Monday, February 13, 2023

Paging Otto


Le sigh.

Today we look at something a lot of people think they understand, point out the glaring flaw in their reasoning, and deliver poo-flinging amounts of butthurt upon them. For them, the apocalypse. For us, any day ending in "y".

Some people keep wanting to be right on something, and it truly pains us. Like sucking on lemons would. We'd rather not do it, because there's no sweetness to be found. But sometimes we just cut up the lemons, and let other people suck it. This would be that time.

You may have seen this little bucket of codswallop. Usually as the preface for a "See?!? We Wuz Right! MASK DON'T WORK! ELEVENTY!" article trying to justify their weak grasp of middle school science.

There are at least two problems with that line of jackkassery :

1) In neither that study, nor in any of the 20 40 60 78(!) studies cited does anyone say "Masks Don't Work". Not as such, nor anything close to that.

2) That's not what they were even studying, nor even attempting to study.

So what does the study cited actually say?
I know this is a novel approach for people who swallowed the "Masks Don't Work" horseshit hook, line, and sinker, but let's excerpt the following quote from the actual study summation:

Author's Conclusions

"The high risk of bias in the trials {that would be the exact 78 studies everyone who never read them is huffing and puffing about - A.}, variation in outcome measurement {meaning endless apples-to-oranges fallacious equivalencies -A.},and relatively low adherence with the interventions {meaning no one wore their f**king masks neither properly, nor most of the time, exactly like we told you they wouldn't, ever} during the studies hampers drawing firm conclusions."

In other words, 

"We took your grant money, and spent most of it on hookers and blow, because after looking at all this endless horsesh*t passing for scientific study, we still cannot make head nor tails out of any of it." 

But wait! There's more!
"The low to moderate certainty of evidence means our confidence in the effect estimate is limited..."
In other words,
"We'd have more confidence in a study of the best traps to catch a Bigfoot, if it had been conducted by the Seven Dwarves, and verified by the Tooth Fairy."

Saving the best for last:

"There is a need for large, well-designed RCTs [randomised controlled trials] addressing the effectiveness of many of these interventions in multiple settings and populations, as well as the impact of adherence on effectiveness..."

In other words,

"None of these studies was large enough for statistical significance, they were all poorly designed, they were neither randomised, nor were other variables controlled for, nor did any of them examine actual effectiveness, let alone in multiple settings nor populations, nor did any of them control for the fact that people didn't follow any of the imaginary controls, so we really have no idea what effect that had on the dubious results obtained, and quite frankly, they would all be more authoritative if they'd sacrificed a goat, or read chicken entrails and tea leaves before stating their pre-ordained conclusions. We're sorry we even bothered, because what we found was pure bullshit, masquerading as prime rib and sirloin." 

The study authors have just told you, point-blank, that their study wasn't worth a bag of warm piss, and that they wish they'd found any relevant, accurate, and valid studies to look at, but since all they had to work with was horseshit, they decided to bake horseshit pie.

We pray you, stop eating the pie.

What doesn't the study say, anywhere, with any level of confidence higher than "This is probably total bullshit, and liable to be the exact opposite of reality"...?

It doesn't say, anywhere, explicitly nor by implication, that Masks Don't Work.
Which is nonetheless what multiple sites keep cock-a-doodle-dooing over, as if just the opposite were true.

If you're going to get off the helicopter and walk into the tail rotor, you'll have your reward rather promptly.

There's been, AFAIK, one actual study of whether or not masks work to reduce the spread of virus, with a statistically valid sample, and scrupulous methodology.
We'll keep citing it until the penny drops even with the midwits in the crowd:

That's the only actual study of mask effectiveness in the last 5 years of which we are aware.

The 78 studies looked at weren't looking at that, which is why they set out neither to prove nor disprove that proposition.

Because they were studies not of mask effectiveness, but of masking policy effectiveness.

♫ One of these things, is not like the other one...♫

Masks work. 100x to 1000x better than wearing nothing. You could look it up.

But masking policies? Abysmal failure.

Because people are quite simply total fucktards.

You want to cite the "study" that's the basis for numerous "Masks Don't Work! See, We Told you So!" posts? That's nothing but psycho-ceramics: the study of crackpots.

But you want to tell us trying to convince the majority of the population to do something sensible, and do it circumspectly, correctly, and scrupulously, has less than a snowball's chance in Hell of working?

We told YOU that very thing, right on this blog, nearly three years ago.

Still feeling butthurt? There's an app for that.


Old NFO said...

Good points, and yes, once again a study that didn't do anything but put $$$ in 'somebody's pocket'. What a surprise...

jigs up said...

So the summary would be:

1. Masks can work at an individual level if you use them properly, but
2. Will fail as a general public policy because most people are idiots.

Is that about right?

It still makes sense for me personally to mask up appropriately and in the right circumstances.

Anonymous said...

A really good mask, properly applied, not touched with your hands and worn 24/ "might" work a little. But as we out here in flyover country wear masks they absolutely do not work! No study needed, they do not work.

Here is the study/test on masks; did they stop the spread, i.e. NO ONE wearing a mask got covid??? Simple as that. Don't give me that they work 10% or 20% carp. With masks and water filters either they work 99.9999% or they fail.

Anonymous said...

Masks only work for groups of saliva, and other bodily fluids. for all other possible ways for air contamination to be filtered out consult cbrne manuals.
its not like people are popping teargas grenades of covid just walking around.
they prevent you from sending it all over the room (see mythbusters sneezing in the arm video). Now do that with a mask on. PROPERLY FITTED AND WORN AT ALL TIMES.
now do it in a room full of people and see how much green dye they get in their mask.

Now do it when they arent wearing it right, nor washing their hands, and putting their hands everywhere like a 5 year old.

CONTROL was the mask policy point. Thats what the government always does.
Just because they used it as a freedom destroying policy and don't enforce or even care (see the notavaxx as a parallel attempt) doesn't mean masks don't work.

Xzebek said...

Please provide a link to a study that backs up your statement that masks work 100x to 1000x better than nothing. I don't think you can and that's no more authoritative than that which the proponents of this "study" are saying. Holding your hand over your face is better than nothing but I wouldn't rely on it. I have commented before that in responding to those who point out the deficiencies in the masks actually worn by people and the way they wear them you drift way over towards the position that masks are much more effective than they actually are. If covid 19 didn't have the minimal mortality rate (percentage wise) that it did. I don't think you would be advocating for them to the extent that you appear to be.

Anonymous said...

My niece worked at a nursing home through the pandemic. They gave her one N-95 a week and told her to wear it full time at work.
Was that the way they tested those masks in the study that showed they "worked?"

Anonymous said...

What works even better than masks?

Stay home when you are sick.


Aesop said...

@Anon 4:33P,

Your answer and "proof test" demonstrates why most people can't follow a simple study, let alone a complicated one, nor grasp the simplest concepts. And/or you're a moron. (I don't know you, so I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt there.)
"Here is the study/test on masks; did they stop the spread, i.e. NO ONE wearing a mask got covid???"
If you thought, and still think, three years out, that simple face masks were to be worn to prevent you from catching COVID, you're the moron, and really not tall enough for the internet without adult supervision. And probably the poster child for everything I told people about why masking as a policy could never work for the general population.

They were intended to be worn to keep your snot and viral load in your own space whilst out and about, to decrease the logarithmic rise of the outbreak to a level manageable with available medical resources. No more, and no less.

Whether you "catch COVID" has to do with 100 other variables, starting with whether you can remember to wash your hands every time you touch your face. Based on how something even that simple works even with trained and informed professionals, the answer is "no", 60-90% of the time.

Sorry, really, that there's no nicer way to explain that to you, especially since we've covered the concepts about 50 times just on this blog in the last several years.

I posted a link to the study right in the middle of the OP.
In compliance with the ADA, here it is again, just for you:

I've had it on speed-dial since about May of 2020, and linked to it times beyond counting.
So I clearly can, and did, wave it in your face, for the tenth or twelfth time just on this blog. It isn't hard to find, it isn't hard to comprehend, and it's scientifically bombproof, as such studies go.
{I.e. You could follow the methodology, and doubtless get identical results, provided you can find people who actually have active COVID to use to test your hypothesis, as they did.}

So, having missed all that yet again, bare column inches above this reply, I have to ask: Do you have your name sewn into your jackets still? Can you get home by yourself?

Masks work.
People are idiots.
Policies that depend on both are therefore inevitably doomed to universal failure.
Like I told you from the outset, nearly three years ago.
Maybe you can explain how telling you that hordes of people would fuck this up by the numbers, before most of the outbreak even occurred in this country, is "advocating for them" to any extent whatsoever.

@Anon 8:56P,
See the scathing replies above, and apply them all doubly to yourself.
Did you parents have any children that lived?
And BTW: "one N-95 a week"???

Aesop said...

@Anon 6:33P,
People coughing and sneezing are, in fact, launching viral particles at up to 300MPH, to distances of up to 30', if unhindered by anything else.
IOW, worse than popping CS grenades.
The policies thus had a threadbare but clear valid scientific basis in that regard.

The problem was, they forgot to factor in (or deliberately ignored) the sociological basis, which is that people are selfish morons as a group, and will ignore whatever the hell they feel is inconvenient, and fuck anybody else. {cf. wearing seatbelts or not texting while driving, obeying trash dumping laws, where their dogs and cats are allowed to shit, or any other law in human existence, since the Garden of Eden.}
Ignoring that obvious reality, and doubling down on draconian control anyways, pulled the sheepskin off the wolves' backs, exactly as you noted.

Unfortunately, that works about as well as masking policies, because it depends on intelligent compliance from the subject group. While you're rubbing that unicorn, I'd like the winning Powerball ticket and a date with a smoking hot non-crazy actress.

Forcibly quarantining actual contagious people, OTOH, has a bona fide medical and legal pedigree that goes back to the Roman republic.

Watch and see TPTB say, "Hey, we tried the soft approach, which failed colossally, so this time we're not taking any chances with you sh*theads..." in 3, 2, ...

You probably just gave me a future post.

Tucanae Services said...

Just read the study cited. So...

1) An infected person wearing a mask reduces the dispersal of viral components.
2) A non-infected person wearing a mask to not receive viral components was not tested.

Bottom line: If you are sick stay your ass home.