The Murdoch pretend journalist Adam Creighton has tweeted the following
“‘My mask protects you, your mask protects me’. The most embarrassing, unscientific slogan of the pandemic?”1
There were numerous replies from normal people who know that masks do protect people by inhibiting the transmission of the SARS-Cov2 virus, the cause of Covid-19. One of them was from GrumpyNonnaK who said:
“Adam Creighton ‘The most embarrassing, unscientific bogan of the pandemic’ Fixed it for you.”1 Given Creighton’s constant idiocy, that is being insulting to bogans.
There was a considerable amount of evidence that the virus was transmissible by aerosol rather than by droplets not long after the pandemic hit Australia, and I wrote about it at the time2. Almost three months later the evidence was clear that aerosol transmission was the dominant mode of transmission of the virus3. There were, of course, some idiots in the medical profession who ignored this evidence, one of them being the person who is now often referred to online as Fabio Codswallop, one Nick Coatsworth4.
There are several types of masks in common use: Cloth and utility masks are not medical grade masks and provide the wearer with the least protection from viruses carried in respiratory droplets and aerosols. However, they still help prevent infectious people from spreading the SARS-Cov2 virus. Surgical masks are medical grade masks and are graded as level 1, 2 and 3 based on the degree of protection, or fluid resistance, they provide the wearer. Surgical masks also help prevent infectious people from spreading the virus and provide greater protection from infection for the wearer. P2/N95 respirator masks that are designed for medical use are required when there is a high risk of exposure to body fluids, respiratory droplets and aerosols in higher-risk workplace settings such as health care, aged care and disability sectors, quarantine, police and security5. So, not only does my mask protect you and your mask protect me, but my mask protects me and your mask protects you.
While it has been shown that Face masks or respirators (N95/KN95s) effectively filter virus-sized particles in laboratory settings, their real-world effectiveness has not been widely studied. A study based on data from February to December in 2021 in California demonstrated that always using a face mask or respirator (N95/KN95) in indoor public settings was associated with lower adjusted odds of a positive test result compared with never wearing a face mask or respirator in these settings. Among 534 participants who specified the type of face covering they typically used, wearing N95/KN95 respirators (aOR* = 0.17; 95% CI** = 0.05–0.64) or surgical masks (aOR = 0.34; 95% CI = 0.13–0.90) was associated with significantly lower adjusted odds of a positive test result compared with not wearing any face mask or respirator6.
Creighton could only get away with posting this drivel on Twitter because it has been taken over by the man-child Elon (‘Elmo’) Musk, which now allows misinformation such as this. If Murdoch ever has the desire to rehabilitate the image of his media, which I know is extremely unlikely, this idiot must be one of the first to pay the price for that rehabilitation.
*aOR: Adjusted Odds Ratio. An odds ratio (OR) is a statistic that quantifies the strength of the association between two events, A and B. The odds ratio is defined as the ratio of the odds of A (e.g. positive PCR test) in the presence of B (e.g. wearing a mask) and the odds of A in the absence of B, or equivalently (due to symmetry), the ratio of the odds of B in the presence of A and the odds of B in the absence of A. Two events are independent if and only if the OR equals 1, i.e., the odds of one event are the same in either the presence or absence of the other event. If the OR is greater than 1, then A and B are associated (correlated) in the sense that, compared to the absence of B, the presence of B raises the odds of A, and symmetrically the presence of A raises the odds of B. Conversely, if the OR is less than 1 (as it is above), then A and B are negatively correlated, and the presence of one event reduces the odds of the other event7. Adjusted ORs are used to control for confounding bias. The AOR measures the association between a confounding variable and the outcome, and controls for that value8.
**95% CI: 95% Confidence Interval. In statistics, a confidence interval (CI) is a range of estimates for an unknown parameter. A confidence interval is computed at a designated confidence level; the 95% confidence level is most common, but other levels, such as 90% or 99%, are sometimes used9.