COVID and masks

Masks were once confined to those celebrating Halloween or as historical notes about historic plagues. But they returned to command our awareness in the Age of COVID. There are differences of opinion on how efficacious they are: the overall benefit versus how much damage they might have done. A new study speaks to their physiologic harms.
That's a good question. Masks remain one of the non-pharmaceutical means of controlling the spread of infection. But how effective has COVID masking been in practice?
The New York Times devoted most of an opinion column to this ill-posed question. That's because concerning an airborne virus such as COVID-19, there are more relevant questions: How do masks work? When should they be used?
As another wave of infections washes across the land, and officials call for or against the non-pharmacologic interventions (NPI) a new battle is being waged. Do these interventions work? Where is the science to follow? Let’s ignore your favorite expert or talking head; I’ll report, you decide.