After our live interview on GB News on our findings of the UKHSA review, one of the two anchors, Philip Davies MP, received the following communiquè from the UKHSA:
Dr. Renu Bindra, Deputy Director of Public Health Clinical Response at UKHSA, said:
“The current evidence on face coverings suggests that all types of face coverings are, to varying extents, effective in reducing transmission of respiratory viruses in both healthcare and community settings. N95 respirators are likely to be the most effective, followed by surgical masks, and then non-medical masks, although optimised non-medical masks made of two or three layers might have similar filtration efficiency to surgical masks.
“The evidence specific to COVID-19 is still limited and does not allow for firm conclusions to be drawn for specific settings and types of face coverings. However, there is no evidence to suggest that face coverings and masks would be less effective at preventing the transmission of COVID-19 than any other similar respiratory infection.”
Throughout the pandemic, UKHSA published several rapid evidence reviews and a statement from an expert panel informed by review-level evidence (available here).
In the most recent version, review (update 2), studies were assessed by experienced reviewers using a risk of bias tool, which can be applied to most study designs (observational and interventional). In all three evidence reviews of the effectiveness of face coverings, all biases the reviewers felt were present were detailed in the supplementary tables and limitations were reported throughout, as well as in the conclusions and main messages.
In the overview of evidence conducted for the expert panel, reviews were assessed using AMSTAR 2, and key findings were given a confidence rating by combining the overview of evidence with expert knowledge and experience.
The most recent ‘Living with COVID-19’ guidance states that COVID-19 should be managed like other respiratory infections and only recommends face coverings for those with symptoms of a respiratory infection, who have a high temperature or feel unwell and are unable to avoid contact with others.
Read More: UKHSA Ignores Its Own Published Evidence to Tell GB News That ‘Masks Work’