Mask science

Dear Editor,

Contrary to claims that state otherwise, there is a preponderance of scientific evidence that masks do slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce its virulence. The large review and meta-analysis of Derrek Chu et al. referenced in our mask mandate incorporated the results of 172 studies from 16 countries on six continents and is definitive. For a very thorough and readable review of 115 masking studies I would point the reader to the review by Brigham Young University Professor Ben Abbott. Or go to the CDC’s website to look at the 45 citations in the CDC’s Scientific Brief on the subject. Or go to Youtube and look at the videos by Dr. Monica Gandhi and ZDoggMD if you’re not of a mind to read. The evidence is overwhelming. Indeed, universal mask wearing is probably the single most important tool we have in fighting this viral plague.

Those opposed to mask orders tend to cite two studies to support their position, but even those studies don’t support their claims.

The Danish Mask Study did show benefit to mask wearing, though the finding was not robust and could not be applied to the larger question of retarding the spread of COVID-19 through a population.

The Marine Corps study was interesting, but even its authors felt there were structural problems with it. Citing two studies with structural deficiencies, rather than relying on the preponderance of scientific evidence, is confirmation bias; making a decision first and then finding evidence to support it. It’s the opposite of looking at the evidence and then making a decision.

The continued spread of COVID-19 is having devastating impacts throughout this country, in this state, and in our community. Masks are one of the most important weapons we have in our fight against this virus. Wearing a mask is one step everyone can take to protect members of our community.