The CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) is the agency’s primary vehicle for “scientific publication of timely, reliable, authoritative, accurate, objective, and useful public health information and recommendations.” Despite it’s standing as a reliable guide to the science of the agency’s purview it is subject only to internal review. It was employed by the CDC to promote the widespread use of masks as an effective preventative against the spread of the corona virus. Three scientists from the University of California in San Francisco describe and evaluate the nature and methodology of the reports and appropriateness of conclusions in MMWR pertaining to masks. An analysis of studies pertaining to masks in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Their finding shown in the above link are pre-peer review and thus subject to the limitations that such studies entail. Its authors conclude that “MMWR publications pertaining to masks drew positive conclusions about mask effectiveness over 75% of the time despite only 30% testing masks and <15% having statistically significant results. No studies were randomized, yet over half drew causal conclusions. The level of evidence generated was low and the conclusions drawn were most often unsupported by the data. Our findings raise concern about the reliability of the journal for informing health policy.” Their findings are summarized on the figure below.
As you can see the authors of the study present an analysis that says that the CDC’s recommendations about the effectiveness of masks was based on data that are consistent with the poor reputation the Center has acquired over the past few years. A few speculations about the report and its fate. Peer review may uncover flaws in the report such that its finding are less damning then they now appear. Given the major medical journals biased reporting during the pandemic, which continues to this day, it’s possible that they may not want to publish these findings no matter how valid. The reputation of these organs has suffered along with that of the medical profession from obviously biased reporting and statements. Why deviation from the truth as best as it can be appreciated has taken such a firm hold over those who produce the “official” declaration of revealed wisdom is both a subject for future study and current wonder.
The politicization of the CDC and its deviation from the analysis and presentation of unbiased information is not only deleterious to the nation’s health it is also a blot on a body politic that is already seen as blemished. The search for truth may be endless, but it should never be abandoned or distorted. The evidence for the usefulness of masks against COVID was never persuasive no matter how often masking was demanded. Whenever you hear the admonition “follow the science” – stop for a moment and consider if the speaker really means it.