Unfortunately this is enough for the virtue signallers to pounce on and use "even if masks have a 1% chance of working..."
I wish we had just ONE credible journalist in the UK who would directly put the ECDC (not exactly a cowboy organisation) technical report findings to Whitty or Vallance in a press conference and ask them do they have any better data at all and if so, where is it.
It might be a "real" thing, but just how significant is it?
Seems unlikely that anyone who is not (yet) coughing or sneezing would be transferring sufficient viral load to someone in a casual encounter in the street or in a shop to make that person ill.
Viral load was found to be highest 24-48 hours before the onset of symptoms and dropped off considerably after they started.
Actual studies have found varying figures for transmission from 46-62% SG and CN( Euro Surveill),35% (Johansson), 15% (Zhang) and so on.
So yes, pre-symptomatic (as opposed to true asymptomatic) transmission does occur and this is no different to other HCoVs and even Influenza.
Thats different to the casual encounter in the street or a shop where even full on symptomatic is unlikely to pass it on. Totally different debate.
Its a common government tactic, to blend in pre-symptomatic spread (which does happen) with catching it from someone else in all settings. In reality, the two aren't connected.
....and there is no data that masks do anything at all on top of all that.
The SPI-B playbook always seems to be (i) start with a truth (ii) create a scenario (iii) link these 2 things despite there being no supporting data then (iv) issue a restriction or NPI which has no supporting data to this unsupported scenario.
It contains just enough plausibility that people don't dig deep for actual supporting data.