health” for a number of reasons, including the following:
1. Wearing a face mask increases breathing resistance, and since it makes both inhaling and exhaling more difficult, individuals with pre-existing medical conditions need to be screened by a medical professional to make sure they won’t be at risk of a medical emergency if wearing a face mask.
This includes those with shortness of breath, lung disease, panic attacks, breathing difficulties, chest pain on exertion, cardiovascular disease, fainting spells, claustrophobia, chronic bronchitis, heart problems, asthma, allergies, diabetes, seizures, high blood pressure and those with pacemakers. The impact of wearing a face mask during pregnancy is also wholly unknown.
2. Face masks can reduce oxygen intake, leading to potentially hazardous oxygen deficiency (hypoxia).
3. They also cause rapid accumulation of harmful carbon dioxide, which can have significant cognitive and physical impacts. That said, there is some evidence to support that this may be one of the few benefits of mask wearing, as slightly elevated CO2 levels can also contribute to health benefits as per my interview with Patrick McKeown. (We’re not talking about dangerously high levels, however.)
4. Wearing a face mask increases your body temperature and physical stress, which could result in an elevated temperature reading that is not related to infection.
5. All face masks can cause bacterial and fungal infections in the user as warm, moist air accumulates inside the mask. This is the perfect breeding ground for pathogens. “That is why N95 and other disposable masks were only designed to be short duration, specific task use and then immediately discarded,” Schaefer notes.
Medical doctors have warned that bacterial pneumonia, facial rashes, fungal infections on the face,11 “mask mouth” (symptoms of which include bad breath, tooth decay and gum inflammation) and candida mouth infections12 are all on the rise.
What’s worse, a study13,14 published in the February 2021 issue of the journal Cancer Discovery found that the presence of microbes in your lungs can worsen lung cancer pathogenesis and can contribute to advanced stage lung cancer. As reported by Global Research:15
“While analyzing lung microbes of 83 untreated adults with lung cancer, the research team discovered that colonies of Veillonella, Prevotella, and Streptococcus bacteria, which may be cultivated through prolonged mask wearing, are all found in larger quantities in patients with advanced stage lung cancer than in earlier stages.
The presence of these bacterial cultures is also associated with a lower chance of survival and increased tumor growth regardless of the stage.”
6. With extended use, medical masks will begin to break down and release chemicals that are then inhaled. Tiny microfibers are also released, which can cause health problems when inhaled. This hazard was highlighted in a performance study16 being published in the June 2021 issue of Journal of Hazardous Materials.
Schaefer also points out that to provide any benefit whatsoever, users must be fitted with the right type and size of respirator, and must undergo fit testing by a trained professional. However, N95 respirators, even when fitted properly, will not protect against viral exposures but can adequately protect against larger particles.
Surgical masks, which do not seal to your face, “do not filter anything,” Schaefer notes. These types of masks are designed to prevent bacteria from the mouth, nose and face from entering the patient during surgical procedures, and researchers have warned that contaminated surgical masks actually pose an infection risk.17 After just two hours, a significant increase in bacterial load on the mask was observed.
Nonmedical cloth masks are not only ineffective but also particularly dangerous as they’re not engineered for “easy inhalation and effective purging of exhaled carbon dioxide,” making them wholly unsuitable for use.
In the video, Schaefer demonstrates the only type of mask that is actually safe to wear — the gas mask kind of respirator you’d use to protect yourself against painting fumes, organic vapors, smoke and dust.
Real respirators are built to filter the air you breathe in, and get rid of the carbon dioxide and humidity from the air you breathe out, thereby ensuring there’s no dangerous buildup of carbon dioxide or reduction in oxygen inside the mask.
Cochrane Review Gives Masks Thumbs Down
I’ve written many articles detailing the evidence showing that face masks do not prevent viral illnesses. To these we can now add an updated Cochrane review,18 which summarizes randomized trial evidence from studies that looked at face masks, hand-washing and/or physical distancing as prevention against respiratory infections.
There are many limitations to the included studies, including the facts that none was specific to COVID-19 and most had questionable adherence. They did not include the one COVID-19 specific trial that also included adherence parameters. With regard to medical and surgical masks, they found that:
“Compared with wearing no mask, wearing a mask may make little to no difference in how many people caught a flu-like illness (9 studies; 3507 people); and probably makes no difference in how many people have flu confirmed by a laboratory test (6 studies; 3005 people).”
Four health care studies and one small community study looked at the use of N95/P2 respirators. Here they found that:
“Compared with wearing medical or surgical masks, wearing N95/P2 respirators probably makes little to no difference in how many people have confirmed flu (5 studies; 8407 people); and may make little to no difference in how many people catch a flu-like illness (5 studies; 8407 people) or respiratory illness (3 studies; 7799 people).”
COVID-19 Specific Mask Trial Failed to Prove Benefit
Cochrane’s review certainly would have been more complete had they included the only COVID-19-related study to date. Unfortunately, they only included studies published before April 1, 2020. The trial in question, which was done in Denmark, was published November 18, 2020.
This COVID-19-specific randomized controlled surgical mask trial19,20 confirmed and strengthened previous findings, showing that mask wearing may either reduce your risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection by as much as 46%, or increase your risk by 23%. Either way, the vast majority — 97.9% of those who didn’t wear masks, and 98.2% of those who did — remained infection free.
The study included 3,030 individuals assigned to wear a surgical face mask and 2,994 unmasked controls. Of them, 80.7% completed the study. Based on the adherence scores reported, 46% of participants always wore the mask as recommended, 47% predominantly as recommended and 7% failed to follow recommendations.
Among mask wearers, 1.8% ended up testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, compared to 2.1% among controls. When they removed those who did not adhere to the recommendations for use, the results remained the same — 1.8%, which suggests adherence makes no difference.
Among those who reported wearing their face mask “exactly as instructed,” 2% tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 compared to 2.1% of the controls. So, essentially, we’re destroying economies and lives around the world to protect a tiny minority from getting a positive PCR test result which, as detailed in “Asymptomatic ‘Casedemic’ Is a Perpetuation of Needless Fear,” means little to nothing.
CDC Relies on Anecdotal Data to Promote Mask Use
Considering the dearth of evidence for universal mask use, just what is the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relying on to back up its recommendation?21 Believe it or not, their primary “evidence” is an anecdotal story about two symptomatic hair stylists who interacted with 139 clients during eight days.
Sixty-seven of the clients agreed to be interviewed and tested. None tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The fact that the stylists and all clients “universally wore masks in the salon” is therefore seen as evidence that the masks prevented the spread of infection. The Danish study reviewed above didn’t make it onto the CDC’s list of studies either.
The CDC’s own data22,23,24 also show 70.6% of COVID-19 patients reported “always” wearing a cloth mask or face covering in the 14 days preceding their illness; 14.4% reported having worn a mask “often.” So, a total of 85% of people who came down with COVID-19 had “often” or “always” worn a mask.
This too contradicts the idea that mask wearing will protect against the infection, and is probably a slightly more reliable indicator of effectiveness than the anecdotal hairdresser story.
Another recent investigation25 revealed the same trend, showing that states with mask mandates had an average of 27 positive SARS-CoV-2 “cases” per 100,000 people, whereas states with no mask mandates had just 17 cases per 100,000. I reviewed these and other findings in my December 31, 2020, article, “Mask Mandates Are Absolutely Useless.”
The CDC’s scientific backing for double-masking is equally flimsy. Using rubber dummy heads for their experiments, they claim wearing two tightly fitted masks could reduce exposure to aerosols by about 95%.26,27
However, there are several reasons to take these results with a grain of salt, starting with the fact that mannequins don’t breathe. The CDC even admits as much in its report, when they note that “double masking might impede breathing or obstruct peripheral vision for some wearers.”
In the final analysis, it seems clear that the most effective ways to prevent the spread of viral illnesses, SARS-CoV-2 included, is frequent handwashing with mild soap and water, and staying home if you have symptoms of a respiratory infection. As for masking up when you’re healthy, let alone double, triple or quadruple masking, there’s simply no scientific consensus for that strategy.