A non-peer reviewed article has appeared in a journal claiming that masks cause physical and mental harm to their wearers. The article lists over twenty negative health outcomes purportedly caused by mask wearing. The article is circulating widely on social media and fake news sites, shared by anti-vaccine, anti-government, and conspiracy groups as a “study” that validates anti-mask beliefs. There is scientific consensus that mask wearing is an essential, simple, and safe measure to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and other diseases transmissible by air / respiratory droplets. Misappropriating valid scientific terms and phrases, such as using the term “study” in reference to an article without peer review, is a common tactic employed by anti-vaccine and conspiracy groups. The tactic is used to create a false equivalence between unscientific and scientific arguments.
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