A new peer-reviewed study published in Cureus Journal of Medical Science on April 19 titled ‘Correlation Between Mask Compliance and COVID-19 Outcomes in Europe’ has found that even widespread use of face masks did not correlate with better COVID-19 outcomes, based on data from 35 European countries encompassing a total of 602 million people.
The study noted that the average proportion of mask usage in the period investigated (October 2020 until March 2021) was 60.9% ± 19.9%.
Governments and advisory bodies often mandated the wearing of face masks in public spaces. In many areas, mandates or recommendations remain in place, despite the fact, the study notes, that randomized controlled trials from prior to and during the pandemic have failed to show a benefit to the wearing of such masks with regard to virus transmission.
“Positive correlation between mask usage and cases was not statistically significant,” the study also found, “while the correlation between mask usage and deaths was positive and significant (rho = 0.351, p = 0.039).” That is to say, more mask usage correlated with a higher COVID-19 death rate.
The study used a variety of statistical methods to study correlation but “none of these tests provided negative correlations between mask usage and cases/deaths … Surprisingly, weak positive correlations were observed when mask compliance was plotted against morbidity (cases/million) or mortality (deaths/million) in each country.”
“Moreover,” the study concludes, “the moderate positive correlation between mask usage and deaths in Western Europe also suggests that the universal use of masks may have had harmful unintended consequences.”