Despite Comprehensive Study Showing Masks Ineffective Against COVID and Flu, CDC Director Tells Congress, ‘Our Masking Guidance Doesn’t Really Change With Time’

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky testified during a recent House committee hearing that, despite the recent release of an international research review that found masks are ineffective against COVID-19 and the flu, her agency’s masking guidance “doesn’t really change with time.”

During a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) asked Walensky to explain how the CDC uses evidence to update or change its guidance.

The question was asked in light of a newly published, international review of “physical interventions” that had been purported to block COVID-19 and the flu which found masks of any quality failed to be effective against the spread of illness.

The study, published by Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, researched 78 controlled trials and found masks “may make little to no difference” in cases of respiratory illnesses such as COVID and flu:

Compared with wearing no mask in the community studies only, wearing a mask may make little to no difference in how many people caught a flu‐like illness/COVID‐like illness (9 studies; 276,917 people); and probably makes little or no difference in how many people have flu/COVID confirmed by a laboratory test (6 studies; 13,919 people).

Compared with wearing medical or surgical masks, wearing N95/P2 respirators probably makes little to no difference in how many people have confirmed flu (5 studies; 8407 people); and may make little to no difference in how many people catch a flu‐like illness (5 studies; 8407 people), or respiratory illness (3 studies; 7799 people).

“The CDC is currently the only national or international public health agency that recommends masking two-year-old children,” McMorris Rodgers confronted Walensky, who minimized the study’s value, stating it only included randomized clinical trials that researched other respiratory viruses as well as COVID.

The CDC director said COVID-19 can spread prior to the appearance of symptoms and, therefore, the accuracy of the study’s conclusions is in doubt.

“One of the limitations in that study was clearly stated that people were not actually engaged in the intervention — so you actually have to wear the mask for it to work,” Walensky said, adding her agency’s “masking guidance doesn’t really change with time – what it changes with is disease.”

“So, when there is a lot of diseases in the community, we recommend that those communities and those schools mask,” she stated. “When there’s less disease in the community, we recommend that those masks can come off.”

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo said on The WarRoom in October 2022 the CDC is “profoundly corrupt.”

“They have just done the most absurd things during this pandemic,” Ladapo told host Steve Bannon. “The cherry-picking of studies, for example, to push the mask agenda, especially among kids in school, they’ve been so bereft of any integrity.”

“They either don’t ask questions they don’t want to know the answers to, or, if they get answers they don’t like, those answers get shoved in a desk drawer,” he added.

In December, Walensky recommended Americans wear masks over the Christmas holidays to help prevent the spread of COVID, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Yet, at the same time, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha acknowledged what many doctors and scientists had been saying as the COVID pandemic began: that “no study … shows that masks work that well” to stop the spread of virus infection.

Jha said during a Philadelphia “Health Report” on the future of COVID “indoor air quality” was likely the most important issue to address in schools, office buildings, and nursing homes to prevent the spread of respiratory infections.

“I mean, the notion that you could cut respiratory infections – there is no study in the world that shows masks work that well,” the Biden COVID czar asserted. “So, you’re never going to get the kind of benefit from mandatory year-round masking, as you would from making substantial improvements in indoor air quality, plus it’s a lot easier to implement as well.”

Much earlier, numerous scientists knew – and publicly stated – masks were ineffective at preventing the spread of COVID as mask mandates were implemented in schools and workplaces.

In December 2021, epidemiologist and Brownstone Institute Fellow Dr. Paul Elias Alexander published a compilation of more than 170 comparative studies and articles on COVID “mask ineffectiveness and harms.”

“To date, the evidence has been stable and clear that masks do not work to control the virus and they can be harmful and especially to children,” Alexander wrote.

Industrial hygienist, safety professional, and engineer Stephen Petty, a forensic expert in the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) who has devoted his “Petty Podcast” to the ineffectiveness of masks for COVID, posted to Twitter in November it is “so irritating” to see physicians publicly stating “masks will stop flu transmission when RCTs show over and over this is not the case.”

“Has anyone ever seen an Industrial Hygienist interviewed on this topic?” Petty asked.

In early December 2022, Ian Miller, author of Unmasked: The Global Failure of COVID Mask Mandates, wrote at his Substack column, republished at the Brownstone Institute, that “not even N95 masks work to stop COVID.”

One “oft-repeated assertion” of “COVID-obsessed politicians and public health authorities,” he explained, is that “the failure of universal masking can be explained by the type of masks being used by the public.”

Miller recalled for his readers that both CDC and former White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci “explicitly claimed that wearing anything to cover your face would be effective at preventing transmission”:

Fauci specifically said that “cloth coverings work,” not just surgical or N95s. Former Surgeon General Jerome Adams famously suggested that rolling up a t-shirt in front of your face would be effective protection.

Yet public health departments and the media are now highlighting the importance of “high quality,” “well-fitted” masks.

“Their desperation to justify masking has led to remarkably poor studies being released to support their anti-science messaging,” Miller wrote. “There is new research that has been released showing that masks are ineffective, regardless of type. And it’s not just new research, it’s high quality research.”

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Susan Berry, PhD is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]



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