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Covid-19: What Sweden taught Scandinavia for the second wave

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m4456 (Published 27 November 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4456

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Masks and Swedes - Re: Covid-19: What Sweden taught Scandinavia for the second wave

Dear Editor,

I'm a bit baffled by the quote:

“It is an extremely effective and inexpensive measure, while at the same time being simple, and the majority of studies have shown how effective it is,” he told The BMJ. “It’s unclear why this measure shouldn’t be taken.”

For the first part - "extremely effective"? - evidence is nil or inconclusive at best, for the second part - "inexpensive " ? - downsides have been largely ignored in studies / policies to date, let alone the long term psychological, cultural, social impacts. That seems enough to acknowledge Sweden's PHA 'holistic view', evidence/risk -based choice. It seems that people are adamant - or naive - to keep on coalescing health-care / nursing setting and community setting into the same thing: 'if it works in the former then it must work in the latter as well'.
So either 'masks do work' or 'masks dont work' whereas it is 'they work well in niche settings, not so in the general community settings' especially outdoor - helmets are good against rocks in the mine (high risk), less so for neutrinos showers from the Sun (nil risk).
E.g.:
https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/full/10.7326/m20-3213
https://theconversation.com/face-masks-cut-disease-spread-in-the-lab-but...
https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.16.20133207v1
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7476564/
https://www.fhi.no/en/publ/2020/Should-individuals-in-the-community-with...
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7112701/
https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m3511.short
https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/full/10.7326/M20-5008
https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/332293 (HC settings vs 'general public' sections)

Competing interests: No competing interests

27 November 2020
Mark Dublin
sw engineer
none
Ireland