Unfortunately, we are seeing politicians and the special interests using so-called science, data, and an appeal to authority to justify draconian public policies with no basis in fact, the law or the constitution. All the while, knowing that their only justification was pulled out of their wazoo.
Let us consider five basic assertions…
(1) That the “data” speaks for itself is often a bald-faced lie. Data is not fact nor irrefutable evidence that yields valid conclusions; it is untested observations that are subject to unknown biases and other methodological faults.
(2) The results of mathematical manipulation of the data is often an answer to an equation; it is not necessarily the solution to an underlying problem. Most models are inadequate because they do not encompass the entirety of the phenomenon, have invalid assumptions, or use dodgy data.
(3) Science is little more than controlled skepticism that provides a framework for investigating phenomena and reporting the findings in an open manner so the findings and conclusions can be further examined, replicated, confirmed and validated, or falsified.
(4) To regard scientists as honest and ethical individuals immune to the demands of ego, bias, reputation, and peer pressure is to negate human nature. To believe that politics and funding opportunities, the fear of failure, scorn, or media attention does not condition one’s thinking is to ignore reality.
(5) Using an appeal to scientific authority can be illegitimate as one can often produce well-credentialed experts with little or no expertise in the matter under discussion or experts who are equally educated, credentialed, and experienced who hold contrarian views based on their rational examination of the same data using the same assumptions.
Here is a blog entry that suggests masks are apparently not working based on findings from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)…
But, you must ask yourself, “If 85% of the people who got COVID-19 wore masks, what conclusion can you draw from the data?”
(1) The first and most important conclusion is that 85% of the study’s participants apparently wore masks or claimed to have worn masks.
(2) The second conclusion is that the “data” neither affirms nor nullifies the CDC’s guidance on mask usage. Especially considering the small sample of self-reporting participants.
(3) The third conclusion is that the use of the term “control participants” is grossly misleading because it would be a violation of medical research ethics to knowingly allow a group of un-masked patients to come in contact with infected individuals to measure the results.
(4) The fourth conclusion is that there are a number of variables that make the study unacceptable to inform the health decisions of individuals. Variables including whether or not the mask type was suitable to screen out the virus or keep the virus from escaping beyond the mask, whether the mast was worn properly, etc.
(5) The fifth conclusion is that those aged, obese individuals with underlying medical conditions (co-morbidities) should take more precautions than those who are younger and relatively healthy.
(6) And the sixth conclusion is that life is a crapshoot – a continuous function of circumstantial probabilities that cannot transform recommendations of “best practices” into guaranteed outcomes.
| An excerpt from investigative journalist Jordan Schachtel’s blog, “The Mass Illusion,” billed as “a newsletter for the people concerned with the ‘new normal’”…
CDC: 85% of COVID-19 patients report ‘always’ or ‘often’ wearing a mask
Americans are wearing masks, but masks aren't working.
An underreported, recently-published CDC study adds to the pile of evidence that cloth masks or other forms of mandated face coverings only contribute negatives to our COVID-19 problem. The study also displays — despite the constant accusations of widespread misbehavior from public health officials — that Americans are adhering to mask wearing, but mask wearing is not doing us any good.
The CDC study, which surveyed symptomatic COVID-19 patients, has found that 70.6% of respondents reported “always” wearing a mask, while an additional 14.4% say they “often” wear a mask. That means a whopping 85% of infected COVID-19 patients reported habitual mask wearing. Only 3.9% of those infected said they “never” wear a face covering.
The study offers insight into the reality that tens of thousands of Americans are acquiring COVID-19 on a daily basis despite overwhelming adherence to mask wearing. Masks simply aren’t working to “slow the spread” or “stop the spread.” The study also dismisses “public health experts’” claims from individuals such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and others that Americans are not following the guidance being disseminated by the CDC and other disease control agencies.
Americans are following the CDC guidance. It’s just not working.
As you can see in the screenshot below, the symptomatic group (left) mirrors the control group (right). The study fails to provide any evidence that COVID-19 infection protection is associated with mask wearing. In fact, given the lack of separation between the symptomatic group and the control group, it provides evidence that masks do absolutely nothing to stop the spread of COVID-19. <Source>
What the study actually said…
Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities — United States, July 2020
What is already known about the topic?
Community and close contact exposures contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
What is added by this report?
Findings from a case-control investigation of symptomatic outpatients from 11 U.S. health care facilities found that close contact with persons with known COVID-19 or going to locations that offer on-site eating and drinking options were associated with COVID-19 positivity. Adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results.
What are the implications for public health practice?
Eating and drinking on-site at locations that offer such options might be important risk factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Efforts to reduce possible exposures where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, such as when eating and drinking, should be considered to protect customers, employees, and communities.
This investigation included adults aged ≥18 years who received a first test for SARS-CoV-2 infection at an outpatient testing or health care center at one of 11 Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness in the Critically Ill (IVY) Network sites* during July 1–29, 2020 .
A COVID-19 case was confirmed by RT-PCR testing for SARS-CoV-2 RNA from respiratory specimens. Assays varied among facilities. Each site generated lists of adults tested within the study period by laboratory result; adults with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 were selected by random sampling as case-patients.
For each case-patient, two adults with negative SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test results were randomly selected as control-participants and matched by age, sex, and study location.
After randomization and matching, 615 potential case-patients and 1,212 control-participants were identified and contacted 14–23 days after the date they received SARS-CoV-2 testing. Screening questions were asked to identify eligible adults. Eligible adults for the study were symptomatic at the time of their first SARS-CoV-2 test.
CDC personnel administered structured interviews in English or five other languages† by telephone and entered data into REDCap software. Among 802 adults contacted and who agreed to participate (295 case-patients and 507 control-participants), 332 reported symptoms at the time of initial SARS-CoV-2 testing and were enrolled in the study. Eighteen interviews were excluded because of nonresponse to the community exposure questions. The final analytic sample (314) included 154 case-patients (positive SARS-CoV-2 test results) and 160 control-participants (negative SARS-CoV-2 test results).
Among nonparticipants, 470 were ineligible (i.e., were not symptomatic or had multiple tests), and 163 refused to participate. This activity was reviewed by CDC and participating sites and conducted consistent with applicable federal law and CDC policy. <Source>
What should I do?
(1) If you believe masks are both safe for use and effective, by all means, use masks in areas where you may be exposed to infected individuals.
(2) If you believe masks might be safe and effective, consider the downside (uncomfortable and possibly unsafe) of wearing a mask versus the upside (possible prevention of being infected.)
(3) If you believe you have a condition that is not compatible with a mask or an increase in inhaled carbon dioxide, consult your physician for specific advice.
(4) If you believe that masks are unsafe and ineffective, go about your business without a mask, knowing you may make other people uncomfortable or challenge existing laws.
(5) In all cases, you go through life knowing that you have accepted the risk of a wrong decision, the magnitude of which is individually incalculable.
When using “research,” “science,” “the data,” or the proclamation of a particular expert or group of experts to inform your health decisions, it is important to consider common sense, true scientific principles, and the motivations of those providing advice.
Those who are using fear and panic to promote draconian public policies meant to bring about a fundamental transformation in governance systems and citizen compliance need to be shunned and replaced at the earliest possible moment because they have distorted, exaggerated or obfuscated the facts you need to make an informed decision.
Consider the realities of life, not the pipe-dreams of radical progressive socialist democrats.
P.S. If you are wondering about the equation…