A response to people who use the classic fallacious argument, “Well, if masks don’t work, then why do surgeons wear them?”
I’m a surgeon that has performed over 10,000 surgical procedures wearing a surgical mask. However, that fact alone doesn’t really qualify me as an expert on the matter. More importantly, I am a former editor of a medical journal. I know how to read the medical literature, distinguish good science from bad, and fact from fiction. Believe me, the medical literature is filled with bad fiction masquerading as medical science. It is very easy to be deceived by bad science.
Since the beginning of the pandemic I’ve read hundreds of studies on the science of medical masks. Based on extensive review and analysis, there is no question in my mind that healthy people should not be wearing surgical or cloth masks. Nor should we be recommending universal masking of all members of the population. That recommendation is not supported by the highest level of scientific evidence.
First, let’s be clear. The premise that surgeons wearing masks serves as evidence that “masks must work to prevent viral transmission” is a logical fallacy that I would classify as an argument of false equivalence, or comparing “apples to oranges.”
Although surgeons do wear masks to prevent their respiratory droplets from contaminating the surgical field and the exposed internal tissues of our surgical patients, that is about as far as the analogy extends. Obviously, surgeons cannot “socially distance” from their surgical patients (unless we use robotic surgical devices, in which case, I would definitely not wear a mask).
The CoVID-19 pandemic is about viral transmission. Surgical and cloth masks do nothing to prevent viral transmission. We should all realize by now that face masks have never been shown to prevent or protect against viral transmission. Which is exactly why they have never been recommended for use during the seasonal flu outbreak, epidemics, or previous pandemics.
The failure of the scientific literature to support medical masks for influenza and all other viruses, is also why Fauci, the US Surgeon General, the CDC, WHO, and pretty much every infectious disease expert stated that wearing masks won’t prevent transmission of SARS CoV-2. Although the public health “authorities” flipped, flopped, and later changed their recommendations, the science did not change, nor did new science appear that supported the wearing of masks in public. In fact, the most recent systemic analysis once again confirms that masks are ineffective in preventing the transmission of viruses like CoVID-19: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article
With media solemnly spotlighting the passing of the 200,000 mark in deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the United States, a physicians assocation has a question.
“Why is the death rate about 75 percent lower in many countries?” asked Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
The reference is to a country-based analysis updated Sept. 20 that shows a gap between countries that treat COVID-19 early or prophylactically with hydroxychloroquine and those that, like the U.S., discourage or prohibit its use.
The answer to Orient’s question can be found in a white paper published by the Economic Standard this month titled “Hydroxychloroquine and the Burden of Proof: An Urgent Call to Depoliticize Medicine in the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic struck America nine months before a presidential election, turning basic medical activities like testing and treatment into partisan battlegrounds,” writes Economic Standard Editor-in-Chief Erik Sass in the overview. “No subject has been more distorted than hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a safe, versatile medicine that has treated hundreds of millions of people for numerous diseases for seven decades.”
Labeled the media “trial of the century,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition hearing is currently taking place in London—although you might not have heard if you’re relying solely on corporate media for news. If extradited, Assange faces 175 years in a Colorado supermax prison, often described as a “black site” on US soil.
The United States government is asking Britain to send the Australian publisher to the US to face charges under the 1917 Espionage Act. He is accused of aiding and encouraging Chelsea Manning to hack a US government computer in order to publish hundreds of thousands of documents detailing American war crimes, particularly in Afghanistan and Iraq. The extradition, widely viewed as politically motivated, has profound consequences for journalists worldwide, as the ruling could effectively criminalize the possession of leaked documents, which are an indispensable part of investigative reporting.
WikiLeaks has entered into partnership with five high-profile outlets around the world: the New York Times, Guardian (UK), Le Monde (France), Der Spiegel (Germany) and El País (Spain). Yet those publications have provided relatively little coverage of the hearing.
The city of Berkeley, California is back on the attack against unhealthy habits.
The progressive university town this time has passed an ordinance requiring stores over 2,500 square feet in size to sell more nutritious food and beverage options in their checkout areas.
That means no more candy, soda and salty snacks available for impulsive shoppers waiting in line to pay at the register. The ban is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.
“This ordinance is another effort to create a healthy food environment that would support families by providing them the ability to avoid high-calorie, low-nutrient food and beverages when they do their grocery and other shopping,” said a city report on the ordinance passed this week by the city council. “Individuals and families who want to purchase sugary drinks, candy, chips, and other sweet and salty snacks will be able to find them in their respective aisles in the center of stores. By changing checkout norms, shoppers and their children face less temptation to consume sugary foods and there is less reinforcement of these unhealthy choices.”