Unfortunately masks are not an effective tool to protect one’s self from a virus. The majority of masks being worn by the general public are cloth masks, which have a pore size of 80-500 microns. ‘The virus’ is 0.06-0.125 microns. Using a cloth mask to stop ‘the virus’ is like using a chain link fence to stop mosquitoes, completely ineffective.
I have compiled a variety of resources regarding the lack of efficiency of masks for viruses below. As I read more papers and check out more information I will add to this compilation, so make sure you check back.
First lets hear from Kristen Meghan, Occupational and Environmental Toxicologist and Tammy Clark, OSHA Environmental Health and Safety Specialist, aka mask experts. These are the people who tell doctors what to do when it comes to masks and PPE. Watch the video here.
Masks: The Science & Myths: Dr. Lee Merritt, MD from America’s Frontline Doctors
Disposable surgical face masks for preventing surgical wound infection in clean surgery.
“There was no statistically significant difference in infection rates between the masked and unmasked group in any of the trials.“
Wearing of caps and masks not necessary during cardiac catheterization
“No infections were found in any patient, regardless of whether a cap or mask was used.”
Is a mask necessary in the operating theatre?
“There was no increase in wound infections when masks were discarded in I 980; in fact there was a significant (p<0.05) decrease.”
The efficacy of standard surgical face masks: an investigation using “tracer particles”
“Particle contamination of the wound was demonstrated in all experiments.”
Postoperative wound infections and surgical face masks: A controlled study
“After 1,537 operations performed with face masks, 73 (4.7%) wound infections were recorded and, after 1,551 operations performed without face masks, 55 (3.5%) infections occurred.”
[Patient surgical masks during regional anesthesia. Hygenic necessity or dispensable ritual?].
“Surgical face masks worn by patients during regional anaesthesia, did not reduce the concentration of airborne bacteria over the operation field in our study. Thus they are dispensable.”
Do Anaesthetists Need to Wear Surgical Masks in the
Operating Theatre? A Literature Review with Evidence-Based Recommendations
“The evidence for discontinuing the use of surgical face masks would appear to be stronger than the evidence available to support their
“…there is evidence indicating a significant reduction in postoperative wound infection rates when theatre staff are unmasked.”
Use of face masks by non‐scrubbed operating room staff: a randomized controlled trial
“Surgical site infection rates did not increase when non‐scrubbed operating room personnel did not wear a face mask.”
Does evidence based medicine support the effectiveness of surgical facemasks in preventing postoperative wound infections in elective surgery?
“No significance difference in the incidence of postoperative wound infection was observed between masks group and groups operated with no masks (1.34, 95% CI, 0.58-3.07). There was no increase in infection rate in 1980 when masks were discarded. In fact there was significant decrease in infection rate (p < 0.05).”
Bag Exchange in Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis Without Use of a Face Mask: Experience of Five Years
“Peritonitis rates reported during our observation period are compatible with those seen in other centers (2,3) and support the hypothesis that routine use of a face mask during CAPD bag exchange may be unnecessary.”
Disposable surgical face masks for preventing surgical wound infection in clean surgery
“There was no statistically significant difference in infection rates between the masked and unmasked group in any of the trials.”
Many pre-existing conditions and symptoms indicate a person cannot safely wear a mask without risking personal harm. According to OSHA a tolerance test and questionnaire is required to establish who may or may not wear a mask safely. The tolerance test/questionnaire and full list of conditions prohibiting mask wearing can be found here.