Facemasks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis

(Also known as the latest viral psuedo-science) Have y’all seen this circulating? A LOT of you have sent me the article with the above title. Lemme’ help show you why it’s not legit and hopefully this will help you decipher what a real peer-reviewed publication should look like.

✅1. The article “Facemasks in the COVID-19 era: A health hypothesis” was written by Baruch Vainshelboim – His LinkedIn site said he is an exercise physiologist at Stanford, but you can’t find him on the Stanford or VA health care system’s website.

✅2. The article was published in the journal called Medical Hypothesis which states the purpose of the journal is to “consider radical, speculative, and non main-stream scientific ideas”. This particular journal also has a history of publishing AIDS denialism papers in the 1980-90s. The founder was a very controversial figure (from a science standpoint) with claims of unfounded and unproven treatment for certain diseases. The journal has also published some pretty egregious claims about treatments for other diseases that are pseudoscience, such as the AIDS denialism papers and snake-oil-type cures.

✅3. The journal is not peer-reviewed and there is a history of who actually “reviews” any of the articles. Real peer-review for legit science is a rigorous and scientific review of pre-published literature from experts without conflicts of interest. When I review papers, my job is to provide an unbiased, scientifically-sound, and thorough review of the study. In other words, we are to rigorously review the data and study claims. This journal does not have that and the National Library of Medicine has actually requested those standards be changed – dating back to the AIDS denialism days.

✅4. This paper is NOT published by the NIH. If you see that claim, it’s just not true. These papers may make it into PubMed (the main database of scientific publications) but that does not mean all papers are legit. You can find lots of psuedo-science in PubMed from bad journals – that’s not the NIH though. That’s bad science.

✅5. This article states 12 reasons why you shouldn’t wear a face mask – all of which have been debunked already for months (I’ll link that data at the end). As a reminder, masks do not make you hypoxic, increase muscle tension, reduce your immune system, etc. If masks ruined our immune system or hurt us, we would know by now. Why? BECAUSE WE HAVE STUDIED IT ALREADY THROUGH LEGIT STUDY DESIGNS – over and over again. We already know the answer.

✅6. If you want to really look behind the curtain of the claims and the author, you’ll have to look at other anti-mask and/or anti-vaccine groups (mostly far right conservative groups). These types of articles also sound a lot like the viral “18 reasons” article that was circulating a few weeks ago. It’s just repackaged differently – but it makes the same claims about masks and/or vaccines. You have to look behind the curtain of these things friends. Some of the groups are just bad-science groups. Others, however, are LARGE and strong anti-vaccine/far-right/anti-science groups that have been around a long time. But, you might not know it. Here’s that post if you missed it: https://www.facebook.com/friendlyneighborepidemiologist/posts/279770976978892

✅7. Don’t believe everything you see. Just because something looks like science doesn’t mean it is. There’s often more at work behind the curtain of these things than people realize. And, those groups are duping large groups of people into believing the pseudo-science. There’s a long history of these groups, friends, and they are working over-time right now to stir distrust regarding masks, vaccines, and even whether or not COVID-19 is real.

✅8. The Great Barrington Debate is also circulating again. Ugh. I’m posting where I debunked that at the end of the sources too. Rule of thumb: Masks and vaccines are safe and work against COVID-19. Be wise and discerning, web-peeps.


SOURCES: 𝐌𝐀𝐒𝐊𝐒 𝐀𝐍𝐃 𝐏𝐇𝐘𝐒𝐈𝐂𝐀𝐋 𝐃𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐍𝐂𝐈𝐍𝐆 1. Masks work: The strongest evidence we have https://tinyurl.com/yxkymuof https://tinyurl.com/y2ux4owk 2. Mask 101: Why they work, exposure time, how to wear and disinfect your mask correctly https://tinyurl.com/yxvayp76 https://tinyurl.com/y6zxl2u3 3. Myth-busters for mask: A LONG post debunking common myths about masks (masks work realy well, clearing up what the surgeon general/WHO said, CO2 fears) https://tinyurl.com/y642sefb 4. Did the Surgeon General or WHO say not to wear masks? https://tinyurl.com/y4d8ghk2 5. Sheltering in place works https://tinyurl.com/y66halh3 https://tinyurl.com/y2cn5vdq 6. Let’s talk masks, face shields, and gaiters: Why you need to pull your masks over your nose – https://tinyurl.com/y5rfqhqk 7. Why state-wide mask mandates work! – https://tinyurl.com/yxu6gl4r 8. A reminder of when someone is contagious and the importance of masks (and a note on bipartisan science) – https://tinyurl.com/y4rfjmc5 9. Does wearing a mask protect me even if others around me aren’t wearing one? https://tinyurl.com/yxj8lvdc 10. An example of when masks worked and didn’t- https://tinyurl.com/y2jvpp7b 11. Do masks protect you if others don’t wear one? – https://tinyurl.com/yxj8lvdc 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐆𝐑𝐄𝐀𝐓 𝐁𝐀𝐑𝐑𝐈𝐍𝐆𝐓𝐎𝐍 𝐃𝐄𝐁𝐀𝐓𝐄 𝐀𝐍𝐃 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐉𝐎𝐇𝐍 𝐒𝐍𝐎𝐖 𝐌𝐄𝐌𝐎𝐑𝐀𝐍𝐃𝐔𝐌: 1. GBD Part 1 – https://tinyurl.com/y3spdcpu 2. GBD Part 2 – https://tinyurl.com/y4qywa9m 3. John Snow Memorandum Part 1 – https://tinyurl.com/y5r9wxzd 4. John Snow Memorandum Part 2 – https://tinyurl.com/y4ckxr9w

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