If Tom Jefferson and Carl Heneghan aren't given the tar and feathers to run editor-in-chief, Karka Soares-Weiser, out of town on a rail, then the entire Cochrane Libary board needs to be dismissed along with her. The way Cochrane has handled this definitive mask study with its capitulation by Soares-Weiser will simply serve to degrade the credibility of Cochrane and scholarly review in general. Stop the bleeding; stop the madness, Cochrane. Support your researchers. They did their job, you tarnished it, and you have atone for your mistake. This is awful. This is scientism and not science...and in the first degree.

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Mar 15Liked by Maryanne Demasi, PhD

The world of academic publishing seems to be suffering from a pandemic of spinelessness. And it seems to be viral in origin - another form of "long COVID" ?

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Mar 15Liked by Maryanne Demasi, PhD

Nice reporting, took out a paid subscription to support your work.

I've been watching this closely, specifically Zeynep inserting herself into the mask debate, again.

I suspect her passion for the mask is that early in the pandemic she aligned with the founder of "MASKS4ALL" Jeremy Howard and put herself on his evidence review paper:

"An evidence review of face masks against COVID-19"


Which made the conclusion that cloth masks could reduce R0 and "substantially lower community tracing".

Even the last remaining mask diehards are likely to concede cloth masks don't work, but for Zeynep, perhaps having name on that paper is contributing to her sunk cost fallacy trap.

Others suggest it is perhaps defense of ego, after the NYT fluff piece "How Zeynep Tufekci keeps getting the big things right" [1], praised her wisdom in suggesting we all mask when the CDC was following the outdated science.

Her rebuke on Twitter following her "Masks work" proclamation last week in the NYT was swift, yet rather than engage with reasonable pushback, she blocked most and accused everyone else of being "Antivaxxers" and Covid minimizers [2]

Then, inexplicably, (perhaps finally reading the room), she argues she was always against toddler masking, that her critics are wrong, see, she can find an old tweet too showing she wasn't pro masking toddlers, as that would be ridiculous. Kids younger than kindergarten wearing them imperfectly? Fair game still [3]

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/23/business/media/how-zeynep-tufekci-keeps-getting-the-big-things-right.html

[2] https://twitter.com/zeynep/status/1634926027154546695

[3] https://twitter.com/MichaelDAmbro17/status/1635640791799414792

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Gob Smacking Maryanne. Has the cancer of financial influence, corrupt agendas and greed found it's way to the core of science's moral compass. Is True North being compromised by the money magnet. What is the end game here?

Perhaps it is time for a new collaboration of brilliant, integrity driven scientists to replace Cochrane and leave the carcass to rot under a stench of corruption, self interest and abuses of power.

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Thanks Maryanne I'm glad someone covered this. What a scandal!

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Cochrane review of HPV vaccine safety trials was very ordinary, and self-contradicting. The vaccine target group of young women were excluded from phase 3 trials. I also published about Cochrane gloss in the BMJ EBM (doi:10.1136/bmjebm-2018-111122). My concern was long-term ovarian and uterine health. These remain inadequately investigated. The statistical signal of irregular pre- and also post- menopausal bleeding probably relate to the same chemical, present in in COVID-19 vaccine nanoparticles.

Little D (2022) Abnormal Menstruation Following COVID-19 Vaccines: A Toxicologic Consideration. J Clin Toxicol. 12:517.

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That may have been what Jefferson meant, but unfortunately, that is not what many public commentators concluded. One can argue whether they were at fault for misinterpretation, or Jefferson was at fault for making assertions that could be misinterpreted. When Jefferson told you that "masks make no difference, full stop" that was then reported by the NY Times and widely quoted, it was interpreted by many that he was saying masks of every kind are not effective for anything, under any circumstances, "full stop." That is why Cochrane had to issue a clarification. They did not retract the study, nor make any changes to the informational contents of the article (e.g., Method, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, etc.). They simply proposed making minor changes to the Plain Language Summary and abstract so that the many public misinterpretations would be clarified, and IMO, it would have been irresponsible not to have done this. In the brief statement they put out that caused Jefferson's outrage (1st link), they actually quoted the authors' stated limitations along with the authors' statement that the quality of the evidence "hampered drawing firm conclusions." I can't imagine why Jefferson was so outraged at that. I never said Jefferson "worked" for Brownstone, I said he was an author there, which certainly appears to be true (2nd link). I usually think of "re-publications" as publishing something that was previously published by a recognized third party publication. His articles at Brownstone were originally self-published on his own substack, so they do not meet that criteria, and even if they did, he's the one who controls where they get published, and that choice is meaningful. I'm so glad Jefferson has no issue with me wearing a mask! I have no issue with the actual Cochrane review, only the misinterpretations which Cochrane appropriately clarified.



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Jefferson said, “There is just no evidence that they (masks) make any difference. Full stop.” The problem with this statement is that it's so broad. Makes no difference for what? Transmission? Severe disease? Death? At the individual level or population level? Cloth masks, surgical masks, or N-95? Masks worn correctly at all times or masks worn correctly only some of the time? Masks worn in crowds always or only some of the time.? The Cochrane review, if read in its entirety, does not lead one to conclude that masks are completely ineffective in protecting individuals from Covid when N-95's are worn correctly, full stop. (All but 2 of the studies were about the flu, or non-mask interventions. Flu and Covid are different in terms of how they are transmitted, and Covid is far more transmissible because it's aerosolized, while flu is not. There were NO studies of Covid in the review in which subjects were wearing N-95's and compliance was evaluated. ) As for bias, the same might be said of Jefferson, who is an author at the Brownstone Institute, which has argued against masks from the beginning of the pandemic. The link below is to a very thoughtful discussion by infectious disease experts on the nuances of the Cochrane review. I encourage anybody who is more vulnerable to severe Covid (due to age, comorbidities and/or immunosuppression) listen. After listening, I have concluded that there is not enough evidence to recommend mask mandates, especially since it would be a financial burden for many to purchase N-95's, but there is enough evidence to recommend that more vulnerable individuals continue to wear them inside when in crowds. Since I fall in such a group and my husband is even more vulnerable, we will continue to wear N-95's indoors in crowds. As my favorite infectious disease doc, Monica Gandhi says, "The less inoculum, the better!"


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