The executive summary:
Wrap your mind around that: after spending $100 billion on pandemic readiness over the past decade, scientists still don’t know if face masks work.From What Scientists Know by Michael Egnor
My bet: the 100 billion dollars was not spent to get useful findings. It was spent to feed the system, so various Important Men and Senior Bureaucrats could feed off the public trough.
The games will go on, until the money stops.
“Do Face Masks Work?”
Sometimes a couple of points in public discussion intersect in a way that takes your breath away, and point to a much deeper problem. Here’s an example, one from Yale neuroscientist Steven Novella and another from Fox News.
The question of whether or not wearing a facemask “works” is incredibly complicated. It may not seem so at first, but let me list some of the specific questions contained in that broad question. We need to consider different kinds of masks — cloth, surgical, N95. We need to consider who is wearing the mask …
Dr. Novella discusses several variables that we should examine in determining mask effectiveness, but this question is hardly “incredibly complicated.” We probe the Big Bang, we land spacecraft on asteroids, we decode genomes, and we explore the inner workings of subatomic particles.
Surely we can compare different kinds of face masks. Sounds like a nice 7th-grade science project.
Novella, after reviewing the scientific literature on this (literally) life-and-death issue, concludes:
… [s]o wear the mask properly, but act as if the mask does not work.
COVID-19’s $100 Billion Question
Here’s a second news report, that, in light of Novella’s post, ought to give us pause:
Numbers from a paper in the academic journal “Health Security” released in late 2018 indicate that the government spent between $10 billion and $12 billion each year from 2010 to 2018 across several agencies on programs that contribute to “biosecurity,” the management of “pandemic influenza and emerging infectious diseases,” and “multiple-hazard and general preparedness” programs that assist in readiness for and response to different types of health threats, including diseases like the coronavirus.
Wrap your mind around that: after spending $100 billion on pandemic readiness over the past decade, scientists still don’t know if face masks work.
That’s not the only thing they don’t know. The COVID crisis has been remarkable for the number of hairpin turns taken by scientific opinion. Early on, public health experts warned of infection through contact with surfaces. Now that advice is abruptly reversed: “Virus ‘does not spread easily’ from contaminated surfaces or animals, revised CDC website states” (Washington Post).
Goodness gracious. What scientists don’t know is astonishing. Even I’m amazed.