The analysis identified 72 studies that might potentially have provided evidence on the effectiveness of masks, social distancing and hand washing. Of those, just six (not eight, 30 or 72) were sufficiently relevant — and of sufficient quality — that they could provide any useful information on mask efficacy. And how reliable were the six? Four were assessed to have a moderate risk of bias, and two to have a serious or critical risk.
Medical and scientific experts now agree that bacteria, not influenza viruses, were the greatest cause of death during the 1918 flu pandemic.
…That pneumonia causes most deaths in an influenza outbreak is well known. Late 19th century physicians recognised pneumonia as the cause of death of most flu victims. While doctors limited fatalities in other 20th-century outbreaks with antibiotics such as penicillin, which was discovered in 1928, but did not see use in patients until 1942.
…McCullers’ research suggests that influenza kills cells in the respiratory tract, providing food and a home for invading bacteria. On top of this, an overstressed immune system makes it easier for the bacteria to get a foothold.
Trials of experimental coronavirus vaccines are already under way, but it’s still likely to be years before one is ready and vaccination may not even be possible
It is far from guaranteed that the vaccine will be safe and effective. 2013 study calculated that, before entering clinical trials, the average experimental vaccine has a 6 per cent chance of ultimately reaching the market. Of those that make it into trials, a 2019 analysis suggests the probability of success is 33.4 per cent.