The credibility of Cochrane reviews matters. One of their most important reviews, that I cite in my in-progress work on clinical trials, suggests that results of randomized double-blind clinical trials, usually agree with results of observational studies on the same topic. This matters a lot, because observational studies can give us more and quicker actionable results, saving lives.
(p. A23) Cochrane reviews are often referred to as gold standard evidence in medicine because they aggregate results from many randomized trials to reach an overall conclusion — a great method for evaluating drugs, for example, which often are subjected to rigorous but small trials. Combining their results can lead to more confident conclusions.
. . .
. . . what we learn from the Cochrane review is that, especially before the pandemic, distributing masks didn’t lead people to wear them, which is why their effect on transmission couldn’t be confidently evaluated.
For the full commentary, see:
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date March 10, 2023, and has the title “Here’s Why the Science Is Clear That Masks Work.”)