Study Finds Link Between Masks And Higher Deaths From COVID

( A new study found a “moderate positive correlation” between mask use and deaths in countries with high mask compliance. Beny Spira, an Associate Professor at the University of São Paulo who studies microorganism molecular genetics, authored the peer-reviewed study.

The paper, published in the Cureus Journal of Medical Science on April 19, 2022, analyzes the correlation between mask usage and morbidity and mortality rates in Europe in 2020-2021.

The study included 602 million people from 35 European countries and analyzed six-month morbidity, mortality, and mask usage data.

Spira summarized that countries with high mask compliance did not perform better than those with low mask usage during the second European wave of COVID-19.

The lack of negative correlations between mask usage and COVID-19 cases and deaths suggests that widespread use of masks during the 2020-2021 autumn-winter peak did not reduce COVID-19 transmission.

The paper also found a “moderate positive correlation” between mask use and COVID-19 deaths.

The moderate positive correlation between mask usage and deaths in Western Europe suggests that the universal use of masks may have had harmful unintended consequences.

The positive correlation between mask use and cases was not significant (rho = 0.136, p = 0.436), but the correlation between mask use and deaths was positive and significant (rho = 0.351, p = 0.039). The correlation between masks and deaths was higher in the West than in East European countries: 0.627 (p = 0.007) and 0.164 (p = 0.514).

Spira also explains how confounding factors like vaccination rates or COVID-19 levels were irrelevant.

Concerning disparate vaccination rates between countries, Spira said it is unlikely given that at the end of the period analyzed in this study (31st March 2021), vaccination rollout was still at its beginning, with only three countries displaying vaccination rates higher than 20%: the UK (48%), Serbia (35%), and Hungary (30%), with all doses counted individually.

The rise in infection levels may have prompted more masking in countries with high transmission rates. While this is true for some countries, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain have had strict mask mandates since 2020. During the six-month study period, all countries experienced a peak in COVID-19 infections, which may have influenced mask use.

The White House has vowed to reinstate the federal mask mandate for travelers.

Because science.