D H
Jan 16 · Last update 21 days ago.

What does the controversial Danish mask study tell as about pandemic mask wearing?

A Danish trial made international headlines in late 2020 as it found no statistical significance that masks protect the wearer from COVID infections. Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on November 18th, the Assess Face Masks for the Protection Against COVID-19 Infection, or DANMASK-19, study was widely reported to demonstrate that masks do not work. However many have criticised both the framing of the study in the media and the study itself. Why are people talking about the Denmark mask study? Why does it seemingly go against public health advice? What does the study tell as about pandemic mask wearing? Are masks effective at dealing with COVID-19?
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No difference between mask wearers and non-mask wearers
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This study has some major pitfalls
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The need for better science journalism
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No difference between mask wearers and non-mask wearers

The DANMASK-19 (Danish Study to Assess Face Masks for the Protection Against COVID-19 Infection) study was a large-scale collection of eight randomised-control studies that sought to demonstrate the statistical significance of mask wearing against COVID-19 virus transmission. The study's findings supported the past 15 year of consensus on the subject, that there is no statistical significance between wearing a mask and an individual’s chances of contracting a virus, that masks aren’t as effective as commonly thought. This high-quality research shows that masks do not protect their wearers and should be taken as evidence that ventilation and alternative methods of pandemic control should be favoured or carried out in conjunction with mask wearing.

thefederalist.com/2020/11/18/major-study-finds-masks-dont-reduce-covid-19-infection-rates fee.org/articles/new-danish-study-finds-masks-don-t-protect-wearers-from-covid-infection

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D H
Feb 15
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This study has some major pitfalls

Despite being touted as evidence that masks do not work, even the study's authors have stated this is the wrong interpretation, and the lead researcher of this danish study has openly supported mask wearing. The study's findings indicate that masks are not effective at stopping people catching the virus, and do not deal with spreading the virus, something that has been extensively misreported; misused politically by some and caused confusion for others. But even then there are some clear issues with the study; it was carried out in Denmark a society that doesn't normally wear masks, so should demonstrate highly different from results in societies like Japan were mask wearing has become a normality.

Furthermore this wasn't a clinical study and had a highly compromise-able methodology, participants were free to report back the results, meaning the study could be susceptible to subject error. In addition the study doesn't take into consideration other methods of viral control, such as ventilation, hand washing, or face touching at all, other major protective factors that curb the spread of the virus. Finally the study did not look into different types of masks, equating all mask wearing to be equal and generating some misleading headlines. Given that most people just read headlines, studies like this could have had a hugely damaging effect to public health internationally.

factcheck.org/2020/11/danish-study-doesnt-prove-masks-dont-work-against-the-coronavirus forbes.com/sites/leahrosenbaum/2020/11/18/lead-researcher-behind-controversial-danish-study-says-you-should-still-wear-a-mask/?sh=5f0af67539e7 abcnews.go.com/Health/optimal-physical-distancing-facial-protection-reduce-covid-19/story?id=71019436 ktvu.com/news/study-uncovers-which-non-medical-face-mask-best-protects-against-coronavirus

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D H
Feb 13
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The need for better science journalism

The fact of the matter stands masks are used to protect society at large not to protect the individual, to massively reduce the exhaled particulates spreading into the air, they are NOT intended to reduce the number of inhaled particulates. The whole DANMASK-19 study been used to support logical fallacies, and through bad journalism the limited findings here have only fortified the lack of understanding in the general population surrounding the logic of pandemic mask wearing. This basic lack of education around viral transmission is why misinformation has trumped education or dissemination of useful information during this pandemic, and is the main driving factor behind the denial, apathy, risk taking, and ultimately viral spread. Mishandling of data dissemination in this way has allowed this pandemic to become such a huge global health crisis, and highlights the messiness of science in a pandemic and the need for better science journalism.

cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/06/controversy-covid-19-mask-study-spotlights-messiness-science-during campaignlive.co.uk/article/eight-ten-people-read-headline/1374722 science.slashdot.org/story/20/06/15/194211/the-pandemic-claims-new-victims-prestigious-medical-journals

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D H
Jan 16
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