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Opinion

The Dangers of Masks – Paul E Alexander MSc PhD, AIER

Emergent reports, albeit nascent and anecdotal but nevertheless vitally important (and will be clarified and defined in time) regarding the manufacture of masks, where, “many of them (face masks) are made of polyester, so you have a microplastic problem…many of the face masks would contain polyester with chlorine compounds…if I have the mask in front of my face, then of course I inhale the microplastic directly and these substances are much more toxic than if you swallow them, as they get directly into the nervous system.”

There are also reports of toxic mould, fungi, and bacteria that can pose a significant threat to the immune system by potentially weakening it. Of particular concern to us is the recent report of breathing in synthetic fibers in the face masks. This is of serious concern. “Loose particulate was seen on each type of mask. Also, tight and loose fibers were seen on each type of mask. If every foreign particle and every fiber in every facemask is always secure and not detachable by airflow, then there should be no risk of inhalation of such particles and fibers. However, if even a small portion of mask fibers is detachable by inspiratory airflow, or if there is debris in mask manufacture or packaging or handling, then there is the possibility of not only entry of foreign material to the airways, but also entry to deep lung tissue, and potential pathological consequences of foreign bodies in the lungs.” 

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Publications

Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Children and Their Parents in Southwest Germany – JAMA Pediatrics

The low seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in young children in this study may indicate that they do not play a key role in SARS-CoV-2 spreading during the current pandemic.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2775656

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News

Children did NOT play a key role in spreading coronavirus during the first wave of the pandemic and are ‘unlikely’ to have boosted infection numbers, study finds – Daily Mail

  • German researchers enrolled nearly 2,500 parents and their children in a study 
  • Found three times as many adults had coronavirus antibodies than children
  • Data also shows a previously infected adult and an uninfected child was 4.3 times more common than a previously infected child and an uninfected parent

Children are unlikely to have played a significant role in the spread of coronavirus during the first wave last year, a study shows.

Throughout the pandemic it has become increasingly evident children are less affected by Covid-19; symptoms, severe disease and death figures in children are all much lower than would be expected when compared to the rest of the population. 

Figures from Public Health England (PHE) show the current risk of dying from coronavirus if infected is 1,513 per 100,000 people for over-80s, but for children aged five to nine, this is just 0.1 per 100,000. 

https://web.archive.org/web/20210122182806/https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-9176751/Children-NOT-play-key-role-spreading-coronavirus.html

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Publications

Assessment of Maternal and Neonatal SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load, Transplacental Antibody Transfer, and Placental Pathology in Pregnancies During the COVID-19 Pandemic – JAMA

Conclusions and Relevance  In this cohort study, there was no evidence of placental infection or definitive vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Transplacental transfer of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was inefficient. Lack of viremia and reduced coexpression and colocalization of placental angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 and transmembrane serine protease 2 may serve as protective mechanisms against vertical transmission.

https://web.archive.org/web/20201222162005/https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2774428

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Publications

Comparison of Clinical Features of COVID-19 vs Seasonal Influenza A and B in US Children – JAMA

No statistically significant differences in the rates of hospitalization, admission to the intensive care unit, and mechanical ventilator use between children with COVID-19 and those with seasonal influenza.

Question  What are the similarities and differences in clinical features between coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and seasonal influenza in US children?

Findings  In this cohort study of 315 children with COVID-19 and 1402 children with seasonal influenza, there were no statistically significant differences in the rates of hospitalization, admission to the intensive care unit, and mechanical ventilator use between the 2 groups. More patients with COVID-19 than with seasonal influenza reported fever, diarrhea or vomiting, headache, body ache, or chest pain at the time of diagnosis.

Meaning  The findings suggest that prevention of both COVID-19 and seasonal influenza in US children is prudent and urgent for the well-being of this population.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2770250

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Publications

Surgical Mask vs N95 Respirator for Preventing Influenza Among Health Care Workers – JAMA (2009)

Surgical masks and N95 respirators are not effective at preventing the flu. Of the 446 nurses who took part in this study, nearly one in four (24%) in the surgical mask group still got the flu as did 23% of those who wore the N95 respirator.

Influenza infection occurred in 50 nurses (23.6%) in the surgical mask group and in 48 (22.9%) in the N95 respirator group (absolute risk difference, −0.73%; 95% CI, −8.8% to 7.3%; P = .86), the lower confidence limit being inside the noninferiority limit of −9%.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/184819