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‘This just doesn’t make sense’: Lead author of Cochrane mask review responds to Fauci’s denial of evidence

Written by Maryanne Demasi via Substack,

US President Anthony Fauci’s former chief medical adviser was questioned over the weekend by CNN reporter Michael Smerconish, on how face masks can slow the spread of covid-19.

There is no doubt that masks workFauci said.

Different studies give different percentages of benefit from wearing it, but there is no doubt that the weight of the studies… indicate the benefit of wearing masks,” added.

Smerconish raised the 2023 Cochrane Review that found no evidence that physical interventions such as face masks could stop viral transmission in the community and cited my interview with the study’s lead author, Tom Jefferson, confirming, “There’s no evidence that they [masks] make any difference. Point.”

Fauci replied, “Yes, but there are other studies.” emphasizing that the masks work individually.

“When you’re talking about the effect on the epidemic or the pandemic as a whole, the data is less strong … but when you’re talking about an individual basis of someone protecting themselves or protecting themselves from spreading it to others, you don’t there is no doubt that there are many studies that show that there is an advantage,” Fauci said.

Professor Tom Jefferson, who says he is committed to updating the Cochrane review as new evidence emerges, has responded to Fauci’s comments.

So Fauci is saying that masks work for people, but not at the population level? This just doesn’t make sense,” Jefferson said.

And it says there are ‘other studies’… but which studies? He doesn’t name them, so I can’t interpret his comments without knowing what he’s referring to,” he added.

Jefferson explains that the purpose of the Cochrane review was to systematically examine all available randomized data on physical interventions such as masks and determine what was helpful and what was not.

Since 2011, the Cochrane review included only randomized trials minimize bias of confusions

“Fauci may be relying on junk studies,” Jefferson said. “Many of them are observational, some are cross-sectional, and some actually use modeling. That’s not strong evidence.”

“Once we excluded these low-quality studies from the review, we concluded that there was no evidence that masks reduce transmission,” he added.

The problem with Fauci is that his story has changed.

Fauci initially said masks were ineffective and unnecessary. In March 2020, Fauci he said 60 minutes“Right now in America, people shouldn’t be walking around wearing masks.”

But just weeks later, he made a U-turn and began recommending the widespread use of face masks.

Fauci defended his U-turn saying“When the facts change, I change my mind.”

Jefferson retorted: “What facts have changed? There were no randomized studies, no new evidence to justify his flip flop. That’s simply not true.”

Since then, Fauci has remained adamant that face masks not only prevent people from infecting others, but also protect the wearer.

Fauci defended, and even encouraged, the use of cloth masks double masking in the absence of evidence.

“Put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it would be more effective,” Fauci he said NBC news.

“What Fauci doesn’t understand is that cloth and surgical masks can’t stop viruses because the viruses are too small and still get around.” Jefferson said.

He regrets that public figures have tried to undermine the Cochrane review, even though it represents the gold standard of evidence.

Columnist Zeynep Tufekci wrote an article in the News from New York entitled, “Here’s why the science is clear that masks work”, claiming that the Cochrane mask study had misled the public.

Cochrane editor-in-chief Karla Soares-Weiser capitulated to pressure and “apologised” for writing in the review’s plain language summary because it “was open to misinterpretation” and could have resulted in “inaccurate and misleading” claims.

And former CDC Director Rochelle Walensky deceive Congress after claiming that the Cochrane review had been “retracted”, which was patently false.

As it stands, the Cochrane review will continue to come under attack because it presents a significant obstacle to implementing unmasking policies. Jefferson says he doesn’t know what motivates people to ignore the facts.

Could controlling people’s behavior be part of this whole agenda? May be”, he speculated.

“What I do know,” Jefferson said, “is that Fauci was in a position to do a trial, he could have randomized two regions to wear masks or not. But he didn’t and that’s inexcusable.”

Fauci, who was the federal government’s top infectious disease specialist for nearly 40 years, stepped down in December 2022 and is now Professor, Georgetown University Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases.



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