Do masks protect against Chinese coronavirus and reduce its spread — or are they, as their critics maintain, mere empty gesture politics?
A major study which might finally have answered this question has been postponed indefinitely after three of the world’s top three medical journals mysteriously declined to publish it.
Danish newspaper Berlingske reports:
The researchers behind a large and unique Danish study on the effect of wearing a mask are having great difficulty in getting their research results published. One of the participating professors in the study admits that the still secret research result could be perceived as ‘controversial’.
For weeks, the media and researchers around the world have been waiting with increasing impatience for the publication of a large Danish study on the effect – or lack thereof – of wearing a mask in a public space during the corona pandemic.
Now one of the researchers who has been involved in the study has said that the finished research result has been rejected by at least three of the world’s leading medical journals.
These include the Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Medical Association’s journal JAMA.
“They all said no,” says the Chief Physician in the Research Department at North Zealand Hospital, Professor Christian Torp-Pedersen.
However, the Professor does not wish to disclose the journals’ reasoning.
One of the study’s co-authors, Henrik Ullum, has tweeted that the authors are all ‘very unhappy’ about the delay of their study.
As one of the co-authors I can inform you that we are very unhappy about the delay of our study. We never anticipated this delay. The peer review process is important to secure correct scientific conclusions for this sensitive research question. https://t.co/f0LMKNRK3d
— Henrik Ullum (@henrik_ullum) October 22, 2020
Some have speculated that the reason none of the major journals wishes to publish the study is because its findings contradict the official narrative that masks are a vital tool in combating the spread of coronavirus.
It could, of course, be that the journals rejected the paper for other reasons — but we are being kept in the dark while it remains unpublished. Indeed, while at the beginning of Coronavirus academic studies proving whether masks worked or not were rare, the Centre for Disease Control in the U.S. and the World Health Organisation have both subsequently said people should wear masks.
Nevertheless, the fact that the cause has been taken up by one of Europe’s oldest newspapers may count for something, and the CDC’s latest research makes clear the common type of cloth masks seen on our streets every day are no substitute for actual medical-grade masks.
U.S. journalist Alex Berenson may have confirmed the theory that the study simply came to an inconvenient conclusion when he tweeted that one of the study’s lead investigators, Professor Thomas Benfield, has said the study will be published ‘as soon as a journal is brave enough to accept the paper.’
Since it would require no courage whatsoever for any medical journal to publish a paper claiming that masks are effective, the logical inference is that the Danish study concludes the opposite.
A lead investigator on the Danish mask study – the ONLY (as far as I know) randomized trial to see if masks protect from #COVID – was asked when it would be published.
His answer: “as soon as a journal is brave enough.”
If you think that means the study shows masks work… pic.twitter.com/tm5PFBa5TL
— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) October 18, 2020