A mechanism by which facemasks contribute to the COVID-19 case fatality rate
National Pulse story: https://wordpress.com/post/econophysics2020.com/5198
Extensive evidence in the literature supports the mandatory use of facemasks to reduce the infection rate of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, which causes the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). However, the effect of mask use on the disease course remains controversial. This study aimed to determine whether mandatory mask use influenced the case fatality rate in Kansas, USA between August 1st and October 15th 2020.
This study applied secondary data on case updates, mask mandates, and demographic status related to Kansas State, USA. A parallelization analysis based on county-level data was conducted on these data. Results were controlled by performing multiple sensitivity analyses and a negative control.
A parallelization analysis based on county-level data showed that in Kansas, counties with mask mandate had significantly higher case fatality rates than counties without mask mandate, with a risk ratio of 1.85 (95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 1.51–2.10) for COVID-19-related deaths. Even after adjusting for the number of “protected persons,” that is, the number of persons who were not infected in the mask-mandated group compared to the no-mask group, the risk ratio remained significantly high at 1.52 (95% CI: 1.24–1.72). By analyzing the excess mortality in Kansas, this study determines that over 95% of this effect can solely be attributed to COVID-19.
These findings suggest that mask use might pose a yet unknown threat to the user instead of protecting them, making mask mandates a debatable epidemiologic intervention.
The cause of this trend is explained herein using the “Foegen effect” theory; that is, deep re-inhalation of hypercondensed droplets or pure virions caught in facemasks as droplets can worsen prognosis and might be linked to long-term effects of COVID-19 infection. While the “Foegen effect” is proven in vivo in an animal model, further research is needed to fully understand it.
National Pulse Story:
Mask mandates caused higher COVID-19 death rates, according to the bombshell claims made in a new medical journal report analyzing fatality rates across the state of Kansas.
The observational study – “The Foegen Effect: A Mechanism by Which Facemasks Contribute to the COVID-19 Case Fatality Rate” – was published in Medicine in February 2022, authored by German doctor Zacharias Fögen.
The paper analyzed “whether mandatory mask use influenced the case fatality rate in Kansas” during the time period of August 1st, 2020 to October 15th. Kansas was used for comparison because the state allowed each of its 105 counties to decide whether or not to implement mask mandates, with 81 counties deciding against the measure.
“The most important finding from this study is that contrary to the accepted thought that fewer people are dying because infection rates are reduced by masks, this was not the case,” summarized the paper.
“Results from this study strongly suggest that mask mandates actually caused about 1.5 times the number of deaths or ∼50% more deaths compared to no mask mandates.”
The study also posited a potential reason for the disparity in risk ratio (RR) for dying from COVID-19:
“A rationale for the increased RR by mandating masks is probably that virions that enter or those coughed out in droplets are retained in the facemask tissue, and after quick evaporation of the droplets, hypercondensed droplets or pure virions (virions not inside a droplet) are re-inhaled from a very short distance during inspiration.”
Dubbed the “Foegen effect,” the theory suggests that COVID-19 “virions spread (because of their smaller size) deeper into the respiratory tract.”
“These findings suggest that mask use might pose a yet unknown threat to the user instead of protecting them, making mask mandates a debatable epidemiologic intervention,” concludes the paper.
The study follows another recently published analysis of international data showing the same relationship between COVID-19 and masks.