by Dr. Joseph Mercola
March 31, 2023
Watch far below
Op-Ed Criticizes the Cochrane Mask Review - A New Low for Evidence
2023 study published in the Cochrane Database of
Systematic Reviews found wearing masks "makes little or
no difference" in COVID-19 transmission
New York Times got involved and columnist Zeynep Tufekci
published an opinion piece titled, "Here's Why the
Science Is Clear That Masks Work," in rebuttal - and
reached out to Cochrane
Cochrane's editor in chief released a statement about
the study, stating the implication "masks don't work" is
an "inaccurate and misleading interpretation," and they
were calling on the authors to change the study's
summary and abstract
study's authors were blindsided by the statement, and
the lead author reiterated, "There is just no evidence
that they [masks] make any difference. Full stop"
2006, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave a
$1.15-million grant to Cochrane, which subsequently
published controversial and heavily criticized research
in favor of HPV vaccines, which Gates has widely
The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) has long been
considered a gold standard in research, as its reviews take into
account all available empirical evidence to reach conclusions about
any given topic.
A systematic review is essentially a "study of
studies," which can generate,
"authoritative and reliable
Their reviews are then updated every few years to ensure they
reflect the latest research 2 and are considered valuable
decision-making tools for researchers, health care workers and
policy makers alike.
Unfortunately, Cochrane's unbiased reputation has been tarnished,
and its editor in chief, Karla Soares-Weiser, appears to have
out to the mainstream narrative, going so far as to throw her own
researchers under the bus in the process.
It all stems back to a
on masks - one of the most controversial topics of the
Review Finds Masks Are Worthless
A team of researchers led by Tom Jefferson of the University of
Oxford has been studying,
"interventions for the interruption or
reduction of the spread of respiratory viruses" since 2006.
Beginning in 2010, they began focusing on "physical interventions," including,
screening at entry ports
glasses and gargling,
...to prevent respiratory
virus transmission. 3
The review was updated in 2011, 2020 and again in 2023. 4
update added 11 new randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and cluster-RCTs,
six of which were conducted during the
COVID-19 'pandemic', for a
total number of 78 RCTs reviewed.
In terms of medical and
surgical masks, the team found "moderate-certainty evidence" that
they're useless compared to no masks: 5
"Wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no
difference to the outcome of influenza-like illness (ILI)/COVID-19
like illness compared to not wearing masks...
Wearing masks in the
community probably makes little or no difference to the outcome of
laboratory-confirmed influenza/SARS-CoV-2 compared to not wearing
Even in the case of N95
and P2 respirators, no clear benefit was found.
In the study's plain
language summary, it's noted: 6
"Four studies were in healthcare workers, and one small study was in
Compared with wearing medical or surgical masks,
N95/P2 respirators probably makes little to no difference in
how many people have confirmed flu (5 studies; 8407 people); and may
make little to no difference in how many people catch a flu-like
illness (5 studies; 8407 people), or respiratory illness (3 studies;
Editor Calls Mask Study 'Inaccurate and Misleading'
During the 'pandemic', you may remember,
magical thinking relating to
masks created one of the most polarized debates in U.S. history and
led to "anti-maskers" being labeled as "grandma killers."
can imagine the uproar when Cochrane released its findings.
True to form, The New York Times got involved and columnist
Tufekci published an opinion piece titled, "Here's Why the Science
Is Clear That Masks Work," 8 in rebuttal and a video rebuttal that
you can view below:
"Tufekci argued that despite no high-quality data, we could
conclude, based on poor evidence, that masks do work," Maryanne Demasi, Ph.D., a former medical scientist with the University of
Adelaide and former reporter for ABC News in Australia, reported on
reached out to Cochrane for comment, and presumably, pressured
Cochrane into publishing a statement on its website." 9
In the statement, Soares-Weiser, Cochrane's editor in chief, stated
the finding that,
"masks don't work" is an "inaccurate and misleading
interpretation," and they were "engaging with the review authors
with the aim of updating the Plain Language Summary and abstract."
"Cochrane's statement was interpreted widely as an 'apology,' and in
some cases, tweeters 11 believed the review was 'retracted,'" Demasi
Authors: We Don't
Change Reviews Based on 'What Media Wants'
Demasi spoke with lead author Jefferson about the unexpected
"It was upsetting," Jefferson said.
"Cochrane has thrown
its own researchers under the bus again. The apology issued by
Cochrane is from Soares-Weiser, not from the authors of the review."
Demasi also interviewed
Jefferson after the mask study was initially published, and he was
clear about its findings, stating,
"There is just no
evidence that they make any difference. Full stop." 14
Noting that there wasn't
much change in the findings from the 2020 review to 2023, Jefferson
said the study was ready to be released in early 2020, as the
'pandemic' was starting,
"but Cochrane held it
up for seven months before it was finally published in November
2020. Those seven months were crucial. During that time, it was
when policy about masks was being formed.
Our review was
important, and it should have been out there." 15
He believes that Cochrane
intentionally delayed publication of the mask study until it could
massage the results to fit with the narrative that masks work: 16
"For some unknown reason, Cochrane decided it needed an 'extra'
And then they forced us to insert unnecessary text
phrases in the review like 'this review doesn't contain any covid-19
trials,' when it was obvious to anyone reading the study that the
cut-off date was January 2020.
...During those 7 months, other researchers at Cochrane produced some
unacceptable pieces of work, using unacceptable studies, that gave
the 'right answer'."
This time around,
Jefferson and colleagues don't intend to let Cochrane bully them
into changing their study results to appease the media.
He told Demasi: 17
"We've decided that we are going to write to Cochrane leadership and
complain about the way this has been handled...
In this instance,
Soares-Weiser has gone outside the normal channels and made
decisions without any consultation with the authors of the review.
It is unacceptable.
...I will also contact the New York Times about the article where Tufekci used her platform to attack my credibility. She mentioned my
name six times in her piece, despite there being multiple authors on
the Cochrane review.
She has no track record of publishing original research on acute
respiratory illnesses, and it appears that if she does not like
what's in the review, it's open season on the scientists...
the copyright holders of the review, so we decide what goes in or
out of the review. We do not change our reviews on the basis of what
the media wants."
Crushed Under Weight of Bill Gates' Money
When you're one of the richest people in the world, you can buy
virtually anything you want - including control of the media and
In the past, the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation (BMGF)
funded the placement of "educational" messages in popular TV shows
such as "ER," "Law & Order: SVU," and "Private
Practice," including topics such as HIV prevention, surgical safety
and the spread of infectious diseases, i.e., vaccinations. 18
In 2006, the
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) also gave a
$1.15-million grant to Cochrane to,
"support the development of
Cochrane's next generation evidence system, with a specific focus on
maternal and child health... a major component of Cochrane's wider
technology development program designed to address the challenge
of ever-increasing health data." 19
As for why BMGF and other
foundations that funded Cochrane may have been interested in this
venture, Children's Health Defense reported: 20
"[T]he foundations' targeted pots of money appear to be helping
Cochrane build a 'next-generation evidence system' that will use
technological advances and machine learning to maximize the impact
of 'Big Data.'
Vaccination is one of the policy arenas where
the rollout of Big Data is being most enthusiastically embraced,
with researchers acclaiming Big Data's potential to streamline
the delivery of 'rationally designed vaccines' and to 'track the
success of vaccination campaigns'...
BMGF is actively promoting Big Data as a vaccination tool in the
developing world, where it can 'track 'pandemic's' and help vaccine
workers 'determine what percent of a region they have immunized from
In 2018, a Cochrane review of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
was heavily criticized for conflicts of interest of the authors,
including Dr. Lauri Markowitz,
a CDC employee involved in the HPV
In a BMJ rapid response, it was further noted,
"The Bill and Melinda
Gates Foundation has been very influential in promoting HPV
vaccination. In regards to the Cochrane HPV vaccine review, Cochrane
has a conflict of interest in that it is a beneficiary of Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation funding." 22
Children's Health Defense
"A... Cochrane review highly favorable to the human
vaccine - one of the most disastrous vaccines ever rushed onto the
market - suggests that the foundations are getting plenty of bang
for their charitable buck.
Despite ample indications that manufacturers used phony placebos and
other statistical gimmicks to hide the serious risks of HPV
vaccines, and mounting evidence of other 'deceptive practices...'
[the review] of HPV vaccines reported no increased risk of serious
adverse effects and concluded that deaths reported in HPV studies
'have been judged not to be related to the vaccine.'
conclusions likely were well received by... BMGF, which has
supported the HPV vaccine's introduction around the world."
Founder Thrown Out for Not Following Vax Dogma
Suffice to say,
even "gold-standard" research organizations like
Cochrane have been infiltrated by globalists looking to further
their world domination narrative - mask-wearing included. If there
were any doubt, consider the story of professor Dr. Peter Gøtzsche,
a Danish physician-researcher who co-founded the Cochrane
Collaboration in 1993.
Cochrane's reputation remained remarkably unblemished all the way up
until 2018, when Gøtzsche and Cochrane-affiliated researchers Lars Jørgensen and
- of the featured mask study - published a
scathing critique of Cochrane's review of the HPV vaccine, pointing
out methodological flaws and conflicts of interest. 24
Gøtzsche was subsequently expelled by the Cochrane governing board,
with the board insisting his removal was due to,
"repeated misuse of
official letterhead to espouse personal views" and not due to his
criticism of Cochrane's HPV review. 25
Four board members,
Dr. Gerald Gartlehner, David Hammerstein Mintz, Joerg Meerpohl and Nancy
...resigned in protest of Gotzsche's
removal from the governing board. 26
As it stands, Demasi suggests Cochrane may be a sinking ship, one
that's continuing its tradition of succumbing to pressure over
controversial scientific conclusions, even if they're sound.
Jefferson, meanwhile, told Demasi
that the editor's attack on the mask study may backfire: 27
"I think Soares-Weiser has made a colossal mistake.
It sends the
message that Cochrane can be pressured by reporters to change their
People might think, if they don't like what they read in a
Cochrane review because it contradicts their dogma, then they can
compel Cochrane to change the review.
It has set a dangerous