Cochrane masking review reveals how academics are absolute hypocrites
A tale of two failed therapies and thousands of people without principles
The reception to the Cochrane update on masks and other physical interventions to prevent the spread of sars-cov-2 has been disappointing.
First of all, there is no question that randomized trials better estimate treatment effect than observational research. This is especially true when masks take on a religious quality that segregates with wealth and sociopolitical beliefs. Pima and Maricopa county are not comparable. The have different levels of precaution, vaccination and voting. An anecdote of a hairdresser in Marin county is not evidence. It wasn’t long ago that we all knew that. Except the CDC.
Second, and I cannot stress this enough, if you want to excuse negative results by citing non-compliance, you have it backwards. Compliance is part of your intervention. A diet that advises people to just eat nothing till they are skinny will fail. You cannot then blame it on non-compliance. You need to offer a diet that is sustainable.
Third, ‘the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’. This excuse was trotted out to say that the Cochrane review did not conclusively prove masks don’t work. Largely those who offered this claim pointed to the broad 95% confidence interval for masks on the endpoint of flu or COVID. It includes some values compatible with benefit.
On my substack, I argued this argument was insincere, and drew a parallel to a discredited practice’s confidence interval. But here, I can do you one better. Which one of these confidence intervals is masking for COVID, and which is ivermectin for COVID?
That’s right. Ivermectin for COVID19, a failed therapy. (PS: it is a failed therapy). And listen to how people talk about it. As if only the worst type of person would continue to advocate for it. Further testing is pointless. And to be honest, I AGREE WITH THOSE CONCLUSIONS. So here is the answer:
That’s right. In order to be consistent you have to treat masking and ivermectin the same. Neither has any credible data it works. Every excuse you make about masking, an Ivermectin zealot can make
It was bioplausible | It was bioplausible
People were non-compliant | They didn’t give the right dose
They didn’t mask at home | They didn’t start it early enough
The confidence interval did not exclude meaningful benefit | The confidence interval did not exclude meaningful benefit
We need more trials | We need more trials
Nearly no one is consistent here.
Both masking and ivermectin failed to show how they might help people in a timely fashion. Both are failed interventions. One is a the panacea of right wing zealots and the other of left wing zealots.
In biomedicine and public health, in times of crisis, you get some period of time to show how an intervention might work, and if it doesn’t: pack your bags. Stop talking. Move on.
Community masking failed. The only people who saw it coming were people who read all the pre-pandemic randomized evidence, who read all the RCTs during COVID, and people who didn’t lose their marbles in times of crisis.
When virtually nothing was known in the beginning of all this, the panicked ignorance of certain academics and most politicians became the foundation for public health measures that destroyed lives and livelihoods. Reasonable, logical people with sensible solutions were told by the "elites" WE were the problem. Nay nay...I would say the true problem has always been with the aforementioned hypocrites.
As an educated, non-medical professional, I pride myself in being able to discern a good argument... Covid has given me plenty of opportunities to practice. Regarding the question of Ivermectin, the arguments I hear from opponents are usually not based on personal experience, and often refer to non-specific large randomized controlled trials that are peremptorily described as negative. I also find the reticence to engage in a public debate with representatives of "the other side" problematic.
"The other side" is also comprised of highly credentialed professionals that are often shunned from mainstream media... all this is absolutely not helpful to win over critical thinking people who don't feel at ease with the way this one-size-fit-all solution is being pushed on us.
Here is a convivial discussion between two intelligent people on the topic of Ivermectin. You decide. Is this an elegant way to prove its efficacy or are those two dangerous radicals we need to be protected from??