Statistics

Why kids should not be wearing masks, and how to calm those who think they should

This is a copy of a letter I wrote to a school board on the subject of masking children. You may find it of use in your own school district.

After writing this, Mich. Comp. Laws Section 380.1307b came to my attention, which says, among other things, ” the following practices are prohibited for school personnel in the public schools of this state under all circumstances, including emergency situations:…Any restraint that negatively impacts breathing.”

Dear School Board Members,

I am William M Briggs, and I’m writing to encourage you not to require masks for kids at school (or for anybody).

I have a PhD in Statistics from Cornell, and have done medical research for more than two decades. I have just over 100 professional papers. I’m co-author of the book The Price of Panic: How a Tyranny of Experts Turned a Panic into a Catastrophe, and author of Uncertainty (a scholarly work showing how scientists and doctors become over-certain).

Besides all the parental concerns of how masks harm children, there are two main arguments why masks shouldn’t be required for anybody:

1) They don’t work,

2) Even if they did, they aren’t needed for kids.

Let me briefly outline the evidence for both.

THEY DON’T WORK

We have a century’s worth of studies showing masks don’t work. The first studies came out after the Spanish Flu of 1917, during which mask mandates were first used. The conclusion then (as now) was that masks did nothing to stem infections.

Most relevant to Covid is the “Danish study”. It is the March 2021 paper “Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers” in the Annals of Internal Medicine by Bundgaard and others.

Some 6,000 Danes were split into two groups, one without masks and one with masks. Not just masks but the “best” masks, and with training in their use. Such as if you touch it, change it. If it becomes moist, change it. And so on. (None of which kids would do.)

The results were no difference in infection rates in the two groups.

Another major paper was 2020’s “Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings–Personal Protective and Environmental Measures” by Xiao and others in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

This was “meta analysis”, an examination of about twenty other mask efficacy papers. They discovered, again, masks do nothing to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases (even in hospital settings).

There are dozens of others. I’d be happy to provide a list and summary. Including the example of Sweden and other countries who never had any restrictions and did better than those with them.

The natural question is if all these negative studies exist, why do so many experts say masks work? The answer is simple: these experts simply assume masks work (they block breath, right?), and they have not considered, and never cite, the dozens upon dozens of negative studies.

This has been a panic not just among non-medically trained people, but among those who have training and should know better, but who don’t, because they believe they don’t have time to question their assumptions.

MASKS AREN’T NEEDED

As I write to you, fewer than 400 kids from 0 to 17 have died from Covid in the USA since January 2020, a period of 18 months. Each of these children suffered from multiple comorbidities besides Covid; i.e. they were otherwise very sick.

This is a number far less than the number of kids who usually succumb to the flu in the same period. (When no masks were required. Interestingly, flu has disappeared worldwide these last 18 months.)

Not only that, but the trends in deaths in children is down, even in the midst of the Delta and other variants. These variants, as always happens in outbreaks, are less virulent than the original bugs. More people become infected, but the illness is far less severe than with the original variant.

Don’t forget ordinary coronaviruses cause the common cold (they are one of their causes), and the Delta for those about under 50-60 is not that deadly.

I’m sending you a plot of Covid deaths by age, prepared by the CDC. You’ll see (and anybody can see, even nervous parents) this is an old person’s disease. You have to strain to see when any kids died. The rate is so low they just don’t show up. The rate is decidedly not increasing, even as the deaths do bump up a bit for the elderly because of the Delta.

You can do this plot yourselves by going to this site:

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#trends_dailytrendscases

Look to the left sidebar, select “Demographic Trends”, click the top item (shows Race/Ethnicity, Age, and sex), then in the picture under “Deaths” click “Age”.

The total number of kids who died can be found at the CDC, too (scroll to the bottom of this page):

https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Provisional-COVID-19-Death-Counts-by-Sex-Age-and-S/9bhg-hcku

As I write, the total number of 0-17 Covid deaths is 385. To contrast, 887 kids died from pneumonia during the same time. With no panic about that.

WHAT TO DO?

I’d suggest showing these official facts and figures to parents made nervous from the unrelenting storm of negative reporting. I don’t have to tell you how the media’s business is to gain audience, and they have discovered the best way to do it. Fear sells.

You’ll note that you never hear these official statistics in reports about Covid, and in debates about whether kids should be made to wear masks. Why is that?

That question is partly rhetorical. We are in a panic, where reason and rationality subside in favor of doing something, anything, for the mere sake of being seen doing it. Especially “for” the children.

Now I’d be happy to come and present all this material to any of your meetings. I understand a lot of parents are frightened, and I believe the best way to allay their fears is to show them the CDC’s own numbers.

Please feel free to forward this to anybody.

Thanks for your consideration,

William M Briggs

Update All should read the comment from Denis below.

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Categories: Statistics

57 replies »

  1. But, but… masking is “doing something!” I’m afraid your letter is far too reasoned and thoughtful for the Experts.

  2. Look, parents gave the kids they hate to the government to raise and ELECTED the school board. I have zero sympathy here.

  3. Ike you said, it’s easy to understand why people think masks should work: they block the nose and mouth and that’s where the scary coronavirus comes from. The CDC uses the term “mechanically plausible”, which it is for someone who is expelling infectious fluids that are big enough to be caught by the mask. But if you’re sick enough to be I that situation, you should be at home already. For everyone else, the pores in the mask are too big to block the aerosols. Period. They don’t work no matter how much people think they should. (And I’ll ignore the “asymptomatic spread” lie that has been used for so much harm in the past 18 months…)

    The way some people – some parents – are so married to the idea that masks make any difference at all is very disturbing. It doesn’t help that the media and the federal government trumpet this message, too, because it reinforces the maskers’ idea that those opposed to masks are just malcontents and dissenters.

    The government wants masks because they reinforce the notion that there is a “crisis” and therefore excessive government power is needed to deal with it. The masks literally remind people to be scared.

    And this was my objection to the mandate when my county in Texas implemented one back in May of 2020: my free speech rights were being violated, my freedom of conscience, because by making me wear the mask, I was being compelled to spread the message of fear that was not warranted. No judge would ever agree with me, but that’s judicial law, which is corrupted, not natural (law in my mind).

    The subset of people who want masking mandates are mentally weak people who want reassurance and comfort, which they get from seeing other people masked up. Some may or may not agree with the actual efficacy of masks, but all of them are in the “doing something” camp and making everyone play song makes them feel better.

  4. “I understand a lot of parents are frightened, and I believe the best way to allay their fears is to…”

    …toss the covid masterminds in a woodchipper.

  5. Dr. Briggs, thank you for an excellent letter that parents can present to their school board.
    I agree that the best way to allay parents’ fear is to show them the CDC’s own numbers.

  6. Dear Dr Briggs,
    I have been following your coronadoom updates since Feb 2020. I had already myself done basic calculations based on what I say coming out of Italy, and, besides, I am generally sceptical to the panic mode of mass
    > media. I live in Sweden, and, having just read your letter to the school board (as well as seen statements about Sweden many times in your blog), I would like to point out something. It is not accurate to say that we
    have had no restrictions in Sweden. Fortunately we had a reasonable virologist (a rare breed nowadays) heading the policy team from the start, and he has not fallen for the masks, an opinion based on evidence, and was generally against lock-down, as was his predecessor. However, the government was unable to keep
    a cool head with so much international pressure – Sweden does not like sticking out as a conservative example – and did impose – by previous standards – Draconian measures last November that were not lifted until
    > June of this year. Restaurants and bars had to close very early, public indoor gatherings were restricted to 8 participants – this hit church attendance more than anything. It was a ridiculous policy, given the liberality in other ways, but we did have some restrictions. No lock-down, however, and no masks. Thank heaven, we are getting more and more back to normal, but I am still teaching online – but my employer has been particularly cautious (yet I have not been stopped going to my office every day throughout the doom). Of course, Sweden IS normal by comparison. Please note that Denmark, Norway and Finland did have lockdowns, though mild in comparison to the far-gone UK. I think it is important to get these details right to avoid charges of sloppiness. About your letter to the schoolboard, its bluntness strikes me as unpersuasive to the very people you need to
    persuade. Anyway, I have been convinced from early on that this was not a pandemic so much as a power-grab, so you might as well be blunt. Good luck with your letter!

  7. It is likely that most states have laws like this now:

    https://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/el/le/yr18ltr1224.asp


    An educational provider shall not do any of the following:

    Use a physical restraint technique that obstructs a pupil’s respiratory airway or impairs the pupil’s breathing or respiratory capacity, including techniques in which a staff member places pressure on a pupil’s back or places his or her body weight against the pupil’s torso or back.

  8. The response to your second point (about not needing masks) will be something something but long covid. Guaranteed. We really need some stats to assess whether this particular boogeyman is for real or yet another panic induced tale of terror.

  9. Another great column and comments, thank you Briggs. Here’s my two cents:

    When you tell a Branch Covidian that fewer than 400 children (under age 20) have died “with covid” in this country, it doesn’t really register. The creed of the Walking Woke, is “Facts don’t matter when you’re morally correct.”

    They might say “that’s still too many” or “if masks and vexxines save just one child’s life….”

    If they’re a typical Democrat-Communist, they’ll say all that, while at the same time working hard to enshrine “late-term abortion” (infanticide) into their state’s constitution; and they’ll deem their state’s baby-killing factories “essential services” during the periodic “lockdowns” instituted to crush the small-business private sector.

    Perhaps the Branch Covidians think most people (or just enough) won’t notice the contradiction, or won’t care. Or maybe they don’t see it as a contradiction: The children they want to mask and vexxinate, are “wanted” (and how), whereas the children they kill after extracting their organs (without painkiller because painkiller in organ tissue ruins it for sale) are “not wanted”; and so, mothers sign off for abortionists to remove kidneys and other tissue, maybe not knowing it’s taken while their babies are still alive; never-mind, it’s for the greater good, in order to develop their “HEK-“ (human embryonic kidney) covid vexxines, and conduct research into “chimeras” such as sewing babies’ scalps onto rats, just to see what happens.

    Most people are reasonable enough, and don’t want children wearing masks; but they also don’t want to “break the rules;” and they know their child will be ejected from school, if necessary by force, if they are “non-compliant.”

    This is why Dr. Fraudci is now talking about mandatory vexxination of your children, along with mandatory masks for children over age two…to make it easier to apply force, and consign the non-compliant to “quarantine centers.”

    Of course, Dr. Fraudci, the highest-paid person in our federal government, whose agency has funded gain of lethality research at the Wuhan Lab, has other powerful motivations for a forced vexxination campaign, such as partial ownership of the mRNA patent.

    The CDC has its own “foundation” that receives tens of millions from Big Pharma; probably other government agencies charged with managing our healthcare also receive sweet payoffs from the companies they are supposed to regulate. It was just a matter of time, for their products to be made “mandatory” while they were also protected from all liability for these products. What a fantastic deal. No wonder fascism is so popular with its practitioners.

    “A Consensus of Government Experts say…”. That is all it takes for most people to comply with just about anything. We don’t have to read about this in history books, we’re now seeing it with our own eyes.

    Briggs always has very useful and interesting posts on his twitter feed, and one of them was from a young mother:

    “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is actively *deleting* entire sections from their website re: early childhood development & the importance of facial cues for learning.

    In the past few days, they took down their “Face time is important for infants” PDF factsheet.

    They are memory-holing decades of known & accepted medicine, all bc they have embraced forced masking of our nation’s children and their parents. Wow. Will never listen to them again.”

    I could see adding this observation to a school board letter, as well.

    As Briggs points out, time and again, covid is primarily a disease of old and sick people.

    Here’s a two-minute clip of an army surgeon stating that only 200 service members have died “with covid”, but many more have died or suffered permanent disabilities from the vexxination:

    https://www.bitchute.com/video/WH1WHVg7tdcj/

    Given this, why have they made the mask and vexxination mandatory for all service members? We’ll have to ask the experts.

  10. Mask studies can be divided into three broad categories: observational, lab experiments, and randomized controlled trials (RCT). A randomized controlled trial is the gold standard for research. There are obvious limitations with the other two types. The CDC, in their infinite wisdom, discount the RCT work by nitpicking at the edges of these studies. The only conclusion I can come to is that all the RCT mask studies show mask don’t work and that doesn’t fit the narrative of the CDC. Instead the CDC promotes the observational Missouri hairdresser study and the Provincetown, Mass resort area study as justification for masking. Both of these studies are so flawed that you don’t need an advanced degree to see the conclusions are worthless. Lab experiments are little better as they always have perfect mask fit during the entire study and have unrealistic use scenarios. The hamster mask study is really all you need to know about the quality of lab experiments with masks. It seems clear to me the CDC has an agenda and is only pushing studies that favor their position of masking everyone.

  11. One way to short circuit the “if it just saves one life” is to ask the amount of lives we should be willing to accept to do that.

    For example, take vaccines. I will readily grant that they may have some ability to prevent infection or reduce severity of infection. At the same time, it is apparent that they have killed people. The data suggests the number is currently in the the thousands. Perhaps this is an acceptable loss considering the benefits of the vaccines, but those people are still dead.

    How many must die so that some may be saved from COVID? If saving the lives of children is paramount, is it worth 5,000 deaths from vaccine complications in order to save 500 children? Anyone making a “we must do it for the children!” must be able to cite an actual number of acceptable losses towards this end.

    People say “if it just saves one life it’s worth it” but they never say that in service of anything that they were already doing. It is meant to browbeat other people, not to convince yourself.

  12. The Danish mask study did not show there was no difference in transmission between masked and unmasked, but it was a 52-48% split, so not a significant difference.

  13. “There are dozens of other [studies]. I’d be happy to provide a list and summary. ”

    Could you please add this? It would be a huge help.

    As I understand it, the science is clear: meta analyses overwhelmingly show NO or NEGATIVE benefit from masks in preventing the spread of respiratory viruses.

    AND, until 2020, masking was explicitly NOT recommended by WHO or CDC as part of pandemic response protocols.

    BUT, to make any headway with local schools, we need overwhelming evidence, including as many studies as you can provide.

    Unfortunately, school boards, administrators, school nurses, and school health advisors are mostly laboring under the delusion that masks are scientifically PROVEN to be VERY effective against Covid transmission. This delusion comes from several sources:
    1) Masks “make sense” to them intuitively.
    2) The news media insists that masks work
    3) Politicians insist that masks work
    4) Health officials up the chain (city, state, federal) insist that masks work

    Also, the mask mandates and recommendations are coming from up the hierarchy of public health officials. The CDC, and most governors, and most state public health officials, all say schoolchildren should be masked. The schools agree, for three reasons:
    1) They are eager to comply and stay out of trouble
    2) They don’t WANT to exercise judgment, so they cop out and “follow guidance”
    3) They erroneously assume that the guidance from above is scientifically sound

    Also, they have adopted the zeitgeist of ignoring the “cost” side of the ledger, so they completely ignore all the negatives of masking–restricted breathing, restricted communication, psychological isolation, bacterial growth in and on masks, increased likelihood of slip-and-falls, etc etc etc.

    Last year, the schools were partly responding to panicked parents. Now the schools are working hard AGAINST parental preferences. Most parents do NOT want their elementary school kids masked. But the schools have decided that they have more to fear from politicians and public health officials than from disgruntled parents.

    The status quo is that most schools in most places will have kindergartners wearing masks all day every day for at LEAST the entire 2021-2022 school year.

    I LOVE what you’ve done here, Mr. Briggs. And I will indeed forward this letter to local school boards, schools, and city and state government offices.

    But I fear that to have even a chance of moving the needle, we will need an even more persuasive, even more thorough, even more overwhelming letter. I will be working on one myself, but I’d love to see another one from you, Mr. Briggs, because your first one is so great. If you had one brief to submit to the Supreme Court, with exhibits, to decide once and for all if elementary school kids would be masked or unmasked for the next 30 years, what would it say? If you had one persuasive letter to submit to the most terrified Covid neurotics before they voted on the fate of elementary school kids, what would it say?

    I’m suggesting this because I think you might be interested in this challenge and because I know you’d come up with something better than I can. But it’s obviously not my place to give you an assignment! So in the meantime, I’ll try tailoring your letter to my local situation and I’d still love your links to other studies so I have the fullest possible list of things to cite.

    Thank you!

  14. I had this argument somewhere about mid-covid with a (seemingly) very smart man who holds a PHD in physics. I put a peer reviewed paper (on mask effectiveness) in his hands. He read the abstract and handed it back to me and said “I’m sure the math is wrong and I don’t have time to prove it.”

    I’ve had similar arguments a number of times with others. The common answer being “Na naah! Bonny Henry says!” ( Bonny Henry is our head expert in BC Canada) So I say “show me the data?” Crickets.

    So, good luck with that. The experts are sure they are correct, and the not so experts are even MORE sure of what they are doing. Shrug. They’re all dead anyway. Here is a blast from the (not so distant) past that will become relevant really soon:

    https://principia-scientific.com/professor-dolores-cahill-people-will-start-dying-after-covid-vaccine/

    Dr. Cahill has not changed her position. There is a video on Rumble from August 18 in which she says “Get your finances in order. There are dark days ahead.”

  15. Briggs,

    “I have a PhD in Statistics from Cornell, and have done medical research for more than two decades. I have just over 100 professional papers. “

    One one hand, you’d like your readers not to trust experts, on the other hand, you’d like then to listen to because you are an expert. LOL. ( Thankfully, I don’t have to rely on you to read the research papers and make conclusions for me. )

    So why did the mask fail to control the Spanish Flu?

    There is plenty of literature concluding wearing masks were effective when worn by infected patients. Perhaps, your standard of efficacy is higher than mine. There are reasons why wearing masks wouldn’t work. Here are some. It is inconvenient and uncomfortable, therefore requires a great deal of discipline. It requires collective corporation.

    If you were a doctor, you probably would want to wear a mask to treat COVID patients. I wouldn’t know for sure nowadays. Some people are fearless because of their beliefs. All kinds of people.

    I hope you are not among those hypocrites who themselves have been vaccinated but broadcast anti-vaccine rhetoric. I am so sorry that I have to express this hope.

  16. JH,

    That’s a good point. It’s terrible to boast of credentials as proof of anything except ownership of credentials. But since I say the only thing we can do is to replace their Experts with our Experts, it was here a necessary strategy to get the ear of the school board members.

    No need for me to be vexxinated (which I’m not). I’ve had the coronadoom. Survived.

    Update: Yes, my standard of efficacy is higher than yours.

  17. Briggs, You attempt to persuade using facts and logic. You convinced me successfully. But I’m not your target audience. These people, school boards etc, are not persuaded by either facts or logic. They operate on a tribal basis of sticking together. Dissent is not permitted. To persuade, you need a different approach, one that shows maintaining the mask mandate (and all the other mandates) will result in a splintering of their political power base.

  18. If only William would follow the Science!

    We know he’s not following the science because he disagrees with the Masking Stuff. In other words, he failed the Following the Science Litmus Test.

    For those unscientific few who don’t know litmus tests….they’re simple tests (usually a treated strip of paper) which indicate, upon immersion, whether or not a solution is acidic or basic. Metaphorically they’re equally a simple test to indicate, usually, a very simple good/bad condition. In this case we can quickly determine whether or not ANYONE is ‘following-the-science’ (FTS) by whether or not they wear masks and support mask-wearing.

    Simple, huh!

    You object to masking (Science) you’re objecting to Science (masking). Boom. You’re not FTS. Fail.

    “Wait!” you say, “I thought science was asking questions and trying to find truth (which is is never absolutely known).”

    Hah! Wrong again.

    Science is doing what Experts tell you to do, because Science. Just like “Plants love Brawndo, cause Brawndo has what plants crave!” That’s Science, too! Brawndo has electrolytes and Science (and Simon Says) Wear Masks!

    Too bad William is not following the Science. I bet he’s not buying Brawndo, the Thirst Quencher either!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAqIJZeeXEc

  19. swordfishtrombone,

    Please explain the findings at your link. That is, explain to us the exact methods used and why they suggest the conclusion you advocate for.

    I am genuinely curious as to whether you are capable of doing this.

  20. No one in the general public going about everyday business should be wearing a mask. Nothing but medically/scientifically illiterate virtue-signaling theatre.

  21. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31142-9/fulltext

    Funding
    World Health Organization.

    Thanks. A “captive organization”.

    I guarantee that the bias has been built in before the results were tabulated.

    BDavi52

    Disparaging in content, without even a attempt at what “science” he is invoking.
    Obviously, there is a brick blocking the defecation of his musings of “science”.

    I’ll give you a hint: none of ANY contrary evidence to the CoVid1984 has EVER had a public, non-censored approach to go ahead with any measures so highly touted as “life saving”. Not even a democratic vote in any of the “Western Democ(k)racies, to forward the DOOM…

    My disparaging comment”: does “B” in BDavi52 stand for “bloviate”.

  22. The main reason people are so convinced the COVID is deadly to children can be found in the work on heuristics by Kahneman and Tversky. Specifically, the availability heuristic. Most people are getting their information via new broadcasts, perhaps most often local news. What leads on local news, but the rare and emotional stories of children catching and dying of COVID. Hence, since it is seen frequently and more than other stories, it most easily comes to mind.

  23. Rudolph Harrier,

    As we all know by know, the swishfishytoot can’t explain anything.

    Be thankful this time that he at least linked to something, whereas he usually likes to selectively quote but never directly link to anything, least we scrutinize his information.

    Anyway, along with Brigg’s letter, here’s another one from AFD to give to your coercive employers. Put the onus on them to explain why they are being so stupid. Demand clarity.

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/08/gary-g-kohls/important-information-to-employers-from-americas-frontline-doctors/

    Also this from our blessed experts.
    https://dailyexpose.co.uk/2021/08/22/medicine-regulators-knew-in-october-2020-that-the-covid-19-vaccines-would-cause-blood-clots-heart-damage-harm-to-children-and-death/

  24. Dennis,

    The reason the mask is being mandated for doing business, is to get people accustomed to the Mark of the Vexx passports.

    They are the ticket to freedom and everyday living. Obey government and everything will be fine. See how much better you life is?

    The masks are intended for:

    a) Propaganda purposes to advertise a state of panic. So a marketing strategy.

    b) A Conditioning tool, just as you would a dog, done in stages leading up to being well trained and acclimatized to getting your Mark and presenting it everywhere to do anything. Like a good doggy.

    c) As a subversive tool, to dehumanize you and discourage you, putting you in a mental state that helps point b)

    d) To identify those belligerents who see through all of the above and limit their actions and target them with a ‘solution.’

  25. If your school won’t accept Brigg’s letter, well there is another solution that’s just as effective.
    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/school-board-members-quitting-over-toxic-parents-who-oppose-mask-mandates-vaccines-and

    Also religious exempters should watch out for this one.
    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/washington-state-drops-gotcha-question-covid-objectors/

    I’m seeing this going around… “Putin has banned forcing Russians to get vaccinated and firing them for refusing to get vaccinated”
    https://twitter.com/Dustinpenner25/status/1431063413858336769

    But Eh… not really!

    “International studies have repeatedly found that Russians were among the most skeptical about vaccination, despite Moscow registering the first formula against coronavirus anywhere in the world last year. Hospitals and pop-up clinics offering the jab frequently sat empty until a range of measures introduced in Moscow and other regions, beginning in June, which required workers in a number of sectors to be immunized.

    In the Russian capital, companies in industries such as hospitality, leisure and transport must demonstrate that 60% of their staff have been vaccinated or else face hefty fines. Officials have confirmed that businesses can send home employees without pay if they refuse, in order to meet the quotas.”

    https://www.rt.com/russia/532766-putin-encouragement-get-jab/

    Putin is talking the talk, but let’s see if he will walk it given there are Russians being forced to jab.

  26. Thank you! This is an excellent letter. We won this battle in my children’s school. Unfortunately, I live in NY, and our new Governor made it a priority to impose mask mandates statewide.

    Question on the flu stats- why are the numbers non- existent? Is is propaganda? Mask believers would make you think it is due to masks. I don’t believe this to be the case, but how do you explain it? Many thanks in advance.

  27. For those who have not read “swordfishtrombone’s” reference, here are the highlights: “Face mask use could result in a large reduction in risk of infection (n=2647; aOR 0·15, 95% CI 0·07 to 0·34, RD ?14·3%, ?15·9 to ?10·7; low certainty [YES, LOW CERTAINTY]), with stronger associations with N95 or similar respirators compared with disposable surgical masks or similar (eg, reusable 12–16-layer cotton masks; pinteraction=0·090; posterior probability >95%, low certainty [YES, LOW CERTAINTY again]).”

  28. Probable emotional scarring including facial recognition developmental retardation should have stopped the masking of schoolkids on mass from ever becoming more than a fleeting thought. We are now rearing a mentally damaged and auto-immune suppressed generation.

  29. Masking school children is not for their protection (as we are being told) but to protect the teachers. Teachers unions and other adults want to protect themselves. Many are willing to sacrifice children to allay their own fears, however unfounded and irrational these fears may be.

    You know, hugging Grandma might kill her, etc etc. It’s also a step along the route of mass child vaccination – which is the ultimate goal. Each child is worth about $56 per year, as far as Big Pharma and the Media are concerned.

  30. Put a friggin mask on and shazzam, lo-and-behold you can’t stick your friggin virus-coated finger up your friggin nose (or even just rub your nose or lips), the way kids do, including kids from 20 to 95, many, many times a day — ‘cuz masks are a physical barrier to your stinkin hands (even if not to an aerosol). duhhhhhhh.

  31. But since I say the only thing we can do is to replace their Experts with our Experts,…

    Dear Mr. Briggs,

    Regardless of whether you are an expert or what your expertise is, this sends the message that your integrity has been compromised. By what? I don’t know. The media and the internet are full of poets speaking in codes, though less powerful than the magical bareword, that influence human mentalities.

    This is not to say that I am immune to those codes.

    Have you noticed that speakers in academic conferences rarely claim that they are experts, instead, they often state their areas of research include this and that? For good reasons.

  32. JH,

    My expertise is in Expert over-certainty. Which makes me an Expert Expert.

    Don’t say it out loud, though, because a blackhole could form from the contradiction.

  33. “acricketchirps”
    It took 4 readings.
    The ‘sarc’ was in the first sentence, then i lost the intent.
    Ya, that’s a sarcastic comment.
    Sometimes, one gets a little “reactive!”

    Thanks!

  34. Mann Friedman,

    Funding: World Health Organization. A “captive organization”.

    If funding alone is an argument against something, then Christianity can’t be trusted because churches depend on believers for their income.

    *

    Rudolph Harrier,

    Please explain the findings at your link. That is, explain to us the exact methods used and why they suggest the conclusion you advocate for.

    Why ask me to do that when you must know that it is completely irrelevant to whether the paper’s findings are valid?

    *

    Johnno,

    Be thankful this time that he at least linked to something, whereas he usually likes to selectively quote but never directly link to anything, least we scrutinize his information.

    I tend to avoid links in case my comments end up in a spam filter, but it’s not true to say I *never* link to anything. When I quote something, I quote it accurately, not selectively. It’s possible to copy and paste what I’ve quoted into google (or duckduckgo!) in order to find the original. But since you mention it, and because there doesn’t seem to be much of a problem posting links on here nowadays, I’ll try and remember to include links.

    It’s kind-of funny that you follow this with links to two junk right-wing disinformation sites. But to be fair, there’s often not much point linking directly to scientific papers, as Rudolph Harrier’s daft response above illustrates.

    *

    Chad W Jessup,

    YES, LOW CERTAINTY

    You could say exactly the same thing about the DanMask study cited by Briggs.

  35. Hey Briggs, maybe you could help me out with this one. @AndreasShrugged crowed about this study on Twitter, claiming it showed masks caused a reduction in COVID infection. It’s not peer-reviewed, just posted on a lefty web site, but we both know peer-review is no guarantee of validity, anyway. I’m not finding any fatal flaws in the study so far, though I suspect bias in the selection of the sampling frame. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

    https://www.poverty-action.org/study/impact-mask-distribution-and-promotion-mask-uptake-and-covid-19-bangladesh

  36. I agree with Robin.

    Justifying a thing “for the children” is something people say, but it’s seldom the real reason. In the case of masking children in school, or remote learning before that, to me it’s clearly always been about the fears of the teachers and on-site administrators.

    People realize that Covid isn’t a problem for kids, but there seems to be much confusion about how readily they infect others. Since that comes across as selfish, we get the stories about this kid dying from Covid over in that county.

    People are selfish, even school teachers. A persuasive argument will likely have to be less focused on what’s best for the kids and more focused on the self-interest of the teachers. Subtlety might be necessary.

    On the other hand, maybe the teachers do need a good shaming. Life has risks, and the teachers chose to spend their working days in a room full of little germ factories.

    “They bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say let ’em crash.”

  37. Thought I would report back, as I’ve read through the report from Bangladesh. I think a major confound in the results is social distancing. Along with differences in infection between treatment and control groups, there were differences in physical distancing. It may be that physical distancing accounts for the differences rather than mask-wearing. The authors make a point of claiming the increased physical distancing in the treatment group counters any argument that mask-wearing promotes closer physical proximity, but I think it may also indicate a Hawthorne effect, in which subjects were aware of being watched and changed their behavior accordingly (the authors admit their observations were not unobtrusive).

    Another point: people in the control group were free to wear masks, and did, but at a lower rate than the treatment group. In fact, the causation claimed by @AndreasShrugged pertains only to the intervention of promoting mask use; it clearly increased the use of masks (as it would anywhere you had “promoters” hectoring the populace). Any connection between mask use and infection is correlational.

    It is also relevant to note that the headline number of a relative risk reduction of 9.20% of infection between treatment and control is based on an infection rate of 0.76% (i.e., 76/10,000) in the control arm vs. 0.69% (i.e., 69/10,000) in the treatment arm.

    And I guess to bring this back to the point of Briggs’ letter, this study showed no significant difference in infection between treatment and control groups for those <50 years of age. It appears that even with a professionally conducted intervention and evaluation, mask-wearing would do little to prevent infection in school-age children (at least in rural Bangladesh).

  38. swordfishtrombone

    Why ask me to do that when you must know that it is completely irrelevant to whether the paper’s findings are valid?

    This is the most cowardly and transparent dodge I’ve seen on the internet, and that’s saying something.

    You could either be meaning one of two things here:

    1.) That your own knowledge is irrelevant to whether the paper is valid or not. But surely you must understand the paper well enough to know that its results are credible, or else you would be linking to something that you have no way of knowing whether it is true or false. And if that’s the case, why should anyone listen to anything you say, even if it’s just to read a link?

    2.) That the methods of the paper are irrelevant as to whether the conclusions are valid or not. This tack would be utterly incoherent, but consistent with the thought process of someone who cannot think beyond a worshipping of the “experts” appointed above him.

    Either way you are a buffoon, and furthermore since either way you dodged the question, you are also a coward.

    I’ll give you some points for at least showing up in the thread though. My personal prediction would be that you would stay away and not even acknowledge my question, for fear of being called out.

  39. Thanks, Ray! I’m gratified to see the Bad Cat saw some of the same points, but I missed the most obvious, no meaningful baselines.

  40. Agreed Briggs…the mask requirements are nothing but sugar pills.

    They’re just a superfluous asset that generally does nothing, unless of course, if you have one of those special N-95 masks. Or, maybe my lead paint mask at my painting job might technically block a virus with the advanced anti-dust-particle filters on it. But even then, wearing a mask that can blockade a virus is still NOT a guarantee that a virus will not be transmitted to you. You can get a virus transmitted through your hands or whatever else the mask isn’t protecting.

    Most people wearing masks anyway have no eye protection involved and alot of times viruses are transmitted through the eyes. Funny how they want to mandate masks but not eye protection or cover!

    On top of that, wearing a mask for a prolonged period of time is usually not healthy and might even make you more vulnerable to illness despite the stated goal to protect your health. Masks generally reduce your oxygen levels and can cause health problems like dizziness, headaches and even passing out which has actually happened to certain people wearing masks. Thus, a mask may reduce your natural defenses.

  41. “To persuade, you need a different approach, one that shows maintaining the mask mandate (and all the other mandates) will result in a splintering of their political power base.”

    Indeed that is already happening. Coronamania, by its very nature, becomes a holiness spiraling exercise among the useful idiots. And the New Normal, by its very nature, involves the powers that be propagandizing and pushing as far as they possibly can. What this inevitably means is that the Karens and the experts both become unmoored from what the general public sees as reality.

    After 18 months of not hearing so much as a cough in real life, the average person is much less worried about the Coronavirus than he or she may once have been.
    And after 7 months without Trump, most people’s political fever has dropped a few degrees. In this context, the continued insistence of school boards on masking elementary school children seems much less justifiable. Similarly, the fever of experts to get “shots in arms” (OR ELSE), followed by endless, mandated boosters, seems obviously suspicious given that the vexxines do not prevent transmission.

    This time last year, every good liberal swore by masks. Six months ago, every good liberal swore by vexxines. Enthusiasm for masks and vexxines was indeed a way to STRENGTHEN the cohesion of the Left.

    But now, 18 months into this, even the liberals are fatigued. And many of them have children. Seeing their children abused by “mandates” is souring some them on all of this. They are starting to see that “their team” would happily sacrifice children in the name of Corona purity.

    The liberals are also somewhat horrified to realize that getting two shots did NOT make them sufficiently holy–every six months they will need to take the next booster or else become just another dirty unvexxed deplorable. Liberals LIVE FOR getting holiness credit for their foolish actions and beliefs. The fact that their “vexxed” gold stars will now EXPIRE feels like a horrible injustice to them.

    All in all, it’s a perfect storm. Liberal school boards should be declaring victory over the Coronavirus now, not using their own supporters (and their children) as cannon fodder in a holiness spiraling “battle” against invisible germs. If even a quarter of their liberal voters lose patience, they lose power.

  42. Rudolph Harrier,

    This is the most cowardly and transparent dodge I’ve seen on the internet, and that’s saying something.

    Exaggeration is a form of lying.

    That your own knowledge is irrelevant to whether the paper is valid or not.

    Correct. There’s no need to go any further, but…

    But surely you must understand the paper well enough to know that its results are credible, or else you would be linking to something that you have no way of knowing whether it is true or false.

    Incorrect. Like it or not, peer-reviewed science is the most reliable and credible form of knowledge available to us. I don’t have to personally study each paper in order to know that. Proof: It works. The Internet. Mars rovers. Vaccines.

    And if that’s the case, why should anyone listen to anything you say, even if it’s just to read a link?

    Because they’re smart enough and intellectually honest enough to realise that whether I’m an expert or not has nothing to do with whether a paper I link to is valid? Because the paper might be interesting and/or informative? Stuff like that.

    Either way you are a buffoon, and furthermore since either way you dodged the question, you are also a coward.

    BS. You asked a disengenuous ‘gotcha’ question and didn’t like being called out on your disengenuousness. Expecting everyone to be an expert on anything they cite would defeat the whole point of having experts, specialisation, and citation in the first place. When I’m ill, I consult a doctor, I don’t go to medical school for nine years in order to be able to assess how reliable their knowledge is before consulting them. And, if I did want to establish how knowledgeable that doctor was, I’d look up how many of their patients got well.

  43. Wow, you’re the peak specimen of midwit. You actively refuse to think but expect to be treated as someone with valuable opinions.

    Being asked to explain something you recommend is a “disingenuous ‘gotcha’ question”? How dumb do you have to be to see the world in that way? People compare this blind obedience to experts to a religion, but that’s not accurate. Christians can at least explain the basics of their faith and the more knowledgeable among them are proud to educate themselves in theology.

    Speaking of Christianity, if it hadn’t been for the Western Christian tradition there would have been no science. Thus, by your retarded reasoning, we get to claim “the internet, the mars rover, etc.” as our own, at least to the extent that you’ve attributed them to epidemiology. By your own worldview you should be deferring to the “experts” of the doctors of the Church, and even more so to Jesus Christ.

    Because they’re smart enough and intellectually honest enough to realise that whether I’m an expert or not has nothing to do with whether a paper I link to is valid? Because the paper might be interesting and/or informative?

    Key word “might.” By your own statements even you don’t believe that you have anything to offer apart from what “experts” say. What you link to might equally likely be completely crap. Why waste my time, especially when I already know how to find “expert opinion” on my own?

    Like I said, you are a buffoon. There is no way to square anything you have said with you being something other than a buffoon, even if we just take you at your word. But in peak midwit fashion you act like you are rubbing shoulders with the titans of science because you are able to link to some things that you yourself were sent to be someone else, all without understanding what any of it means.

  44. Swordfish … Thanks for proving ALL of Briggs’ points!

    Is the fact that the Lancet faked the Hydroxychloroquine meta analysis on the same level of the conspiracy theory as Nasa faking the Moon Landing? I won’t dismiss this meta analysis straight out, it was “peer-reviewed” (just like HCQ one?)

    Transmission of viruses was lower with physical distancing of 1 m or more with a lot of ‘could’s thereafter.

    Face mask use COULD result in a large reduction in risk of infection, with stronger associations with N95 or similar respirators COMPARED with disposable surgical masks or similar … hmmm …

    However, challenges included frequent discomfort, high resource use linked with potentially decreased equity, less clear communication, and perceived reduced empathy …

    Most STAKEHOLDERS found physical distancing and use of face masks and eye protection acceptable, feasible, and REASSURING. STAKEHOLDER, i.e., government?

    Few studies assessed the effect of interventions in non-health-care settings!!!

    Although direct evidence is limited, the optimum use of face masks, in particular N95 or similar respirators in health-care settings and 12–16-layer cotton or surgical masks in the community, could depend on contextual factors; action is needed at all levels to address the PAUCITY of better evidence.

    their optimum role might need risk assessment and several contextual considerations

    Swordfish … exactly what Briggs has posted

  45. Thanks Matt, for attracting swordfish.. to use his bill as a trombone using his nether orifice. Really entertaining.
    Rudolph, you have patience my man.

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