It’s not very scientifically grounded, this ‘journalism’. Note how Adam Speight relies upon implication and fails to mention the particulate size of coronaviruses (80 to 120 nanometres). In passing, he states vaguely that N95 and FFP2 masks are ‘more effective’ than cloth masks.
So there are more questions than answers and we the public are left floundering.
In chasing his payday, the question Adam Speight is deliberately skirting around is this…
How effective are cloth masks against viruses?
If we know this then we get some measure of how effective N95 and FFP2 masks are.
Answers can be found here inside 42 historical, peer-reviewed scientific studies, all undertaken before the government and media endorsed hysteria descended, and all confirming to varying degrees that cloth masks are ineffective against viruses:
1 T Jefferson, M Jones, et al. Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. MedRxiv. 2020 Apr 7.
2 J Xiao, E Shiu, et al. Nonpharmaceutical measures for pandemic influenza in non-healthcare settings – personal protective and environmental measures. Centers for Disease Control. 26(5); 2020 May.
3 J Brainard, N Jones, et al. Facemasks and similar barriers to prevent respiratory illness such as COVID19: A rapid systematic review. MedRxiv. 2020 Apr 1.
4 L Radonovich M Simberkoff, et al. N95 respirators vs medical masks for preventing influenza among health care personnel: a randomized clinic trial. JAMA. 2019 Sep 3. 322(9): 824-833.
5 J Smith, C MacDougall. CMAJ. 2016 May 17. 188(8); 567-574.
6 F bin-Reza, V Lopez, et al. The use of masks and respirators to prevent transmission of influenza: a systematic review of the scientific evidence. 2012 Jul; 6(4): 257-267.
7 J Jacobs, S Ohde, et al. Use of surgical face masks to reduce the incidence of the common cold among health care workers in Japan: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Infect Control. 2009 Jun; 37(5): 417-419. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19216002/
8 M Viola, B Peterson, et al. Face coverings, aerosol dispersion and mitigation of virus transmission risk.
9 S Grinshpun, H Haruta, et al. Performance of an N95 filtering facepiece particular respirator and a surgical mask during human breathing: two pathways for particle penetration. J Occup Env Hygiene. 2009; 6(10):593-603.
10 H Jung, J Kim, et al. Comparison of filtration efficiency and pressure drop in anti-yellow sand masks, quarantine masks, medical masks, general masks, and handkerchiefs. Aerosol Air Qual Res. 2013 Jun. 14:991-1002. https://aaqr.org/articles/aaqr-13-06-oa-0201.pdf
11 C MacIntyre, H Seale, et al. A cluster randomized trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers. BMJ Open. 2015; 5(4)
12 N95 masks explained. https://www.honeywell.com/en-us/newsroom/news/2020/03/n95-masks-explained
13 V Offeddu, C Yung, et al. Effectiveness of masks and respirators against infections in healthcare workers: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Inf Dis. 65(11), 2017 Dec 1; 1934-1942.
14 C MacIntyre, Q Wang, et al. A cluster randomized clinical trial comparing fit-tested and non-fit-tested N95 respirators to medical masks to prevent respiratory virus infection in health care workers. Influenza J. 2010 Dec 3.
15 M Walker. Study casts doubt on N95 masks for the public. MedPage Today. 2020 May 20.
16 C MacIntyre, Q Wang, et al. A cluster randomized clinical trial comparing fit-tested and non-fit-tested N95 respirators to medical masks to prevent respiratory virus infection in health care workers. Influenza J. 2010 Dec 3.
17 N Shimasaki, A Okaue, et al. Comparison of the filter efficiency of medical nonwoven fabrics against three different microbe aerosols. Biocontrol Sci. 2018; 23(2). 61-69.
18 T Tunevall. Postoperative wound infections and surgical face masks: A controlled study. World J Surg. 1991 May; 15: 383-387.
19 N Orr. Is a mask necessary in the operating theatre? Ann Royal Coll Surg Eng 1981: 63: 390-392. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2493952/pdf/annrcse01509-0009.pdf
20 N Mitchell, S Hunt. Surgical face masks in modern operating rooms – a costly and unnecessary ritual? J Hosp Infection. 18(3); 1991 Jul 1. 239-242.
21 C DaZhou, P Sivathondan, et al. Unmasking the surgeons: the evidence base behind the use of facemasks in surgery. JR Soc Med. 2015 Jun; 108(6): 223-228.
22 L Brosseau, M Sietsema. Commentary: Masks for all for Covid-19 not based on sound data. U Minn Ctr Inf Dis Res Pol. 2020 Apr 1.
23 N Leung, D Chu, et al. Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks Nature Research. 2020 Mar 7. 26,676-680 (2020).
24 S Rengasamy, B Eimer, et al. Simple respiratory protection – evaluation of the filtration performance of cloth masks and common fabric materials against 20-1000 nm size particles. Ann Occup Hyg. 2010 Oct; 54(7): 789-798.
25 S Bae, M Kim, et al. Effectiveness of surgical and cotton masks in blocking SARS-CoV-2: A controlled comparison in 4 patients. Ann Int Med. 2020 Apr 6.
26 S Rengasamy, B Eimer, et al. Simple respiratory protection – evaluation of the filtration performance of cloth masks and common fabric materials against 20-1000 nm size particles. Ann Occup Hyg. 2010 Oct; 54(7): 789-798.
27 C MacIntyre, H Seale, et al. A cluster randomized trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers. BMJ Open. 2015; 5(4)
28 W Kellogg. An experimental study of the efficacy of gauze face masks. Am J Pub Health. 1920. 34-42.
29 M Klompas, C Morris, et al. Universal masking in hospitals in the Covid-19 era. N Eng J Med. 2020; 382 e63. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2006372
30 E Person, C Lemercier et al. Effect of a surgical mask on six minute walking distance. Rev Mal Respir. 2018 Mar; 35(3):264-268.
31 B Chandrasekaran, S Fernandes. Exercise with facemask; are we handling a devil’s sword – a physiological hypothesis. Med Hypothese. 2020 Jun 22. 144:110002.
32 P Shuang Ye Tong, A Sugam Kale, et al. Respiratory consequences of N95-type mask usage in pregnant healthcare workers – A controlled clinical study. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control. 2015 Nov 16; 4:48.
33 T Kao, K Huang, et al. The physiological impact of wearing an N95 mask during hemodialysis as a precaution against SARS in patients with end-stage renal disease. J Formos Med Assoc. 2004 Aug; 103(8):624-628.
34 F Blachere, W Lindsley et al. Assessment of influenza virus exposure and recovery from contaminated surgical masks and N95 respirators. J Viro Methods. 2018 Oct; 260:98-106.
36 F Blachere, W Lindsley et al. Assessment of influenza virus exposure and recovery from contaminated surgical masks and N95 respirators. J Viro Methods. 2018 Oct; 260:98-106.
37 A Chughtai, S Stelzer-Braid, et al. Contamination by respiratory viruses on our surface of medical masks used by hospital healthcare workers. BMC Infect Dis. 2019 Jun 3; 19(1): 491.
38 L Zhiqing, C Yongyun, et al. J Orthop Translat. 2018 Jun 27; 14:57-62.
39 C MacIntyre, H Seale, et al. A cluster randomized trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers. BMJ Open. 2015; 5(4) https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/4/e006577
40 A Beder, U Buyukkocak, et al. Preliminary report on surgical mask induced deoxygenation during major surgery. Neurocirugia. 2008; 19: 121-126.
41 D Lukashev, B Klebanov, et al. Cutting edge: Hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha and its activation-inducible short isoform negatively regulate functions of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes. J Immunol. 2006 Oct 15; 177(8) 4962-4965.
42 A Sant, A McMichael. Revealing the role of CD4+ T-cells in viral immunity. J Exper Med. 2012 Jun 30; 209(8):1391-1395.