A letter to the editor published online April 1 could be cast as “April Fools!” if the topic were less serious [“With Latest Mask Study, a Hope for Respect,” March 29, Xpress].
The writer repeated misinformation about masking based on a misinformed New York Times op-ed regarding a review published by the prestigious Cochrane Library. She stated that the report concluded that masking made no difference in the spread of COVID-19, She overlooked the immediate correction published by Cochrane [avl.mx/prx9].
Their review did not show that masking didn’t work. It showed that encouraging people to mask didn’t help. At the same time, in the largest of the studies reviewed, including some 360,000 people, in the cities/regions where there was the most compliance in masking, the spread of COVID was significantly reduced [avl.mx/clu].
That is exactly the opposite of what mask opponents want us to believe.
— Cecil Bothwell
2 thoughts on “Letter: What the mask study really said”
Stupid is as stupid does.
I wrote the following as a comment to Mr. Bothwell in my published letter. I will copy my comment here as it corrects the erroneous claims that Mr. Bothwell is making above:
Mr. Bothwell’s comment here (and letter above) only give the political picture, not the scientific one. The Cochrane study showed that masks did not make any difference and that conclusion stands. The Cochrane editor issued a correction due to political pressure. The lead authors of the study, including Tom Jefferson, did not retract their findings. 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 the editor responded to pressure because of a grant of one and a half million dollars to the organization by the Gates Foundation. This is exactly the problem that my letter addressed.
Mr. Jefferson and his colleagues looked at 78 randomised trials with over 610,000 participants. Mr Bothwell refers to the Bangladesh study, one of the 78 trials that the scientists reviewed. In an interview with Demasi, Mr Jefferson said that the Bangladesh study was not about whether masks worked but about “increasing compliance for wearing a mask.” Also, there was a reanalysis of the Bangladeshi study which showed significant bias.
My point is highlighted by Mr. Bothwell’s comment. Citing one study without knowing the scientific history of studies on masks – and viruses, for that matter – can lead to politicians and others forcing policy based on insufficient and very flawed conclusions. This is a devastation of freedom. Poor science should never mask babies who need oxygen desperately for brain development, nor any other person who chooses to breath freely.