Articles published before the COVID-19 outbreak also offer evidence that the mask rules are not driven by science but rather by politics. For example, in October 2019, Medical Xpress reported that not only is the influenza vaccine only 15% effective, on average, but wearing a surgical mask is equally ineffective:21
“A study that is often cited as evidence that surgical masks work is a randomized trial from 2009 that compared surgical masks with a specialist mask called an N95 respirator — a mask that fits snugly and filters at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) particles.
The study,22 published in JAMA, found that surgical masks were as effective as N95 respirators at preventing the flu, which is to say, not all that effective because, of the 446 nurses who took part in this study, nearly one in four (24%) in the surgical mask group still got the flu as did 23% of those who wore the N95 respirator.
And, because both groups wore masks, it’s impossible to say how they would have fared compared with not wearing a mask at all. Basically, there is no strong evidence to support well people wearing surgical masks in public.”