Fauci: Masks Didn’t Work for ‘Broad Population’ — But on Individual Basis ‘There Is an Advantage’


Former NIAID Director and White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said Saturday on CNN’s “Smerconish” that studies showing masks are not effective in the “broad population” do not affect their “advantage” on an individual basis.

Partial transcript as follows:

FAUCI: So I would hope that if in fact we get to the point where the volume of cases is such an organization’s like the CDC recommend, CDC doesn’t mandate anything, I mean, recommends that people wear masks, I would hope that they abide by the recommendation and take into account the risk to themselves and to their families. And again, we’re not talking there’s forcing anybody to do anything.

SMERCONISH: Totally understood. There is a perception out there by many, how many, I don’t know, that they don’t work and that the data concludes that they didn’t work in the first go round. Respond to that on masks.

FAUCI: Yes, well, that’s not so. I mean, when you’re talking about at the population level, that the data are less strong than knowing that if you look on a situation as an individual protecting themselves or protecting them from spreading it there is no doubt that masks work. Different studies give different percentages of advantage of wearing it. But there’s no doubt that the weight of the studies, and there have been many studies indicate the benefit of wearing masks.

SMERCONISH: I’m going to refer to one of them. You’ve heard about it before, I heard about it from a number of radio callers. Bret Stephens in the “Times” talked about Cochrane. Put that on the screen. “The most rigorous and comprehensive analysis of scientific studies conducted on the efficacy of masks for reducing the spread of respiratory illness, including COVID-19, was published last month, its conclusions, said Tom Jefferson, the Oxford epidemiologist who is the lead author, were unambiguous.

There is just no evidence that they masks make any difference,” he told the journalist Maryanne Demasi. “Full stop.” But wait, hold on, what about the N-95 masks, as opposed to the lower quality surgical or cloth masks? Makes no difference? None of it, he said. Well, what about the studies that initially persuaded policymakers to impose mask mandates? They were convinced by nonrandomized studies, flawed observational studies. How do we get beyond that finding of that particular review?

FAUCI: Yes, but there are other studies, Michael, that show at an individual level for individual when you’re talking about the effect on the epidemic or the pandemic as a whole, the data are less strong. But when you talk about as an individual basis of someone protecting themselves or protecting themselves from spreading it to others, there’s no doubt that there are many studies that show that there is an advantage.

When you took it the broad population level like the Cochrane study, the data are less firm with regard to the effect on the overall pandemic. But we’re not talking about that, we’re talking about an individual’s effect on their own safety. That’s a bit different than the broad population level.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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