“Not everyone carrying Covid is coughing, but they are still breathing, those aerosols escape masks and will render the mask ineffective.”

Dr. Colin Axon, an advisor to the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), has said the public have been presented with a “cartoonish” view of how particles move through the air, and that most masks “can catch droplets and sputum from a cough but what is important is that SARS CoV-2 is predominantly distributed by tiny aerosols.”

“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 500,000 times the size,” Axon, an expert in ventilation, told the Telegraph.

Medics, he claimed, are “unable to comprehend” such miniscule particles, and have a “cartoonised view of how particles move through the air – it’s not their fault, it’s not their domain – they’ve got a cartoonish view of how the world is.”

“Once a particle is not on a biological surface it is no longer a biomedical issue, it is simply about physics,” he explained.

“The public has only a partial view of the story if information only comes from one type of source. Medics have some of the answers but not a whole view.

“When the particle enters another body it returns to a biomedical issue but the mask debate is about the particle journey.”

A senior lecturer in engineering at Brunel University, Dr. Axon said that whilst the sizes are not easy to understand, “an imperfect analogy would be to imagine marbles fired at builders’ scaffolding, some might hit a pole and rebound, but obviously most will fly through.”

“Not everyone carrying Covid is coughing, but they are still breathing, those aerosols escape masks and will render the mask ineffective,” he insisted.

“The public were demanding something must be done, they got masks, it is just a comfort blanket. 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.”

The SAGE advisors’ views may explain why, in the first five months of the Covid-19 outbreak, the public were told not to wear masks unless they were symptomatic, with Irish advisors like Professor Luke O’Neill and US health chief Dr. Anthony Fauci telling the public it was unnecessary.

Fauci however eventually led changes to that policy in late 2020, telling the US public that a substantial amount of transmission was from asymptomatic people and that masks worked “outside of a hospital setting”.