Debunking Dr. Meehan

joseph's picture

We were recently asked to read "An Evidence Based Scientific Analysis of Why Masks are Ineffective, Unnecessary, and Harmful" by a Dr. Meehan.

I like "evidence based scientific analysis", and don't enjoy wearing a mask much, so I had a look a that blog post from Dr. Meehan, hoping to learn something about mask effectiveness

The article starts out OK, but unfortunately goes seriously sideways when he states...

"""

In fact, the most recent systemic analysis once again confirms that masks are ineffective in preventing the transmission of viruses like CoVID-19:  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article 

"""

I want to see the evidence, so I click the link... it seems to be a Facebook "click tracker" -- often used to generate fake "likes", so I recommend not clicking links on Dr. Meehan's site.

The CDC article itself is real enough **, as you can see by clicking the clean link I posted above.

But that study in no way supports his claim.

  1. "most recent"?  That study is nearly a year old;
    not surprisingly, one can easily find hundreds of more recent scientific studies on this topic...
    Eg. https://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=scholarly+article+mask+infectious+disease+transmission+covid&scisbd=1
     
  2. "viruses like CoVID-19"?  except that study has nothing to do with Covid -- it is a study about Influenza; and 
     
  3.  most damningly, the study simply says nothing to "confirm that masks are ineffective" **

That pretty much does it for me,  < 10% through Dr. Meehan's blog post, but my curiosity has evaporated.

Analysis:

  • This is just a blog post from some random doctor's personal blog, a doctor who is not an epidemiologist, nor with any specific expertise in virology;  the blog itself is an e-marketing tool for his hormone therapy program, not a medical journal.
     
  • If his article is so "scientific and evidence-based", why not publish it in a medical journal like the EID Journal he cites? 
    (Hint: it's because the article doesn't even pass the smell test.)
     
  • He cites a near year-old study on Influenza transmission to make claims about the "most recent" science on Covid -- that's deceptive and misleading. and
     
  • He applies an age-old huckster's bait-and-switch trick, hoping you won't look at or won't understand his citations - citations that simply don't say what he claims they do. 
    One of the oldest tricks in the misinformation campaign book.

Disappointing, but hopefully I've at least saved you the effort.

 

** that CDC article?  
It is a real scientific study, published in a reputable medical journal, and among other things, it says:

  •  "influenza vaccines are the cornerstone of seasonal influenza control"
     
  • "efforts to control the next pandemic will rely largely on non-pharmaceutical interventions" (e.g., hand hygiene, masks, distancing, etc.)
     
  • "significant protective effect of a combination of hand hygiene plus face masks"
     
  • "transmission should be reduced the most if both infected members and other contacts wear masks"

To be clear -- the article does say that few studies find masks offer a significant prophylactic effect for the wearer.  But the authors are quite clear that masks, properly worn by an infected person, offer significant protection to others.  

It has always been my understanding that we wear masks to reduce transmission and protect others, not primarily to protect ourselves.

 

P.S.  blog posts with "evidence based scientific analysis" in their title should not be afforded any special credibility.  If you are looking for actual "evidence based scientific analysis",  look to peer-reviewed scientific journals, like that EID article, or reputable science journalists.  

The world is full of quacks trying to make a name (and a buck) for themselves.

Comments

rjw413's picture

Truth

Evidence, schmevidence....

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