Let’s do a COVID study

Despite many scientific studies showing the benefit of wearing masks and following CDC COVID guidelines, some individuals still maintain that masks and distancing are not only a sign of weakness and a threat to freedom, but that masks are useless and could even be dangerous. So let us put the CDC protocol to the ultimate test: a controlled trial.

The concept would be to enroll two groups of people with similar demographics whose work involves close contact with individuals inside and outside their team — like those running for high public office. One group (the treatment group) would pursue mask wearing and social distancing and the other (control) group would spurn these purported protective measures. The independent variable (endpoint) would be the number of cases of coronavirus generated by each group after one month. As with most controlled studies, this study would be stopped early if there was overwhelming evidence of the benefit to those in the treatment arm or danger to the controls. There is enough of this robust virus circulating out there to assure some exposure to both study arms. Given what we know now, this study will stop far short of its completion date.

The only possible snag will be to find a control group of misguided and reckless individuals who would be willing to mingle, mask-less, often in close quarters with others and at public gatherings. Anyone knowing of such a group, please notify Dr. Anthony Fauci at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

John C. Hobbins, M.D., Key West and Denver

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