Mask Science pre April 2020

There was a very good article published recently giving an overview about how long standing scientific advice on mask wearing changed in 2020.

Prior to the change, most western countries, including the UK, did not recommend mask wearing for any epidemics or pandemics. The media was used to reinforce this viewpoint until around April 2020, (well after the first Covid wave had started), when abruptly the “science changed”. Most people seem to have conveniently forgotten what the advice was before April. The article cited below, does a very good job at reminding us what the scientific viewpoint was prior to this date, and how it changed, seemingly without any justification, with the media then about turning and reinforcing the pro mask strategy.

From the article:-

The UK’s standing pandemic flu plans (from 2011 and revised in 2015) advised against general mask-wearing, meaning that while there was a small stockpile for healthcare workers, the government would not keep any supplies for the population, and public health advice to UK travellers in Wuhan asked them only to “avoid touching any dead or dying birds”.

At the end of January 2020 the UK’s NERVTAG committee met for the third time to discuss coronavirus. Masks were on the agenda but they concluded that there was “no evidence to support that the wearing of face masks by the general public reduces transmission” and encouraged only hand hygiene measures- also noting that masks “may increase fear and anxiety”, which seems to have been a common expert concern in the early Western pandemic.

Public health officials advised that “masks give a false sense of protection and add to a climate of alarm, without being of help”. https://californiahealthline.org/news/school-districts-grapple-with-quarantines-face-masks-and-fear/

And here is the English language media amplifying the anti-mask message to the public:

“How to prevent coronavirus: Wash your hands and ditch the mask” https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-02-05/how-to-prevent-coronavirus-wash-your-hands

“Why a mask won’t protect you from the Wuhan coronavirus” – https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/wuhan-coronavirus-mask

“How to Avoid Coronavirus on Flights: Forget Masks, Says Top Airline Doctor” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-06/want-to-avoid-virus-forget-face-masks-top-airline-doctor-says

“Top disease official: Risk of coronavirus in USA is ‘minuscule’; skip mask and wash hands” https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2020/02/17/nih-disease-official-anthony-fauci-risk-of-coronavirus-in-u-s-is-minuscule-skip-mask-and-wash-hands/4787209002/

“To protect yourself against coronavirus DON’T wear face masks”
https://metro.co.uk/2020/02/27/protect-coronavirus-dont-wear-face-masks-12312127/

“Coronavirus London: Expert hits out at people wearing ‘completely useless’ face masks” https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1248073/coronavirus-london-uk-news-face-masks-coronavirus-advice-public-health-england

There was a UK Government briefing document to care home workers which stated that “face masks do not provide protection from respiratory viruses such as Covid-19 and do not need to be worn by staff”

In fact we were told masks could increase our infection risk here https://web.archive.org/web/20200301071220if_/https://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2020/02/29/no-you-do-not-need-face-masks-for-coronavirus-they-might-increase-your-infection-risk/

All this, yet by the end of April there was a complete about face. What happened? And don’t suggest the science changed. That is impossible in 2 months 🙃

Full article here: https://lessonsfromthecrisis.substack.com/p/what-on-earth-happened-with-covid

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