MASK WEARING: "FULL OF RISKS" Dr. James Meehan: We've been studying this issue for over thirty years, with regard to the transmission of influenza in the population. One of the reasons that we have never recommended the community wearing of medical masks is because it's been shown in the highest levels of science--meta-analysis of randomized control trials--to not be effective. . . . In this issue of community wearing of medical masks, we have not done a fair risk analysis for the population. We have not informed them that the mask can block arterial oxygen, it can block oxygen intake significantly--that's been demonstrated in experiments all over the world. It's been studied in surgeons, in an optimal environment where there's a higher level of oxygen in the operating suite, higher [air] exchange. I've worn a medical mask in surgical procedures over 10,000 times, and I can tell you that they do induce physiologic changes. I'll start to develop a tremor after about thirty minutes of mask wear, in that high air exchange, higher oxygen level, cool environment. Imagine what untrained members of our community are doing when they are wearing them in the Oklahoma summer, and they're climbing a 25-foot ladder to fix a flare furnace or something. And I can tell you what happens because, less than two weeks ago, my executive assistant's fiance was forced to wear a medical mask by his employer. He was 25 foot up on a ladder climb, he got dizzy, and he fell 25 foot, and he is now in the hospital [with numerous severe injuries]. So this is a very important intitiative by this group to protect the community from a medical intervention that is poorly conceived. It is full of risks, risks that include blocking oxygen to the brain, in a way that could cause an employee to pass out, become dizzy, experience headaches, anxiety, irritability, sleeplessness, restlessness. These are all well known risks, that have been well studied, and they're not being discussed in the risk analysis. I've seen patients that have facial rashes, fungal infections, bacterial infections. Reports coming from my colleagues all over the world are suggesting that the bacterial pneumonias are on the rise. Why might that be? Because untrained members of the public are wearing medical masks repeatedly, in a non-sterile fashion.