Letter to the Editor

By John C. Hobbins MD

Denver/Key West

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 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 (treatment group) would pursue mask wearing and social distancing and the other (control group) would spurn these protective measures. The independent variable (endpoint) would be the number of cases of coronavirus generated by each group after one month. There is enough of this robust virus out there to assure exposure to both study arms.  As with most controlled studies, this study would be stopped early if there is overwhelming evidence of benefit to those in the treatment arm or of danger to the controls. Given what we know now, this study could stop well 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, in close quarters with others in their team and at public gatherings. Anyone knowing of such a group, please notify Dr. Anthony Fauci at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.