Letter: Searching for truth about mask studies and more

Graphic by Lori Deaton

A letter to the editor published in the April 19 issue [“What the Mask Study Really Said,” Xpress] included several statements that were either incorrect or misleading.

Cochrane did not “correct” the results of the Cochrane Review in question. Instead, it stated its opinion that the conclusions of the study should refer to “interventions to promote mask wearing” rather than “mask wearing” itself. However, opinions are subject to conflict-of-interest pressures, and in this case, it is notable that Cochrane officially partners with the World Health Organization and receives major funding from the National Institutes of Health. Both organizations asserted strongly that masking was an effective way to stop the spread of COVID.

Ironically, the one study that the letter writer championed as proof of masking effectiveness (the “Bangladesh study”) was one in which the researchers were tasked with both promoting mask usage for Bangladeshi policymakers, and evaluating the effectiveness of those promotions with respect to COVID-related outcomes, a clear conflict of interest.

If you are promoting mask-wearing, then you must communicate the importance of masking for the purpose of preventing COVID transmission. But if your study conclusions do not confirm your claims of effectiveness, then you look a bit foolish, as though the information you distributed was really propaganda, rather than factual. Thus, there is great incentive, at every decision point in the study, to make a decision that favors the claim of mask effectiveness.

To assess that high risk of bias, the Bangladesh study data were re-analyzed by Chikina and others [avl.mx/crz]. They were able to confirm that anomalous differences in sample size were due to study bias, thereby destroying the scientific validity of the Bangladesh study results. Moreover, their unbiased analysis of the data showed there was no valid evidence in the data that masking (or a greater amount of masking) prevented COVID infections, according to the usual scientific standard (95% confidence).

Sadly, the repudiation of the Cochrane Review by Cochrane governance bodies gives only a tiny hint of the unprecedented level of breathtaking censorship that became the new paradigm during the whole sordid COVID affair. Social and mainstream media, political figures, governments, scientific journals, medical licensing boards and academic institutions all participated with gusto, proving that they no longer deserve your trust.

Of all the bad advice and misinformation peddled to you nonstop in the last three years, perhaps the worst advice was that you should not do your own research because you are not smart enough to distinguish between genuine people and hucksters. If you seek out alternative sources of news, you absolutely have the ability to see “red flags,” to understand conflict of interest, to connect the dots and to note who is censoring the data and the truth. And that is exactly why you are dissuaded from doing so.

But how do you find the truth, given a censorship structure that has the goal of destroying the reputations and livelihoods of researchers who reach conclusions that differ from the mainstream narrative? For those of you who are willing to think for yourself and trust your own judgment and instincts, I would encourage you to start watching the weekly video episodes posted at TheHighWire.com or the shorter episode segments, such as the recent ones that highlight the stunning censorship and suppression of budesonide and ivermectin, effective COVID treatments that could have saved millions of lives.

Science and censorship cannot coexist. Neither can science and conflict of interest. Follow the money and the censorship, and you will find the truth.

— William Stanish, Ph.D., biostatistics

Editor’s note: While supported by some studies for treatment of COVID-19, ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug, is currently not authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of COVID-19, and the National Institutes of Health’s COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel recommends against the use of the drug in the treatment of COVID-19 (avl.mx/cs0).


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8 thoughts on “Letter: Searching for truth about mask studies and more

  1. therealduckie

    As you are not a Doctor of virology, immunology or communicable diseases, I will trust the doctors that are.

    Masks work.

    Ivermectin doesn’t.

    That you included the latter was enough to discredit you, but for you to link to a quack website pushing the likes of RFK Jr and your using phrasing like “censorship” in the context of science while falsely accusing respected, trusted, and proven agencies like NIH and WHO of “bias” tells me you are beyond lost.

    I feel sorry for you. But hey, you got your 15 minutes of “free speech”. Just a shame it was…whatever this was.

    In the future, maybe stick to writing about baseball.

    • christiana

      The real duckie knows what “real” science is. I wonder whose side the real duckie would have taken in Galieo’s time? Better, does the real duckie know what the real inventor of PCR tests, Kary Mullis, had to say about the real Fauci and the use of PCR to test for disease? And, what does baseball have to do with a Ph.D. in biostatistics?

      I have many questions for the real duckie. But I better duck out because he might start swimming in my direction.

      • therealduckie

        Do you mean the same Kary Mullis that denied the scientific evidence supporting climate change and ozone depletion, who questioned/doubted the existence of HIV/AIDS, and had also asserted his belief in astrology…not to mention his well-documented dive into psychedelics and amphetamines/meth? Same Kary who believed in bigfoot and the Lochness Monster? The same Kary whose Alma-mater called him “Intolerable”?

        That the Kary you mean?

        Just a side note: Mullis died prior to Covid-19. He was well- known as a trouble maker and his own labs fought to have him ousted. He married 4 times, and dated his students while married. The man was no saint and definitely not someone to pull out of a hat to support your “cause”.

  2. christiana

    Thank you for this letter Mr. Stanish.

    I too did some research into the Cochrane retraction of their findings. The lead scientist on the study, Mr Tom Jefferson, said that he and his team did not retract their findings that masks do not work. When Mr. Jefferson was contacted by substack author MaryAnne Demasi, he said “Cochrane has thrown its own researchers under the bus again. The apology issued by Cochrane is from Soares-Weiser not from the authors of the review.” Demasi writes that many believe Soares-Weiser, the editor, responded to pressure because of a grant of one and a half million dollars to Cochrane by the Gates Foundation.

    If science is settled by big money donations and legitimate studies are silenced through retractions and censorship, then we really do have a sordid situation as you wisely argue.

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