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Show Compassion by Refusing to Wear Face Masks in Public

I have been independently studying the COVID-19 pandemic, since it first gained widespread attention.

show-compassion-by-refusing-to-wear-face-masks-in-public

Distorted Truth

On February 27, 2022, a former Surgeon General of the United States (Jerome Adams) wrote the following commentary on Twitter:

  • Whether you disbelieve the science on masking, or you feel it’s your “right” not to mask, or you just don’t like it, one reason that I mask in public is out of respect for others who may be immunocompromised, unvaccinated, or unaware of my vax status. Compassion still matters.

This is not a logical appeal to promote public health. Rather, it is an intellectually shallow, grossly distorted statement about failed non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI's). It is a naive statement supported only by an excessively emotional accusation, wrongfully aimed at rational people who understand that face masks, as they have been promoted for COVID-19, are talismans of superstition, mandated through a campaign of mass fraud.

Even more, Adams' statement is a blatant inversion of why rational people refuse to wear COVID-19 face masks. Rational people are the very ones showing compassion for other people who have needlessly been conditioned to fear the bare faces of their fellow human beings.

Compassion means showing sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

People still wearing masks for COVID-19 suffer from a delusion that has been foisted upon them by incessant, unrelenting promotion by trusted health authorities who should know better. Mask wearing people deserve pity, because they have been misled for multiple years by experts whom they trusted completely. Mask wearing people sustain the superstition that has been promoted as science, thus causing further suffering and misfortune for many other people, especially children.

Rational people show compassion for others and passion to promote the truth, when they choose not to wear face masks. They show compassion for other people who have been denied the truth, who suffer in needless fear, and who bear the misfortunes of ignorant or incompetent leadership. Rational people show this concern for others by practicing what actual science, proper cost/benefit analysis, and common sense support.

Timeline of Mask Guidelines in USA

From the very beginning of the declared COVID-19 emergency in January 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not recommend face masks. It stated that such masks are not even used during flu season, since there is no evidence of benefit. In February 2020, the CDC continued to recommend that people not wear face masks, since they were unnecessary.

In March 2020, the CDC, the US Surgeon General, and the US Department of Health and Human Services all recommended against the use of face masks. The Surgeon General even told everyone to stop buying masks, since they were not effective. In April 2020, the CDC finally changed its position and recommended cloth masks, even though it still considered that masks offered little protection for wearers. Why would a trusted health agency act in such a contradictory manner?

During the same month in which the CDC changed it’s position without evidence, the World Health Organization (WHO) gave its own assessment of the lack of science regarding mask use. During the previous year (2019), the WHO had already published an extensive report (see below), which included a review of evidence to support its March 2020 position on the lack of science to justify mass masking:

World Health Organization (2019). Chapter 1.3 Face Masks, in Non-Pharmaceutical Public Health Measures for Mitigating the Risk and Impact of Epidemic and Pandemic Influenza, pages 21-26.

Table 7 From the World Health Organization's 2019 Report Discussing Masks

show-compassion-by-refusing-to-wear-face-masks-in-public

In June 2020, seemingly in defiance of its own research, the WHO revised its guidelines and changed its position by recommending face masks, while still admitting there was no evidence for the effectiveness of wearing a mask.

This flip appears to have occurred due to strong activism by mask advocates, driven by a grossly mistaken notion that asymptomatic people drive a pandemic, which they do not, as explained at the following link :

Fallacy of the Asymptomatic Carrier

Highest Quality Evidence Does Not Support Face Mask Mandates

Other researchers, independent of the WHO or any other government agency, have also sorted through many face mask studies to compile high-quality lists of evidence showing that sound science positively does not support public face masking. Here are a few of those lists:

Paul Alexander (February, 2021). Masking: A Careful Review of the Evidence. AIER.
[Paul Alexander bio]

Paul Alexander (December, 2021). More than 150 Comparative Studies and Articles on Mask Ineffectiveness and Harms, Brownstone Institute.

Fourteen Randomized Controlled Studies Showing Face Mask Ineffectiveness

Jon Salisbury, MD (August, 2021). The Unmasking Of The Mask Propaganda, Dr. Jon's ICU.

[Jon Salisbury, MD bio]

Reality Check on Mandates

The laws of physics and the rules of sound reasoning did not suddenly change, when COVID-19 happened. New variants of the original virus also did not suddenly change the universe to operate differently. Nothing about the previous science had changed -- the same principles still applied, but panic, ignorance, and opportunism somehow displaced these.

Consequently, one of the most baffling episodes of mass human behavior in history has materialized.

These twelve graphs show real-world data (from March 2020 through October 2020), clearly confirming findings of all the above studies:

show-compassion-by-refusing-to-wear-face-masks-in-public

Notice that, in every instance, large peaks in COVID-19 case growth occurred months after mask mandates came into force. Furthermore, comparing regions with broad mask requirements to regions with no broad mask requirements revealed little difference in case growth between the regions.

False Appeal to the Advancement of Face Mask Research

Once again, the basic science surrounding face masks did not change, when SARS-CoV-2 and its variants came along. What did change was the level of desperation to fashion solutions to an exaggerated threat, the intensity of focus on masks, and the scale of determination to force this mask focus into practice, based on grossly insufficient or poor quality reasoning.

Policy decisions emerging from this desperation have been justified, in large part, by appealing to mechanical droplet studies as the latest research. Such studies invariably focus on the larger respiratory droplets produced during speaking or coughing, attributing mask effectiveness to a mask's ability to impede forward movement of these visible particles.

A focus on respiratory particles, thus, has been erroneously equated to a focus on viral particles themselves (located inside respiratory particles). Researchers in the most cited studies have not really considered or modeled the detailed dynamics of these smaller viral particles. Rather, they have simply assumed that the dynamics of the larger fluid particles are the dynamics of the much smaller particles. Even more, they have focused only on straight, forward movement of the particles.

Corona Virus Particles Inside Respiratory Droplets and Aerosols

show-compassion-by-refusing-to-wear-face-masks-in-public

What is the fate of actual virus particles, after respiratory droplets containing them collide with mask fibers? How do these particles accumulate, migrate, and diffuse through mask fibers? Do they recombine with moisture that continues to be applied through constant breathing and then re-emerge into the surrounding air, under pressure of this constant breathing?

There has been a lack of focus on these tiniest of respiratory particles (the aerosols), in which infectious viruses travel most efficiently. The real advancement in research has been the realization that SARS-CoV-2 uses airborne transmission as a primary mechanism to infect.

Air does not simply travel forward -- it moves in all directions, through and around objects, in chaotic currents and streams, leaking from the gaps and pours of any mask, suspending the tiniest particles it carries for hours. All droplet studies that policy makers have cited as latest research (to justify mass masking) failed to account properly for infectious aerosols. Mask mandates based on this failure have likewise failed.

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Particle Clouds Leaking From Masks

Face mask leakage diagram derived from original source

Face mask leakage diagram derived from original source

The Latest Recommendation -- N95 Respirators

As the limitations (failures) of simple masks appear to be gaining greater acceptance, policy makers have started leaning towards recommending N95 respirators as a better approach to mass masking. Policy makers who endorse N95s claim that these respirators filter 95% of particles 0.1-0.3 microns, clearly sufficient to intercept large respiratory droplets. Again, this qualification applies to droplets, not virus particles inside droplets. What happens to the virus particles? Respiratory particles are not virus particles. Once again, where are specific, detailed models and analyses of actual virus particles?

According to one study (see below), an infectious respiratory aerosol particle theoretically could be as small as a single virus particle, at around 0.09 microns, which is near or below the lower limit of an N95's filtering capacity:

Lee B. U. (2020). Minimum Sizes of Respiratory Particles Carrying SARS-CoV-2 and the Possibility of Aerosol Generation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(19), 6960.

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Some important concerns, thus, arise:

  1. If a considerable number of infectious virus particles are contained within the filter and on the surface of an N95, then does this not mean that truly infected people wearing N95's would be inhaling larger concentrations of infectious particles than if not wearing N95's?
  2. Even if only some of the infectious virus aerosol particles leaked from N95's, then does this not mean that a cloud of more concentrated infectious agents still exists in the air that other people breathe, re-breathe, and further concentrate with still more infectious particles in any shared environment?

An Even More Important Question

In practice, are N95's really more effective against viral infections? At least one randomized clinical trial (see below) from 2019 says No:

Radonovich LJ, Simberkoff MS, Bessesen MT, et al. (2019). N95 Respirators vs Medical Masks for Preventing Influenza Among Health Care Personnel: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA, 322(9):824–833. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.11645

  • Among outpatient health care personnel, N95 respirators vs medical masks as worn by participants in this trial resulted in no significant difference in the incidence of laboratory-confirmed influenza.

Real-world data appears to support this finding, as illustrated below by the COVID-19 case growth curve for Austria, a country that imposed an N95 mandate in January 2021:

N95 Mandates in Austria

show-compassion-by-refusing-to-wear-face-masks-in-public

Notice how steeply daily new COVID-19 cases spiked, seven or more months after the first N95 mandate, when an even more restrictive N95 mandate was in force, after which an even steeper and higher spike in cases occurred four months later in January 2022.

Clearly, all this evidence shows that COVID-19 case numbers rise and fall regardless of mask mandates. Mask mandates have nothing to do with controlling case numbers. For this reason alone, continuing to declare mask mandates is wrongheaded.

Overlooked, Misrepresented and Ignored Adverse Effects of Face Masks

Face mask mandates perpetuate ignorance of the facts. Even worse, they promote harm, not health.

The latest endorsement of N95's, in particular, raises the issue of adverse effects (of masks) to a significant level of concern. A proper, responsible, competent, benefit analysis cannot ignore these adverse effects. Consequently, the physical, psychological, economic, and social costs of mask mandates outweigh any misguided adherence to them.

Below, for example, are four studies that plainly lay out adverse physical effects:

İpek, S.; Yurttutan, S.; Güllü, U.U. et al. (2021). Is N95 Face Mask Linked to Dizziness and Headache?. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 94, 1627–1636:

  • Respiratory alkalosis [elevated blood pH beyond the normal range] and hypocarbia [decrease in blood carbon dioxide levels below the normal range] were detected after the use of N95. Acute respiratory alkalosis can cause headache, anxiety, tremor, muscle cramps. In this study, it was quantitatively shown that the participants’ symptoms were due to respiratory alkalosis and hypocarbia.

Kisielinski, K.; Giboni, P., Prescher; A., Klosterhalfen, B.; Graessel, D., Funken, S.; Hirsch, O. (2021). Is a Mask that Covers the Mouth and Nose Free From Undesirable Side Effects in Everyday Use and Free of Potential Hazards? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(8), 4344:

  • Our review of the literature shows that both healthy and sick people can experience Mask-Induced Exhaustion Syndrome (MIES), with typical changes and symptoms that are often observed in combination, such as an increase in breathing dead space volume, increase in breathing resistance, increase in blood carbon dioxide, decrease in blood oxygen saturation, increase in heart rate, increase in blood pressure, decrease in cardiopulmonary capacity, increase in respiratory rate, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, headache, dizziness, feeling hot and clammy, decreased ability to concentrate, decreased ability to think, drowsiness, decrease in empathy perception, impaired skin barrier function with itching, acne, skin lesions and irritation, overall perceived fatigue and exhaustion.
  • Wearing masks does not consistently cause clinical deviations from the norm of physiological parameters, but according to the scientific literature, a long-term pathological consequence with clinical relevance is to be expected owing to a longer-lasting effect with a subliminal impact and significant shift in the pathological direction.
  • This pathogenetic damage principle with a chronic low-dose exposure with long-term effect, which leads to disease or disease-relevant conditions, has already been extensively studied and described in many areas of environmental medicine.
  • Extended mask-wearing would have the potential, according to the facts and correlations we have found, to cause a chronic sympathetic stress response induced by blood gas modifications and controlled by brain centers. This in turn induces and triggers immune suppression and metabolic syndrome with cardiovascular and neurological diseases.

Purushothaman, P. K., Priyangha, E., & Roopak, V. (2021). Effects of Prolonged Use of Facemask on Healthcare Workers in Tertiary Care Hospital during COVID-19 Pandemic. Indian Journal of Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery, 73(1), 59-65:

  • In conclusion, the use of face masks plays a pivotal role in causing significant discomfort in all the participants during its prolonged usage which can limit the efficient usage of face masks, leading to decreased protection.

Li, Y.; Tokura, H.; Guo, Y. P.; Wong, A. S.; Wong, T.; Chung, J.; & Newton, E. (2005). Effects of Wearing N95 and Surgical Facemasks on Heart Rate, Thermal Stress and Subjective Sensations. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 78(6), 501–509:

  • Therefore, it can be concluded that N95 and surgical face masks can induce significantly different temperatures and humidity in the micro-climates of face masks, which have profound influences on heart rate and thermal stress and subjective perception of discomfort.

The Practical Impossibility of Proper Use

Possibly the greatest wrong of policy makers mandating masks is pretending that widespread failure in proper technique of using masks does not exist. It most certainly does exist, and pretending that it does not is nothing less than hiding from reality in blind, willful ignorance.

A person need only observe mask-wearing behavior in any public place, to see this widespread failure first hand. People touch their masks repeatedly with unsanitized hands, cram multiply used masks into pockets and purses, place contaminated masks onto car dashboards or seats, hang a mask from one ear, wear a mask below their noses, wear a mask below their chin. It truly is amazing to witness the myriad variations of wrong technique in people who either believe they are wearing a mask properly or are merely performing the ritual being demanded of them under threat of being fired from a job or shunned by those whom they want to keep in good favor.

Such superficial behavior does not occur only in people for whom mask wearing is new. A study done in Hong Kong, a part of the world where mask wearing has been a long-practiced tradition, reveals similar poor performance in the technique of proper mask use:

Lee, L. Y.; Lam, E. P.; Chan, C. K.; Chan, S. Y.; Chiu, M. K.; Chong, W. H.; Chu, K. W.; Hon, M. S.; Kwan, L. K.; Tsang, K. L.; Tsoi, S. L.; & Wu, C. W. (2020). Practice and Technique of Using Face Masks Amongst Adults in the Community: A Cross-Sectional Descriptive Study. BMC Public Health, 20(1), 948:

  • A face mask should be used correctly to achieve the desired effect. Incorrect usage may increase, instead of decrease, the spread of respiratory infections. The proper use of a face mask comprises the correct practice and wearing technique.
  • This study [of 1500 adults] revealed that the performance of the participants in terms of technique was unsatisfactory.

Covering one's face in the course of daily life and work is simply too unnatural, uncomfortable, and stressful. Even if masks worked, expecting mass compliance with proper technique to ensure actual effectiveness of mask use is unreal beyond any measure of mature intelligence.

As the authors of the above study point out, holding belief and knowledge on a health behavior does not imply that one performs that health behavior correctly and consistently over long periods.

Simply exerting effort to promote belief and increase knowledge of a health behavior is not enough to result in truly effective, large-scale behavioral change. Effective mask use would require constant, proper performance on a massive scale that is not achievable.

No rational human being can expect unfatiguing practice of proper mask wearing technique during an entire life that already challenges many people to the limit. As explained earlier, such an expectation has no rational basis even remotely worthy of guiding public health policies. Allowing the current pretense of proper use, thus, encourages unscientific, undisciplined, unsanitary, and even cruel behavior in the name of good health.

As D. G. Rancourt puts it:

  • ... there is no policy-grade evidence to support forced masking on the general population, and ... all the latest-decade’s policy-grade evidence points to the opposite: not recommending forced masking of the general population. Therefore, the politicians and health authorities are acting without legitimacy and recklessly.

D. G. Rancourt (2020). Face Masks, Lies, Damn Lies, and Public Health Officials: "A Growing Body of Evidence", ResearchGate.

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