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Anti-Mask

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Just had this thrown at me by a nutjob.

https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/masking-lack-of-evidence-with-politics/

Thoughts

In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

I think the thing about masks is that they are not a major encumbrance and they are not going to make *no* difference, therefore they might as well be in use.

Non-valved N95 respirators fitted properly are clearly best, but there'd be a shortage if everyone was asked to wear one of those.

Post edited at 09:19
 RobAJones 11 Jan 2021
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

The report was written in July? It doesn't say what they think it does. 

As Neil says the Vietnam trial basically concluded that surgical masks are better than cloth ones.

The Danish one that masks were probably a good thing but they are not sure.

The DANMASK-19 trial provides two immediate examples of study misinterpretation. First, while the editorial accompanying the trial concludes that masks may work, it does so while also implying that the trial itself was negative, stating “… despite the reported results of this study, (masks) probably protect the wearer.” [6] And second, an opinion article in the lay press by two esteemed university professors was entitled “Landmark Danish study finds no significant effect for face mask wearers.” [7]. Despite honourable intentions, in my view, both interpretations are incorrect.

You are not going the get far if people just quote lines or paragraphs out of context. someone on here said, a couple of weeks ago that, cloth masks produced 5 times as many particles as no mask. They do produce 5 times as many "cotton" particles. the report they were quoting from concluded 

"Our observations are consistent with suggestions that mask wearing can help in mitigating pandemics associated with respiratory disease. Our results highlight the importance of regular changing of disposable masks and washing of homemade masks, and suggests that special care must be taken when removing and cleaning the masks."

but was used to support an anti mask view??

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-72798-7

 wintertree 11 Jan 2021
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Oxford University have no shame it seems.  

Carl Heneghan certainly does't.  He and the CEBM were the origin of the "PCR False Positives" bullshit that spun out and took on a life of it's own, and to date he has failed to clarify that - right or wrong - his CEBM blog post is clearly no longer of relevance, despite this now being a mainstay of the charge of the lunatic brigade.

The blog output CEBM used to seed this insanity was not science - it was a graph and some gishgalloping text.  The fundamental hypothesis of his post (that cases were growing linearly) was neither compatible with his narrative (lack of correlation to increased testing), nor scientifically supported by the data he showed (which supported linear and exponential growth with the same equally bad confidence - being dominated largely by weekend sampling poise...).  

His outputs are a joke.  A sick joke given an Oxford University branding.

I am not going to read the link as I don't want some redlining rage to spoil what is looking like a promising day.  H consistently presents the side of the evidence that supports his personal/libertarian view.  There is no depth to which he won't sink in his quest for evidence.  There have been some howlers (RobAJones dug in to a previous reference of his...)

Edit:  Here is a CEBM piece from early April.

https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/covid-19-the-tipping-point/

Lockdown is going to bankrupt all of us and our descendants and is unlikely at this point to slow or halt viral circulation as the genie is out of the bottle.   What the current situation boils down to is this: is economic meltdown a price worth paying to halt or delay what is already amongst us?

Guess what - lockdown slowed then almost halted viral transmission, rapidly acting to prevent the kind of healthcare overload I worry we are now approaching.  One of the problems with acting swiftly in March/April was the libertarian driven view point, part of which could be directly traced back to an eminent Oxford professor saying stuff like this through his official platform - the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine.  One of the constrains to acting rapidly this time around was that a whole legion of delusional people have jumped on to this bandwagon and been pulled along by it - weaponised into a policy distorting rabble just like the Trump supporting crowd.   The idiot Yeadon has taken the CEBM "False Positive" nugget of shit and rolled it down a shit covered slope to make un unstoppable giant boulder of shit.  He's gathered 90,000 followers on the way via Twitter and is a frequent "authoritative" source on TalkRadio and their like.  Has H. ever distanced himself from this?  No.

They pump out loots of reasonable analysis on Covid in between his nuggets of bullshit to keep drawing the punters in.  Even that analysis, in my view, often fails to be methodologically robust.

And yet, H. & CEBM aren’t the worst contribution Oxford University has made to this pandemic.  Paging Zoology...

I would love to know what the real academics at Oxford, who have made some of the most important, positive contributions to the pandemic in multiple areas think of this sideshow going on under their banner.

Post edited at 10:01
4
 kedvenc72 11 Jan 2021
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

This reports that there is no strong reliable evidence either way. The 2010 studies were unreliable due to non-compliance. The more recent studies could not reliably draw any causal links (although one study showed a 3x increase in viral incidence over no-masks in a clinical setting, i.e. not in the public at large and 13x over surgical masks; surgical masks are much better than cloth). The studies were performed in a non-pandemic situation and so any mask benefits or drawbacks are not measurable with any confidence.

The main take home message is that there is large uncertainty (with no strong evidence for benefit or drawback), it should have been studied properly after that last flu pandemic, and we really, we really really really should study this properly. This was also published in July? That was quite some time ago given how fluid research into covid-19 is at the moment. Are there any further studies?

My conclusion from this is that I should just wear a mask and not be a dick if I can't be arsed to research this any further. Which I can't.

Post edited at 10:01
 HardenClimber 11 Jan 2021
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Some of this is the problem with EBM (Evidence Based Medicine). The outputs are very tied to the inputs and you sometimes don't get answers you want because the iput studies are not there. Furthermore efficicay of preventive measures can be very dependent on the exact epidemiology. (and you can fiddle with your data selection)

When applying EBM conclusions (which is basically a good thing to do) you have to think carefully about what abscence of positive information means. In other situations you can make caveats / extra rules (eg in a disease with near 100% mortality an intervention resulting in a survivor may be significant).

It does highlight the poor research and astonishinly slow start (compared to many other interventions) in ppe research.

Thus the passage which might inspire critics from the Norwegian paper is:

Given the low prevalence of COVID-19 currently, even if facemasks are assumed to be effective,
the difference in infection rates between using facemasks and not using facemasks
would be small. Assuming that 20% of people infectious with SARS-CoV-2 do not have
symptoms, and assuming a risk reduction of 40% for wearing facemask, 200 000 people
would need to wear facemasks to prevent one new infection per week in the current epidemiological
situation. 

This was published in JULY, when rates would have been very low. Also assumptions around behaviours of symptomatic cases and proportions  may be different now. The New variant changes the risks (and effectiveness). The low prevalence at this time makes the number needed to mask very large, and is not really relevant to currrent situations.

Masks remain a reasonable option, and against the wall they need to be used (I think). A glaring deficiency in our response is snesible guidelines about what masks are / are not effective (some big brands have been selling masks which are probably useless and perhaps even counter productive in terms of lending a false sense of security).

Post edited at 10:05
 groovejunkie 11 Jan 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> Oxford University have no shame it seems.  

> Carl Heneghan certainly does't.  He and the CEBM were the origin of the "PCR False Positives" bullshit that spun out and took on a life of it's own, and to date he has failed to clarify that - right or wrong - his CEBM blog post is clearly no longer of relevance, despite this now being a mainstay of the charge of the lunatic brigade.

> I would love to know what the real academics at Oxford, who have made some of the most important, positive contributions to the pandemic in multiple areas think of this sideshow going on under their banner.

Absolutely, and this is the bit I have failed to understand now for some months. It's become widely recognised and accepted that Heneghan and Gupta have fuelled Covid denial (thus making them responsible for avoidable deaths?) and as such do not understand why Oxford university have allowed them to continue to operate under their name. 

 wintertree 11 Jan 2021
In reply to groovejunkie:

> thus making them responsible for avoidable deaths?

Given G’s direct involvement with the shaddows behind the Trump administration over barrington - including a visit to the Trump White House, I feel that treason should at least be considered to describe their contribution to avoidable deaths and arguably the environment that raised the probability of dangerous new variants arising.

It gaulls me that I raised  on UKC before the March lockdown the possibility that uncontrolled spread would raise the probability of a new, more dangerous mutation arising and some of the actual disease background academics (as well as a UKC regular with a chair in science) used their platforms to argue for conditions most likely to lead to new variants.  

Being a shit scientist G gave no conflict of interest deceleration over their trip to the US to partake in the barrington disgrace, so we don’t know that the AIER actually funded G’s trip.

Post edited at 11:20
1
 HardenClimber 11 Jan 2021
In reply to groovejunkie:

Oxford has quite alot to answer for, given current UK politics. I know they have tried to redeem themselves with scientific research, but our current government is a product of Oxford and  people with good stories (ie the message, not the content) from Oxford probably carry weight in that closed world.

And some of the aberant epidemiology will have great citation ratings for the university.

Also, from the govt's standpoint (like the governments allocation of resources to failling private 'suppliers'), getting your predictions wrong (on multiple occasions) is no barrier to being considered credible.

1
 jkarran 11 Jan 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> And yet, H. & CEBM aren’t the worst contribution Oxford University has made to this pandemic.  Paging Zoology...

Did you catch Gupta on Today about a week ago? You could almost hear her adjusting the blinkers to fit each new talking point. Still a week ago arguing for the lifting of lockdown and 'shielding' as if it's one or the other, as if we're not even trying and consistently ignoring the sizeable fraction who can't shield fully for one valid reason or another. Bizarre. She didn't get kid gloves for once but she was able to keep dissembling.

jk

Post edited at 11:23
 groovejunkie 11 Jan 2021
In reply to HardenClimber:

> Also, from the govt's standpoint (like the governments allocation of resources to failling private 'suppliers'), getting your predictions wrong (on multiple occasions) is no barrier to being considered credible.

Its scary isn't it, but they (Oxford Uni) must also know that eventually history will not judge them favourably and the corruption and misinformation will be seen for what it is.  

 wintertree 11 Jan 2021
In reply to groovejunkie:

> Its scary isn't it, but they (Oxford Uni) must also know that eventually history will not judge them favourably and the corruption and misinformation will be seen for what it is.  

So I hope.  

Oxford recently took a $150,000,000 donation from a major ally of president Trump.  The same president Trump whose seat of administration Gupta visited immediately after posting for Champagne swilling photographs at the barrington event.  

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-blackstone-group-oxford-donation-idUSKCN1TJ30B

I am sure that senior management of the university are considering all the stakeholders when making their decisions re: G & H.

 wintertree 11 Jan 2021
In reply to jkarran:

> Did you catch Gupta on Today about a week ago? 

I did not, I have stopped listening to the radio as I can't take it any more.

> You could almost hear her adjusting the blinkers to fit each new talking point.

I thought Yeadon would have had an awakening realisation by now, but he likewise continues to just adopt more and more deranged view points to fit the mounting body of evidence, and the mounting body count.  

> Still a week ago arguing for the lifting of lockdown and 'shielding' as if it's one or the other, as if we're not even trying and consistently ignoring the sizeable fraction who can't shield fully for one valid reason or another

Ah, that old nugget.  A poster here was arguing last week strongly to use shielding so we could release lockdown to restore liberty.  What do these people think elderly people, in-home carers and care homes are tying to do?  I mean do they think they invite passers by in to have a cup of tea and are just waiting for some to send the memo "Start shielding"? 

I am staggered that G is getting any air time; even the other scientists who are in on the anti-lockdown side are keeping their distance from G at this point.

 geode 11 Jan 2021
In reply to kedvenc72:

> The main take home message is that there is large uncertainty

oh come on- you just need to see the videos to see that they are effective in reducing airbourne spread of viral particles or are you also questioning airbourne transmission?

2
 wintertree 11 Jan 2021
In reply to geode:

> oh come on- you just need to see the videos to see that they are effective in reducing airbourne spread of viral particles or are you also questioning airbourne transmission?

I believe you misunderstand.  

User kedvenc72 is I think giving their précis of the linked paper from earlier in the year, and not stating their personal view.

 kedvenc72 11 Jan 2021
In reply to geode:

The report was presented (not by the OP but by someone they know) as justification for not wearing masks. I've read and summarised. The report does not in anyway provide any support for this conclusion as, at the time this report was written, there was no conclusive evidence either way.  That is taking this report alone, as it stood at the time, and was done as such so I didn't introduce my own bias. More recent research may have, and probably has, changed these conclusions in the mean time.

I have seen the videos but not gone any further to review this research since this all agreed with my own bias. Not ideal, but I am aware of my bias and only got so much time.

Post edited at 17:24
 kedvenc72 11 Jan 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Indeed

In reply to HardenClimber:

> And some of the aberant epidemiology will have great citation ratings for the university.

That's a good point; are citations usually a good thing. Can we award negative citation points where people cite the paper, but then tear it to bits...?

 wintertree 11 Jan 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

> That's a good point; are citations usually a good thing. Can we award negative citation points where people cite the paper, but then tear it to bits...?

Writing a load of shit and garnering citations from being slagged off is an ancient game.  

For example, it’s been used on several different inversion systems to generate citation storms over claims of negative Kelvin temperatures (applying temperature to a non adiabatic, non equilibrium system FFS).   Happens every 20 years or so.  Someone tried to get me to teach this in the first tutorial some 18 years old had in their degree.  Said person was keen on it because they had a paper on it.  By the time I finished explaining my views (both on how it’s not the right level for the students and how they were fundamentally wrong to apply temperature in such a way) they sort of screamed at me and ran way down the corridor.  Never spoke to me again.  Win/win.

What troubled me was that this person considered themselves a scientist but didn’t recognise the game playing and brought in to the story with an emotional attachment that overrode any common sense. I’ve seen that sort of thing with younger people on some big mega projects as well - where as the senior academics recognise very clearly the issues.  

Post edited at 18:10
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

Having had an argument over the course of the day with this lady, she kindly pointed me in the direction  of Reset Refusal-UK on FB For my 'research' as is the common gambit of those who wish to deflect their crapulous.

Dear god, anyone losing patience with the anti-bollocks best avoid.

 wintertree 11 Jan 2021
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

> Having had an argument over the course of the day with this lady, she kindly pointed me in the direction  of Reset Refusal-UK on FB For my 'research' as is the common gambit of those who wish to deflect their crapulous.

You could tell her "This bloke called WIntertree from the Internet says that Prof Henighan and his Centre for Evidence Based Medicine are the University of Oxford are putting out a lot of conspiracy bullshit throughout the pandemic and aren't to be trusted."

Although, when I put it like that it does seem to stretch credulity a bit.  Such are the times that we find ourselves in.

Perhaps just tell her you checked with the lizard people and they think that masks help.

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