Dr Axon said that medics were “unable to comprehend” the miniscule elements at play, adding: “A Covid viral particle is around 100 nanometres, material gaps in blue surgical masks are up to 1,000 times that size, cloth mask gaps can be 5,000 times the size.”
Dr Axon, whose report on ventilation in supermarkets was used by both Nervtag and Sage to aid decisions, says that medics “cannot have it both ways” over asymptomatic spread.
He added: “Not everyone carrying Covid is coughing, but they are still breathing, those aerosols escape masks and will render the mask ineffective.”
Droplets from coughs are much larger, and more likely to be stopped by a properly used mask, Dr Axon says. An Oxford study last summer concluded that masks were “effective” in reducing the spread of the virus.
‘We are entrenching bad behaviour’
However, other studies have cast doubt on their effectiveness. A subsequent Danish study involving 6,000 people concluded that there was no statistical difference in infection spread in non-wearers, while data on US states with non-mandated usage failed to show a correlated uptick in cases.
“The public were demanding something must be done, they got masks, it is just a comfort blanket,” Dr Axon noted. “But now it is entrenched, and we are entrenching bad behaviour.
“All around the world you can look at mask mandates and superimpose on infection rates, you cannot see that mask mandates made any effect whatsoever.
“The best thing you can say about any mask is that any positive effect they do have is too small to be measured.”
CLARIFICATION: This article has been amended to reflect that the gaps in some cloth masks are 5,000 not 500,000 times the size of viral Covid particles and to reflect that whilst Dr Axon has advised Sage and Nervtag on ventilation, he is not currently a Sage adviser.