Face masks (at best) ineffective against SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 and flu

A series of studies, some of them covering viruses other than SARS-CoV-2, yet the findings of all of them are the same – no statistically significant protective effect of face masks, and, in some cases, possibly increased rates of infection (see first study below).

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-facemasks-idUSKBN27Y1YW

https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-6817

“…A total of 3030 participants were randomly assigned to the recommendation to wear masks, and 2994 were assigned to control; 4862 completed the study. Infection with SARS-CoV-2 occurred in 42 participants recommended masks (1.8%) and 53 control participants (2.1%). The between-group difference was −0.3 percentage point (95% CI, −1.2 to 0.4 percentage point; P = 0.38) (odds ratio, 0.82 [CI, 0.54 to 1.23]; P = 0.33). Multiple imputation accounting for loss to follow-up yielded similar results. Although the difference observed was not statistically significant, the 95% CIs are compatible with a 46% reduction to a 23% increase in infection. The recommendation to wear surgical masks to supplement other public health measures did not reduce the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among wearers by more than 50% in a community with modest infection rates, some degree of social distancing, and uncommon general mask use. The data were compatible with lesser degrees of self-protection.

“…Conclusion: : Existing data pooled from randomized controlled trials do not reveal a reduction in occurrence of ILI with the use of facemask alone in community settings.”
“…Conclusion: Surgical mask wearing among individuals in non-healthcare settings is not significantly associated with reduction in ARI incidence in this meta-review.
“…Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.”