A health professional told me back in March that face masks were ineffective but that respirators (the N95) were. Because of the source, I thought there must be validity to this. However, it seemed counterintuitive.
I reasoned that there would be differentials between using any type of mask versus no mask because no mask usage would allow aerosols to penetrate unabated, whereas a mask should capture much of the aerosol and reduce risk of spread to others and presumably should also function to mitigate breathing in viral-laden droplets. Because of the greater density of respirator material, the prophylactic would be reasoned to be greater.
However, what I had not considered was how extremely small the virion was in relation to the porosity of the material in the masks and respirators. I also had not looked at the scientific literature on the subject…until now.
Denis Rancourt, an eminent physics professor, former anarchist, and author, examined the scientific evidence for using face masks and respirators as preventative of contracting respiratory influenza-like disease, or respiratory illnesses believed to be transmitted by minuscule droplets.
What I have noticed is that Rancourt is wedded to the evidence, and he is unafraid to make known his conclusion even though it goes against the mainstream consensus. His article, “Masks Don’t Work: A review of science relevant to COVID-19 social policy,” is Rancourt at his iconoclastic finest. He concludes,
No RCT [randomized control trial] study with verified outcome shows a benefit for HCW [health care workers] or community members in households to wearing a mask or respirator. There is no such study. There are no exceptions.
The virions are super tiny, tinier than the pores in the respirators. Rancourt writes,
if anything gets through (and it always does, irrespective of the mask), then you are going to be infected. Masks cannot possibly work. It is not surprising, therefore, that no bias-free study has ever found a benefit from wearing a mask or respirator in this application.