Open Letter to Dr. Zweli Lawrence Mkhize: Stop Mask Mandates

Oct 28, 2020 | COVID-19

Dr. Zweli Lawrence Mkhize
South African Ministry of Health
Civitas Building, Floor 20,
cnr Struben and Thabo Sehume Streets,

Dear Dr. Zweli Lawrence Mkhize,

This letter is intended as a humble request to put an end to mandatory mask regulations in South Africa. The lack of convincing science to support widespread mask wearing combined with the potential negative health effects caused by prolonged wearing of cloth masks would indicate it unwise to continue to enforce mask wearing among the South African population.

Summary of the facts supporting the abolishment of mandatory masks:

  • In an April 2020 WHO document, it was stated that “the wide use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not supported by current evidence and carries uncertainties and critical risks.”[1]
  • There are no randomised controlled trials/policy grade research that has found masks to be effective at reducing the spread of influenza-like illness. In fact, studies indicate the opposite is true – masks are ineffective at preventing influenza-like illness.[2]
  • A meta-analysis published by the CDC examining the effectiveness of nonpharmaceutical interventions (including face masks) for pandemic influenza found that: “evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.”[3]
  • A ‘Rapid Expert Consultation on the Effectiveness of Fabric Masks for the COVID-19 Pandemic’ found it impossible to assess any level of benefit from the wearing of cloth face masks.[4]
  • An RCT study published in the British Medical Journal in 2014 found that wearing a cloth mask may increase your risk of illness due to moisture retention, reuse and poor filtration.[5]
  • A review published by Dr Carl Heneghan from the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine in July 2020, states that: “Masks alone have no significant effect in interrupting the spread of ILI or influenza in the general population, nor in healthcare workers.”[6]
  • Studies that support the wearing of masks are models that assume universality and full compliance.[7]

The potentially harmful effects of wearing masks (especially cloth masks) include making it harder to breathe, increased inhalation of carbon dioxide (and thus subsequent lowering of blood oxygen levels) and the creation of a humid environment for germs to incubate.[8]

This evidence coupled with the fact that we are no longer seeing any more excess mortality in South Africa would indicate it pertinent to put an end to all mandatory mask measures.

Yours sincerely,


1. WHO. Advice on the use of masks…

2. 10.13140/RG.2.2.25042.58569




6. CEBM. Masking lack of evidence with politics.

7. AAPS. Mask Facts.



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