According to experts, the Australian study which claimed that mandatory masks stopped the second wave of coronavirus is total crap.
A “world-first” Australian study which Victoria’s government has held up as proof its mandatory face mask policy worked is riddled with basic errors and should never have been published in a major journal, medical researchers and experts say.
Victoria first made face masks mandatory outside the home in Melbourne during its second coronavirus wave in July 2020, but the Department of Health has been unable to provide any scientific research or studies upon which the decision was made.
Instead, the Department of Health directed Australian news outlet to a paper published in July this year by the Burnet Institute – an influential public health body which has come under fire in recent months for its alarmist predictions – as justification for the mandate which has resulted in thousands of dollars in fines for Victorians.
The study claimed the mandatory face mask rule had turned the pandemic “almost overnight”.
“There has been a lot of low-quality research that has come out in the pandemic, but for this to be used as a basis for a policy change is staggering,” said Dr Kyle Sheldrick, a medical researcher and PhD candidate at the University of NSW.
“To me it’s very clear this has not had a close peer review, partly because of the serious and substantive issues, but [also] it just clearly hasn’t been proofread,” said Dr Sheldrick.
“When I look at this particular piece of research, it is very, very low quality. I was staggered to see this was published by a major journal.”
Another researcher, an eminent Australian clinician and scientist who spoke on the condition of anonymity, was equally scathing.
“I agree, it’s crap,” he said.
“It’s extremely lightweight. I think it’s a totally feeble article. It doesn’t have a rigorous methodology and it is weak in its scientific inference. I’ve been around a long time – I teach how you do clear thinking, I teach how you do reproducible science. I’m a bit of a stickler for these things.”
Dr Sheldrick said despite its obvious flaws, very few scientists would be willing to publicly call out the study.
“Not just in relation to this paper but in general I think there has been a reluctance to criticise research and to criticise public health interventions [during the pandemic] and to be seen as a wrecker,” he said.
“Unfortunately there is a culture in science which sees criticising other researchers or research as something fundamentally bad – that we should be presenting a united front to laypeople.”
Dr Robert Malone, the inventor of mRNA vaccines, said he was branded a “terrorist” by the media in Italy and warns that physicians who speak out are being “hunted via medical boards and the press.”
Malone is one of many doctors who have been completely persecuted merely for discussing issues relating to COVID treatments and vaccine side-effects.
Dr Malone also expressed how he was being attacked by the Atlantic, Facebook and J&J.
For extensively exposing the Vaccine lobby, even GreatGameIndia is being targeted and being accused of spreading misinformation for the flimsy reason that our tweets were shared widely after the controversy.
The Burnet Institute study relied on images from the photo library of The Age newspaper showing Melbourne community settings to conclude that mask usage rose from 43 per cent to 97 per cent after the July 22 mandate came into effect.
Dr Sheldrick said it was “hard to think of a worse methodology to answer this question than just looking at which photos are collected by a metropolitan newspaper”.
“Even ignoring the fact that the photos were taken for an editorial purpose, that this is not a random sample, when you look at the actual data in the Excel spreadsheet it is stunning to me,” he said.
The spreadsheet lists the date, time and location of 44 photos – 19 taken before the announcement, 18 after mask rule came into effect and seven in between. Nearly all of the photos in the before group were taken between 2pm and 4pm, while nearly all of the photos in the after group were taken between 8am and 12pm.
“Which just means the data set is useless,” Dr Sheldrick said.
“As a responsible researcher, I can’t draw any conclusions from that. You could just as easily draw the conclusion that mask wearing is different in the morning and afternoon.
If a student came to me and said, I’m going to compare these two sets of photos and draw some conclusion about whether a policy worked, you would send them away to think about it.”
The second expert agreed.
“If a student presented the photographic data it would be ridiculed,” he said.
Dr Sheldrick said it “wasn’t a defensible methodology from the beginning, and certainly once they had the data it should have been abandoned”.
“Pushing ahead to draw any sort of causal inference is not appropriate,” he said.
“If I had been involved [in the study], and one of my collaborators came to me with that data and said we’re going to draw these conclusions, I would have asked for my name to be taken off.”
Commenters on Plos One have highlighted other errors, including the authors’ claim that there was “no reason to believe that mask usage changed in the healthcare setting during the study period”.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, people all across the globe have started using facemasks to prevent the spread of infection from one person to the other.
Also the government and health ministries of several countries are encouraging people to wear facemasks whenever they step outside their home.
But till date the efficacy of the facemasks in controlling the spread is not determined. So how effective are facemasks against COVID?
The pores in these masks are at least 1000 times larger in diameter (55 µm to 440 µm) as compared to the diameter of virus particles (60 nm to 140 nm).
Below you can find a list of over 30 studies showing that face mask are useless against COVID-19.