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Were masks a waste of time? Experts advocated an intervention they once thought useless

Irresistible hygiene theatre. Credit: Chris McGrath/Getty

Irresistible hygiene theatre. Credit: Chris McGrath/Getty


February 7, 2022   6 mins

Last summer, as the Delta wave was upending hopes that widespread vaccination would end the pandemic, several Democratic-run cities and states in America reintroduced the mask mandates they had ditched earlier in the year. A few other blue states and cities, notably New York, as well as many Republican-led states and municipalities, opted not to require masking again at that point.

This policy divergence created an opportunity to examine the impact of mask mandates. Those areas that rescinded their mandates could function as control groups for evaluating the effect of the policy on cases and mortality. But neither public health experts nor any of the major media outlets took up this opportunity. The reason, most of them would likely have said if pressed on the subject, was there was nothing to learn: “the science” was settled.

For their part, critics of masking and other Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) typically relied on principled assertions of freedom. This gave them little reason to examine the evidentiary basis of these policies, since they would have rejected them on moral grounds even if they worked. Only a few sceptical observers drilled into the data that could be found on sites such as the New York Times — even if the paper’s own reporters made little of it. The most prolific of these was Ian Miller, who over the past two years has published copious data-driven commentary on the track record of various Covid public health interventions.

Miller arrives time and again at the same conclusion: that the ad hoc pandemic mitigation policies rolled out since 2020 have systematically failed to achieve goals. Miller has now compiled one subset of his graphs and commentaries into a book titled Unmasked: The Global Failure of Covid Mask Mandates which focuses solely on the most ubiquitous pandemic containment strategy deployed by governments worldwide: masks.

The endorsement of masking by medical bodies and public health authorities worldwide, Miller shows, entailed the abandonment of a longstanding view that masks were a useless and even harmful intervention. Over the previous decades, numerous randomised controlled trials had assessed the efficacy of masks in controlling the spread of respiratory viruses like influenza, and pandemic simulations had evaluated their potential.

A document published by the World Health Organisation in 2019 framed the results of these studies in no uncertain terms: “there was no evidence that face masks are effective in reducing transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza”. It’s unsurprising, then, that when the CDC briefed reporters on the pandemic in February of 2020, masking was not even mentioned among the NPIs that might be deployed. The UK government, too, stated early in 2020 that there was no evidence to support masking.

After the CDC and other agencies revised their guidance in April 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci, by then a staunch advocate of masks, claimed that he and other officials had discouraged the public from obtaining masks to ensure there were adequate supplies for health care workers. Ever since, promoters of masking have cited Fauci’s “noble lie” to account for the abrupt reversal of prior guidance. But as Miller notes, it was not just during the early months of the pandemic that officials said masks were ineffective. They had said so for years, and Fauci had advised against masks not just in public statements but in private emails in early 2020.

In light of the earlier consensus, Miller’s findings in Unmasked should not be surprising. As we might have predicted based on a plethora of trials and meta-analyses published prior to the pandemic, mask mandates have had little to no demonstrable impact on curbing the spread of the virus. Miller reaches this conclusion by comparing areas with mask mandates of longer and shorter duration with each other and with areas that never imposed mandates at all. The results, he shows, simply do not support the standard adage that “masks save lives”.

For example, Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the US, imposed one of the earliest mask mandates in the United States, just after the CDC released its new guidance in early April 2020. By May, the county was requiring masks outdoors as well as indoors and enjoying 96-97% compliance. (It also imposed an array of other strict mitigation measures.) But it had case and mortality rates well above the national average throughout 2020 and 2021. LA currently ranks 3rd among California counties in its Covid death rate, faring worse than numerous counties with mask mandates of shorter duration and lower levels of compliance.

It’s possible to quibble with Miller’s methodology. As he readily acknowledges, we don’t know precisely how LA and other heavily masked areas would have fared against Covid in the absence of mandates, and the fact that mask mandates have tended to be deployed alongside social distancing and other NPIs muddies the water. Miller’s comparisons of LA’s outcomes with those of neighbouring Orange County, which has had no mask mandate since last year but has had lower case and death rates, seem rather conclusive, but a sceptic might note confounding variables such as demographic differences, population density, and so on.

Such criticisms would be more damaging to Miller’s case if the officials and experts who have embraced mask mandates were more modest in their own assertions. Not only did they jettison years of prior research pointing to the minimal efficacy of masking, they also made empirically indefensible claims that masks alone could end the pandemic.

For instance, Miller compiles the astonishing claims made by Dr. Robert Redfield, who directed the CDC until just a year ago. In September 2020, Redfield described masks as “the most powerful public health tool we have”, claimed they offered “more Covid protection than vaccines would”, and stated: “If we [wore masks] for 6, 8, 10, 12 weeks, we’d bring this pandemic under control.” While they may not rule out some small effects of masking, Miller’s charts expose claims such as Redfield’s as delusional propaganda.

Likewise, those sceptical of what Miller’s comparative graphs can teach us should be even more suspicious of the shoddy studies published by the CDC over the past two years. For example, one study claimed to show a decline in Covid cases in certain Arizona counties as a result of mask mandates. But it failed to note that cases declined at a similar rate over the same period in Arizona counties without a mandate. In the months following the completion of the study, moreover, cases rose well above prior levels in counties with mandates still in place. Such studies produced a mirage of success by limiting the period of study, conflating correlation and causation, and avoiding comparisons with non-mandate counties.

The most disastrous failing of the experts has been their lack of curiosity about the actual results of the policies they have staked their reputations on. Mask mandates have been, in Miller’s phrase, “a population-wide experiment”, but few within the US scientific and medical establishment have seemed interested in parsing the resulting data, leaving that task to outsiders like Miller. Astonishingly, there have been just two randomised controlled trials on masking published since the pandemic began. One found no significant effect at all, while the other found a small effect of 11% for surgical masks and no significant effect for cloth ones. The first was largely ignored or dismissed, while the second was optimistically glossed as proving that masks work.

Moreover, even the most bullish case for the technical efficacy of at least some higher-quality masks does not constitute a case for mask mandates, a distinction that most commentary elides. The only way to measure the efficacy of mandates is to look at their actual track record. This is what Miller has done, and the result, he argues, is clear: “mask mandates have demonstrated very little impact, if any, on case curves throughout the United States and in many other international locations.”

Miller is justifiably derisive about the experts who have oversold dubious policies at every turn, but the ironic implication of his book is that much of the expert guidance from prior to 2020 has been vindicated. Before Covid appeared, scientists and officials advised time and again that masks would be ineffective at containing a pandemic respiratory virus, and the evidence Miller has compiled suggests they were correct.

Two years into the pandemic, the experts are now the last to acknowledge the accuracy of their earlier predictions. This raises the question of why they changed course and sacrificed their own credibility in the process. Miller confines himself to the data, and if there’s a limitation to his book, it’s that he does not offer any compelling explanation of why the expert class threw itself a policy it once regarded as worse than useless.

It is not difficult to see why mask mandates proved irresistible to politicians. Masks are the perfect form of hygiene theatre, conveying an intuitive sense of safety regardless of demonstrable efficacy at scale. They also offload responsibility for controlling the pandemic to ordinary people. The overcrowding of ICUs can be blamed on the bad behavior of “anti-maskers”, rather than on the allocation of resources by governments and hospital CEOs. When cases and deaths spike, it is the fault of the citizenry, not the leadership.

The scientific and medical establishment’s uncritical support of masks and other dubious policies is just the latest manifestation of its lack of independence from political imperatives. After several years of finding themselves at the receiving end of rhetorical assaults from rising Right-wing populists, the experts seized on the pandemic as an opportunity to reassert their own status and authority — and that of the liberal-technocratic politicians with whom they are largely aligned.

In the long run, however, the temporary political advantages they gained from this will be outweighed by the discrediting effect of their embrace of censorship, propaganda, and rule by decree. Making us all put masks on was the expert class’s mask-off moment — and what we can see now isn’t pretty.


Geoff Shullenberger is managing editor of Compact.

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Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago

I have to congratulate the author on this article. A brilliant summary of Miller’s book, the issues and the data. Miller, of course, is absolutely spot on, as is evident to anybody who bothers to open their eyes to the actual data. Indeed, just a comparison of the daily deaths per capita and daily cases per capita between North and South Dakota, two states with very similar demographics, population density, etc: North Dakota had mask mandates and other restrictions; South Dakota had nothing. The result: the curves for daily deaths and daily cases per capita in the two states are quantitatively superimposable.

Last edited 2 years ago by Johann Strauss
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

These particular topics always generate much heated debate, with many links posted and lofty assertions of fact based on selective readings of various documents by, in the main, laymen.

In the interests of detonating a small grenade, I would point out that Ian Miller, like most YouTube dissidents, has no pertinent qualifications, no organisational support to run the considerable analysis required to factor in all the variables and is presumably making a fair bit of cash off his book.

Common sense told me that the filthy rag I kept pulling in and out of my pocket, dropping on the floor, and putting down on various surfaces, wasn’t likely to be doing much good, but I figured if it made many people, who were genuinely frightened, feel a little bit better then it was a small price to pay. Making it a symbol of some bizarre freedom struggle felt rather OTT.

Last edited 2 years ago by Martin Bollis
Nick Wade
Nick Wade
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

If nothing else, this pandemic has taught us to be very sceptical of the “expert” class, weighing in to blow any argument away, solely with the weight of their own credentials. It has also shown us that intelligent people can become “citizen scientists” and read and work out stuff for themselves. They have often made fools of the experts. Einstein was a patent clerk when he formulated his relativity theory.

Last edited 2 years ago by Nick Wade
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

You are undoubtedly correct. Equally it has shown that anybody with a google search engine, and a YouTube account, can generate theories out of nothing.

Whether they do so out of genuine interest, political conviction, a desire for fame, or in the hope of cash, is as unknowable as the motives of the “elites.”

All I’m doing is pointing out these threads are always full of selective evidence seeking to rationalise an already held opinion (either way.)

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I have good reason to believe that discussions like this only reinforce already held opinions

Michael K
Michael K
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

You always have to question it if people are selling you on something very one-sided. However, in terms of general masking, there was so little afterthought that literally anything is plausible – even that the masks worsen COVID by allowing the viral particles to get deeper into your lungs.
Like you said above, wearing a dirty mask is obviously not going to help, but can it hurt? Yes, most definitely, and in so many ways.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

Exactly the point in the peer reviewed Danish study. Mask handling led to more illness.

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

That’s the point of them. To cause discomfort and dehumanise. That’s why Muslim men shroud “their” women in burkhas.

Rosalind Schogger
Rosalind Schogger
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

In 2020, having worn a clean mask solely for the dash in and out of a supermarket, I got a fungal infection on my chin. If that happened to me, a very healthy individual, what my have happened to others, as they breathed in carbon dioxide etc?

If Norman Tebbit refused to have ‘face covered’ individuals, into his surgery, how come this problem disappeared with Covid-19?

Last edited 2 years ago by Rosalind Schogger
Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Let me clear that up for you since you don’t get it. When the techocrats get the governmemt to lock us in our homes, shut our businesses, force us to wear masks, mandate injections of unknown ingredients… some us get very motivated to find out why. I call that a self preservation instinct.

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

The chief virtue of wiki-world: complete lack of editorial filters. The chief vice of wiki-world: complete lack of editorial filters.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Without knowing Ian personally, his ability to create numerous charts from the data shows some analytic skills. Further Ian has been posting those charts throughout the pandemic. If the charts he created are factual (my checks say they are), his analyses show the failure of most of the mitigations. The lockdown analysis by John Hopkins used statistical techniques to arrive at the same failure conclusion.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

The difference is that governments essentially junked the entire assumptions of a liberal society, not to mention all the established wisdom of how to address a pandemic, overnight in a state of panic (let us say charitably). Legal sanctions, fines and imprisonment were visited on the population by authoritarian government action, not by any ‘sceptical’ voices.
The fact that governments and public institutions can lie and even rewrite the past (such as on previous medical advice) with impunity is by far the most worrying thing to come out from this pandemic.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Fisher
rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

I think this from the article is important “scientific and medical establishment’s uncritical support of masks and other dubious policies is just the latest manifestation of its lack of independence from political imperatives”. Is there independent science?

Many on unherd would say no, but is it true? I try to avoid being sucked into conspiracy theories, but there needs to be an investigation to learn from the mask fiasco

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

To play devil’s advocate… some of the technocrats have stated the masks were useful to drive other policies. Citizens felt like they were in a dangerous pandemic. It could help drive vaccine uptake or other NPIs like lockdowns or track and trace. The noble lie. I really encourage people to read Laura Dodsworth’s State of Fear. People in the USA should get to know firms like the Fors Marsh group and Hill & Knowlton. Understanding the public campaign around messaging, nudging, behavioral modification strategies would clear up a lot of confusion.

Last edited 2 years ago by Dennis Boylon
Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

The revelation that experts had been biasing advice to worst case scenarios was also damaging.
Doing that in any similar scenario drawing situation is always questionable, but how much more so when it was the situation we have been in for the last two years. or so.
It was very poor and also damaged trust.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Yes perhaps, but what about MY feelings? Are they less worthy than the masked classes’? I must acquiesce in order to spare someone’s feelings, but my feeling are expendable.
Are we helping or enabling, then?

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Surely not the “my lived experience”
argument from you Andrea?

Are the feelings of the gender dysphoric less worthy than the cis classes? Must we make their feelings expendable?

Rightly or wrongly, many more people were genuinely concerned than were blasĂ©. It’s a utilitarian argument, but it’s reasonable to expect the minority to take into account the majority stance in any communal activity, such as shopping or using a public loo.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I was about to make the gender dysphoric example, but you beat me to it.
In conclusion, feelings are everything, while truth is expendable.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

And therein lies the nub. What is the truth?

The amount of data this thing has generated is colossal. Do I have the time or the expertise to make sense of it? Unlike many commenters on the Covid threads, my answer is a clear no.

Do I trust the establishment and big pharma? No.

Do I think the literally thousands of people involved in generating pandemic response measures of every type are all evil conspiracists in thrall to the architects of the great reset? No.

Are they capable of group think. Yes.

Will many have the moral strength to stand up if they really think conscious harm is being wrought? Yes

Are the garage based experts capable of coming up with better analysis of this volume of data? Possibly.

Am I in any better position to trust the motives and expertise of all the amateurs that have sprung up? No.

So commenting on this topic, in the vehement style so often adopted in these threads, can only possibly be an exercise in emotion.

One of the things I’ve found educative about Unherd is seeing people on “my” side using all the irrational, ad hominem and “you’re not just wrong you’re stupid/evil,” arguments I so abhor in the woke. These threads seem to highlight that tendency more than any other.

My little grenade has also demonstrated to me that down ticks are more fun than upticks, but I really do need to get on with my day

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I gave you an uptick
 I detected sarcasm!

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago

Thanks Lesley. Not entirely sarcasm, arguing is more stimulating than agreeing
 but I’m still failing to do something more useful with my day!

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I agree wholeheartedly with your comment except one point.
You say, “Will many have the moral strength to stand up if they really think conscious harm is being brought? Yes’
Not sure about that. It is true that I stopped wearing a mask for just over a week now (nobody has paid the slightest attention to it; not even a glance or a passing tut-tut), but I am in a small minority.
Pieces of cloth have been worn for over 18 months here and no explanation was given on their introduction (cases were at rock bottom then and there had been no deaths for weeks) or the condition for removing them. That was the day when I lost confidence in my devolved assembly.
They have been playing politic (or should I say “parlour”) games for years and they see that fear brings good returns when polling.
However I feel I have to make a small stand, insignificant though it might be, as I have had quite enough of the games.
There is a master design for a great reset? I don’t think so, but undoubtedly Covid is being milked to the last drop for political gain.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Thanks Andrea. I agree it’s being milked. It can only be milked because polls seem to continuously show support for “safety” measures. That’s starting to turn, I think, so hopefully the political response will follow.

On moral strength, I was thinking more of the thousands of scientists and assorted experts that have driven everything from mask wearing to vaccine development. There was an article on Unherd recently from a relevant professor making the case that the science isn’t settled. I don’t think the sheer numbers involved would have allowed a pure conspiracy without any basis in any science.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

The issue is the MSM which has not allowed for ANY debate to be had. If you contradict the dogma you are heretical and need to be erased (not unlike the trans “debate”).
Where I am (Scotland) we had the lovely Devi Sridhar advising the First Minister like she was the Archangel Gabriel telling the Virgin Mary about the birth of the Messiah. She has been the instigator of school closures, masks everywhere, zero covid and so on. Now she has been somewhat “discredited”, so she seems to keep a lower profile, but the damage is done (and the secondary school kids still have to go to school masked as have done since last August) as the people are by and large still in a trance. And it doesn’t help that Covid is conflated with separatism, but that’s another story.
Now the latest from the devolved administration is to chop the bottom of the doors off to improve air circulation in schools. One could NOT make it up. At least now she, the First Minister, is pretty much being ridiculed by everyone.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

On the miserable failings of the MSM we are in total agreement. Good to hear wee kranky is getting some come uppance!

Charles Gordon
Charles Gordon
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Ridiuled by everyone… If only!

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Gordon

Well, she got a fair amount of laughter thrown at her (and certainly a larger amount than usual). I am still to see a positive comment on that policy announcement.

stephen archer
stephen archer
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Wow, that’s a depressing tale. Devi Sridhar and her appointment as a public health specialist is just a symptom of the chronic sickness which Scotland has been afflicted with over the last 5-6 years. The current status with masks there, if I’m to believe you, is the classic example of the most damaging consequences of politicians playing the expert role when they have absolutely no authority for doing this although the experts who did a 180 degree turn concerning mask effectiveness at the start of the pandemic are the real culprits, purely out of not knowing what else to do. I’ve just booked my first trip back to Glasgow for two years, and coming from mask-free Sweden it’s not something I’m looking forward to.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  stephen archer

Personally I wouldn’t come, unless you had to.
Said that, my limited experience here in the central belt is that pretty much everyone is wearing a mask, but nobody seems to care if you don’t. I saw the other day a clip on FB from Dundee (about something totally unrelated) where they were showing people boarding a bus and every single one was maskless. OK, they were young, but still.

stephen archer
stephen archer
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I have an apartment that’s been lying empty for two years. It’s now or never and I’m assuming the golf courses will be mask-free.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Is the “ lovely” Devi Sridhar of the same ilk as Cambridge’s super star Priyamvada Gopal by any chance?

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
2 years ago

Was there ever anyone more profoundly stupid than “Professor” of Grievance Studies, the depthlessly ignorant and arrogant Priyamvada Gopal?

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Katy Hibbert

Not that I can recall. Frankly it just brings Cambridge’s name into disrepute, employing such a contentious individual.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Have you explored the WEF Great Reset web pages? Please do, then tell me there isn’t at least a concerted and coordinated effort, if not quite a “master design.”

Alex Stonor
Alex Stonor
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I absolutely agree about the muck slinging…ugh. I disagree with the argument that most will have the moral strength to stand up if they believe harm is being done. Serious, unfixable harm has been done, especially in the silent corners where children, the disabled and the old live. People knew/know that care homes are still operating like prisons and yet it is considered necessary to stop the spread of covid. Cognitive dissonance, prejudice & bias are very weakening to the knees.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

You don’t need a conspiracy. You just need a journalist class with stock portfoilios that all bought stock in drug companies, and stand to make a few thousand dollars if only they can get everybody vaccinated. Which they may believe is a good idea, anyway … as Samuel Pepys wondered, is it really a bribe if I was going to vote that way anyway? If I didn’t know how much the ‘gift’ would be worth until after I voted?
Corruption is so much easier now.

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago

No, I don’t believe that. A much more likely explanation is that they are interested in clicks, so they peddle whatever story is more likely to generate a bigger interaction (a bit like UnHerd does with these posts 😀 ).

Tom May
Tom May
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I am sorry that just doesn’t make sense. Downticks are more fun than upticks? Really? I am not sure that I feel that I am having more fun when I decide that I agree with someone’s point as opposed to disagree.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom May

The covid threads are always the ones that excite the most vehement debates. Overwhelming they anti vax, anti lockdown, anti any other risk reduction interventions. The implicit assumption is that governments (including the thousands of normal people who generate the data on what they base decisions) are devious liars with an agenda, whilst odd blokes on the internet are entirely trustworthy.

I’ve tended to steer clear of these debates because, as I stated, the issue is so big,the sources of info so varied, it tends to become just tribal quite quickly.

Posting a contra view, on a subject sure to be explosive, was bound to create a reaction. Some responses made me think about my stance, some exposed me to a couple of angles I hadn’t thought of, and it filled a morning with some mental gymnastics I wouldn’t have had if I’d ignored it or gone with the Herd (with whom I’m more often in agreement.)

It also sorted the debaters from the numpties in one thread, which is useful for future reference.

Hence more fun, and 88 down ticks and counting must be getting close to a record 🙂

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Very well said.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

“And therein lies the nub. What is the truth?”
The totality of instances satisfying the Tarskian truth schema for any given proposition p.
T: “p” is true if and only if p.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Regarding moral strength, the way researchers who a few days before were saying they thought it was a lab leak fell in line when their funding source, Fauci, told them to say “natural origin” tells me that moral strength is in very short supply.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

‘Will many have the moral strength to stand up if they really think conscious harm is being wrought? Yes’
While I agree with you on the other points you made, I do not agree with you on that one!

Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Conforming to mass hysteria is not the answer for me. ‘It’s easier just to go along with it’ never ends well- at some point you have to make a stand. Or where does it end?

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago

His argument boils down to … it is impossible to know everything for certain so why bother. It is a shallow argument.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

Well… he does wind up saying I need to go do something productive. If by that he means ignoring covid hysteria and moving on with life he has a good point and we should all do that

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

And taking a dogmatic and vehement stance, denying any contrary evidence because the narrative “has been rigged to suit the elites,” is a reasonable definition of critical theory.

It’s the fanatics on whatever fringe, with no doubts about their cause, that are responsible for many of the worlds ills.

Laura Pritchard
Laura Pritchard
2 years ago

I feel like there are many things over which I should make a stand, living in Italy. Don’t get me started on the emergency mandates here. I would be a massive outlier if I did however since most of the native people I speak to consider acceptance of state rules as a given – yes that’s Italians I’m talking about.
I’ve taken a small stand with regards to the unilateral decision of my sports club to adopt the Vaccine Super Green Pass, even though it is not obligatory for them to do so, by not signing up again. I don’t feel like it will make any difference and I don’t really want to not take part in something I love – I’m taking a stand for others, not myself since I qualify with my UK ‘travel pass’ which actually represents a lower level of vaccination than is required for the locals.
I have refused to wear a mask outside here. Over the last two months, it was mandated again to wear them outside and the cases shot up anyway. Everyone I know seems to have gone down with it even though they were the mask wearers. That’s all anecdotal obviously. The point I’m trying to stress is that making a stand is often as nebulous and divisive as the debate around mask wearing itself and we need to recognise that. Or at least, I’ve had to for my own sanity!
I think it’s important that any ‘counter narrative’ shouldn’t be undermined with shoddy analysis or data gathering but it seems like most people, who’ve looked, think the writer has done a good job. I do think serious, substantive work of this sort will probably have much more impact than the place where I make my stand. I’ll keep trying to make it however.

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I find masks repulsive and wearing one is a hostile act. In the past the only people who covered their faces were criminals and Muslim women forced to by their primitive husbands and their evil “religion”. Criminality and Islam hide their faces, the better to destroy the West.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Is the quality of the analysis maybe more important than qualifications? Did Charles Darwin have qualifications? (I would need to check).

Your common sense was spot on, and I never got the idea that it is connected with a freedom struggle (although it could turn out to be the thin end of the wedge)

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

It is becoming tiresome that people hold ‘experts’ in such high regard. Many so called experts are good at one thing, whereas other people may bring a basket of skills to a problem. That broader knowledge can often allow them to tackle a problem without the myopic lenses, or the acquired biases, of the ‘expert’.

A person may have spent countless hous studying the latest books and reports over the last two years, which may make them more up-to-date with current thinking than an ‘expert’ who graduated three decades ago. They may also bring a smorgasbord of other skills and knowledge that the ‘expert’ is clueless about. In that situation do you blindly trust the ‘expert’.

In addition, it is odd that these same people seem to hero worship Bill, but what skills does he have in medicine?

Whilst we are going down this road would you dismiss Elon’s knowledge of electric cars because he didn’t graduate three decades ago in some motor-vehicle engineering degree. How could a guy who built a financial payment system (Paypal) possibly have the skills to now run businesses involving electric cars and space rockets?

Michael K
Michael K
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

The problem is also that the experts considered are often not actually from the field. Look at Ioannidis, who is one of the foremost actual experts. No one cared about his opinion, because his data clearly showed that the panic was unreasonable.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Some of the people who were genuinely frightened, had every reason to be genuinely frightened. They needed to be sheltering in their homes as much as possible. To the extent that they got the notion that their masks, or other people’s masks made things safe — or safe enough — they abandoned the precautions they would have taken if they had understood that the masks don’t protect at all.

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago

Than you. A rational, fact based comment.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago

genuinely frightened” – indeed. And quite logical in early 2020. But as it become obvious that severe illness was confined largely to a few, the health officials aided by a press needing clicks didn’t inform but continued the fear mongering.

stephen archer
stephen archer
2 years ago

That was one of the reasons behind Anders Tegnell’s refusal to advocate masks, that people would not bother to keep their distance since they were ”protected”, and from what I’ve experienced in other countries, he was correct in this assumption.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Alex Bereson’s statement “virus gonna virus” has proven more precise than anything I’ve heard out of the mouths of technocrats. I don’t need “organisational support to run the considerable analysis required to factor in all the variables” because we have all the empirical evidence we need. We’ve lived it.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

Indeed we have. My father and brother-in-law died of it. So excuse my scepticism of the scamdemic narrative.

My father was of the “it’s only flu” persuasion and bizarrely decided to visit the Blackpool illuminations in October 2020, on a coach trip
between lockdowns. I don’t support blanket lockdowns at all, but had one been in place I am fairly certain he would still be alive.Some evidence based discussion of their relative benefits and harms does therefore seem relevant.

I’m fairly confident a mask would have made no difference (I’ve no idea whether he wore one on the trip) but am not willing to make definitive statements on that because some bloke called Ian Miller has selected a load of stats to go into a book.

Saying I have all the evidence I need on the myriad responses to a global pandemic because “we lived it,” is a nice soundbite but not much else.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Sure they did. i know 1000s of people who died. Entire generations of families wiped out in one wave

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
2 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

I don’t know anyone who has died. The only people I have heard of second hand who have either died or been seriously ill have caught it as patients/residents or staff in hospitals and care homes or as members of their households.
Mask-wearing by members of the public in the community (in my case a small rural town) would have made no difference whatsoever to those deaths from what is fundamentally, an infection that is spread in hospitals and other ‘care’ institutions.
There is also the question of whether, even if masks do inhibit transmission, that is actually a beneficial aim among young, healthy and vaccinated people. I would suggest that it is not.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

How many people living on the streets of LA and SF and NYC died of C-19? If this thing was as deadly as claimed, the homeless population in those cities would have been eliminated by now. Nah, it’s well known that the recovery rate for most people is above 99%. Sending sick elderly into nursing homes was a deliberate act of mass murder. We have yet to see what this shot and its variants will do to the healthy people who submitted to them. But, based on the last two years, we do know that if wide-spread negative reactions occur, the government experts will lie and lie and lie some more.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

When you look at the IFR of Covid and compare it to (an adjusted for the population) death rate of the 1968 HK flu, then it is easy to call it a scamdemic.
There is no doubt that millions of people over the years have died of flu every year (more children than Covid), yet we haven’t been locked up in our homes watching businesses fold, millions losing their livelihoods and futures, hundreds of millions going hungry, the rich getting richer, societal fabric decaying, governments becoming more authoritarian and etc. I’ve not used the word scamdemic before, but I am perfectly willing to now.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago

Once again a stat I have no means of verifying.

I believe the responses were driven by the R rate. There seems no doubt it spread a lot faster than flu. The political response was driven by the political (and possibly moral) imperative not to allow the health system to be overrun. Not many votes in hospital car parks full of dying people.

All sorts of poor decisions have been made by governments all over the world. Western populations have been shown to be extraordinarily compliant, driven by a level of risk aversion unknown in our history. There’s a whole other conversation around the societal trends that have brought us to that low.

This conversation, I think, is about who do you believe. My original comment was that I’ve no good reason to believe Ian Murray over anybody else.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Martin, you had the cruise ship at the beginning of 2020 and soon after the German carnival town’s outbreak gave Prof Hendrik Streeck’s a low IFR. Were you not following this? CNN as an alternative perhaps?!

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

The risk balance is easily calculated and it has been quite age stratified. Those under 50 in decent health are a little risk of death. Those who have good Vitamin D levels are a little risk of death.
The “risk aversion” item is well worth understanding. An over reliance on government might be related.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

The whole point of “political mandated”masks is to make the anxious feel less anxious. But it has nothing to do with science as Fauci and others tried to convince us. Saw a program with a German lung specialist and aerosol expert, who said, that he experimented with masks for the last 20 years in laboratory conditions. It seemed that a double FFP2 mask, expertly put on and off, had a very small success rate. Surgical masks, as my GP already told me early in the Covid lockdown period, make hardly any difference as they mostly protect against bacterial infections and even then have to be changed every 2 hours.
Another good article about the masks below

https://swprs.org/face-masks-and-covid-the-evidence/

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Sadly, of course, it was the act of putting the filthy rag on your face that made people frightened. As the minutes of the relevant “nudge unit” meetings confirm, it was imposed as a highly effective instrument for generating and sustaining free-floating anxiety in the “insufficiently worried” to coerce compliance.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Your comment is back. Seemingly it had been reported (goodness only knows why).

T Doyle
T Doyle
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

That’s a ridiculous conclusion. You are pandering to ignorance. Taken the rag off.

Deb Grant
Deb Grant
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I agree – but you could always have washed your masks! Man thing?

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

If people are frightened of seeing a human face, that’s their problem. They should get over it or stay in.

Martin Brumby
Martin Brumby
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Curious that you highlight the “fair bit of cash” that you imagine that Miller might make, you express no interest in the ginormous amount of cash reaped by the Chinese manufacturers the Crony Capitalist middle men and the recipients of the usual brown envelopes. Cui bono?

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

No relevant qualifications? No organisational support (to read a few papers and run a few scripts in R)? Making a profit despite all of the above?

Won’t someone think of the children?

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Not OTT just sick of idiot ‘experts” – I sand a lot of wood and wear these masks – I can ALWAYS smell the dust thru them – I dont need some (obviously an idiot) ‘expert’ to let me know if they work or not – why dont you actually experiment yourself ?? It is not rocket science….and you dont need to be an expert to experiment cos it is a very simple experiment. It seems that the planet has lost its critical thinking skills and any practicality !! try flour , try cocaine (perhaps the best cos you will know if you get a ‘hit”).

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Your attitude is a threat to our Democracy. (Why should the left have a monopoly on that phrase?) The whole point of democratic representative government is that the people are smart enough to evaluate the choices and chose their own representatives based on what they promise and what they do. The whole point of translating the Bible into English was so everyone could read it for themselves.

Experts are supposed to explain the choices, not obfuscate them and then claim authority to make decisions based solely on their credentials. If “experts” can’t explain the choices and why they are recommending a course of action, then we, the great unwashed masses, are under no obligation to follow their advice.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Yes, but the fear of much of the populace was largely because of a completely unethical and entirely disproportionate government ‘psyops’ operation, designed to terrify them. Laura Dodsworth’s “A State of Fear” is good on this.
And are masks actually harmless? Firstly, they are a real nuisance for people wearing glasses. They greatly worsen communication. Comically people instinctively lean in to hear what people are saying.
And I wonder what science will be in future supressed, if it were to show, for example that the constant close contact breathing in of fibres and dirt particles wasn’t doing people much good anyway? A question never asked, let alone answered.

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I recognise the good intentions in trying to ease the fears of others who were ‘genuinely frightened’, but it was governments, aided and abetted by so-called ‘experts’ who created that fear in the first place. They were deliberate employing ‘nudge’ techniques to manipulate citizens’ behaviour, and terrifying people was part of that experiment.

No one is saying that Covid wasn’t a horrible disease that killed many people, but it was not right to put such fear into people for a disease that posed little or no threat to the overwhelming majority. The mandating of masks as a way to ‘protect others’ was a particularly clever bit of flim flam. It set people against each other and caused more fear, along with judgmental self-righteousness by those who chose to use their compliance as a way to shame and browbeat anyone who didn’t go along with the ‘evidence’.

We know for certain that almost all those ‘experts’ who told us wearing masks would save lives (including the despicable Matt Hancock who said if you didn’t you might “kill your gran”) had done a massive reverse ferret from their positions held only months before the pandemic broke.

It’s the sly and manipulative behavioural theorists who led the charge, but they were using a tried and tested way to keep a population
under control:
Divide and Rule.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jane Awdry
James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

With respect, I must disagree and posit the theory that masks did “work.” To answer the question posed in the headline, masks were certainly not a waste of time.
Masks worked well if you focus on the intent. The goal was to divide society and take control. Remember the Democratic Party mantra (to be fair, also used by Republicans): never let a crisis go to waste? Masks were a visual reminder that we should all be afraid, very afraid, regardless of age (masking children), health status (the healthy young), and that some were virtuous (those with masks) and some were “anti-science,” those without masks. Masks have helped the left gain control and keep control. Finally some–Bravo to Canada–seem to be actively rebelling. It seems very clear that masks have worked as intended–society is clearly even more divided than pre-pandemic and many people are still very afraid, wrongly thinking that only government can save them.
Finally, I should note the obvious that the issues of “masks” is utterly meaningless without discussing what masks and how they are worn. The cheapest pieces of crap that I have worn–and re-worn many times–cannot be deemed effective by anyone. Perhaps a higher quality mask worn properly and replaced often might help somewhat, but this is too burdensome and expensive, so it’s simply not an option. I also vaguely remember–please Gentle Readers, correct me or add to this–that the mask study that found masks were somewhat effective involved high quality masks that were replaced with new masks every day. Somehow I doubt that this is what happened with the vast majority of mask wearers.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

I think you should have stopped writing after the 2nd paragraph.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Lee

Fair play.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Your post suggests a remarkable lack of intelligence among the population.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Well, think of all the people who vote SNP despite all their failings.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Fair play, but am I wrong?

David Winsland
David Winsland
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Of course! This is particularly true in the UK where for generations the population has been mollycoddled by the government and had no personal risk other than self imposed.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

And ?

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

Well in terms of your paragraphs 1 and 2, you are absolutely correct. But I’m not sure whether that was the original intent. I suspect that many believed that masks work to prevent spread of infection but never questioned the actual data.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

But the ‘cheap’ masks dont work – I have testd them – very simple really………….

John Wilkes
John Wilkes
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Masks were never about infection control, just a way to identify the politically reliable. Anyone without one can be immediately identified as a Republican/ Libertarian/ Tory etc, i.e. someone with true liberal thoughts (or in modern parlance an extreme right winger).They were largely left to choice until Trump said that they were a waste of time; from then on Fauci et al couldn’t wait to espouse and mandate their use.
They will never go away as those on the left/ technocrats/ lovers of authoritarian control will not stop wearing them. I know a few people who will not answer the door without donning one. Sadly, whenever this bunch are in power mask mandates will return regularly and the status quo will forever shift in this direction until seeing anyone’s face becomes a rarity.

Last edited 2 years ago by John Wilkes
Philip L
Philip L
2 years ago

If you’ve ever married a biophysicist you will know that masks are considered of negative benefit if you get them even slightly moist.
So even if you could prove that a mask is an effective barrier when fresh out of the packet, wearing it throughout the day, putting it in your bag, withdrawing it from under your chewing gum and car keys, slapping it on the table at a restaurant and so on, is going to render it worse than useless.
Additionally, masks promote mouth breathing which for years has been associated with tonsil and adenoid issues, dry mouth, bad breath, fatigue, periodontal disease and throat/ear infections, asthma triggering and so on. Mouth breathing is also associated with a higher viral load.
And even if you could demonstrate they DID work, by wearing one for extended periods you are anaesthetising your immune system from the world at large – the world being an encyclopaedic soup of germs that your system needs to encounter to know about and improve its defences.
Dumb times.

Last edited 2 years ago by Philip L
James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Philip L

I wondered about this. It seems reasonable that if the mask were somehow contaminated–wet, perhaps they stopped Corona–and then re-used, they would be doing MUCH more harm than good. If you are a dentist, for example, and change with every patient and only use high quality masks in a filtered environment, give it a go. But for the average person, ridiculous!

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Philip L

Haha – ALL YOU MASK WEARING SHEEP – I TOLD YOU SO.

As the site’s main ‘Never Masker’ I have undergone the open hostility to never masking from day 1. (except when I must enter a hospital of bank as their security will throw you out – and I need to be there. – but often in banks and health care places I can stare down the security, but mostly not, so put one on as they force compliance 🙁

Masks are your badge of shame that you will not fight the system…. They serve ONE purpose – to make you comply – and it worked for all you masking sheep…..

(No Vax, No Cell Phone, No Mask)

David Winsland
David Winsland
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I’m with you on this one Galeti. I’m now 85 and have never worn a mask in spite of the repercussions from my community.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
2 years ago

I am reminded of the open letter I wrote to Dr Trish Greenhalgh regarding her April 2020 article in the BMJ on recommending facemasks. This article was one of key academic papers which tipped the balance in favour of this dubious practice, later to become an even more dubious mandate.
http://grahamstull.com/2020/07/09/open-letter-to-dr-trish-greenhalgh-on-her-bmj-article-concerning-face-masks/
The bone of her contention was that, while there is no evidence masks work, there is also no evidence they don’t. Given the desperate straits we were in with the pandemic (never true, but ok), it was worth doing, because the intervention could be considered essentially costless.
Of course, mask mandates were far from costless. They have contributed to anxiety and isolation. They hurt the hearing impaired and the mental development of small children. They create dangerous precedents regarding civil liberties. They have served as a gateway drug to vaccine mandates and vaccines passports. They have created an environmental catastrophe. And don’t forget: they cost money to produce.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Totally agree. But what’s interesting is that Trish Greenhalgh felt that one may as well give masks a go since if they did work it would be good, but if they didn’t no harm no foul. Yet the same experts effectively outlawed the use of early treatment strategies including ivermectin and hydrochloriquine both of which have incredibly good safety profiles over half a century.
So the logic isn’t there. Masks are mandated although there is no evidence for them being useful. In fact all the data show that they have had no effect. Early treatments are banned even though there is data to suggest they are useful, even if there are no gold standard double blind randomized control trials. Sort of crazy isn’t it?

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Not crazy. Sinister.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

I’m with Nick. It’s crazy like a fox.

Tom Jennings
Tom Jennings
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Worse than crazy. There was no cost for the elites and the work from home crowd. The cost to others was quite dear. This is a mixture of virtue signalling, conformation bias and disdain.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

And what did she say?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

She told him that his name has been written down as a suspected ‘anti-vaxer’ and they are watching him.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

More shocking things have been happening…

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

No reply.

Daniel Holt
Daniel Holt
2 years ago

Great article. Another consequence of magical mask thinking is the effect of the environment. I live in Vietnam and am currently visiting my wife’s relatives in the countryside. I can tell you that discarded masks are EVERYWHERE, along main roads and small country tracks, every 10 feet or so. A travesty. At least in this case you could say masks are having some kind of impact – adding to an already serious level of environmental degradation.

Fredrick Urbanelli
Fredrick Urbanelli
2 years ago
Reply to  Daniel Holt

Here in Spain as well, the sidewalks and parks are littered with paper masks. They serve as reminders of our failure

Peter LR
Peter LR
2 years ago

These last two years have been nothing less than a propaganda war and an example of elitism closing ranks. Here’s an example from the supposedly balanced BBC; can you spot the sleight of reason to fool the reader:
“ Canadians are broadly supportive of vaccine mandates – nearly 83% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated.”

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter LR

Slippery….

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter LR

It’s a good thing the public isn’t mandated to pay a license for this kind of content.

D Ward
D Ward
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter LR

Indeed. The maxim “is that true, or did you hear it on the BBC” has never been more apposite. I wouldn’t believe them now if they told me the sky was blue.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
2 years ago
Reply to  D Ward

That example is a binary, trans-colour-phobic microaggression. If the sky (pronouns: wha, zoom, zwha) chooses to identify as atacama yellow, who are you to deny zwha identity?

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago

Masks are going to be an iconic image of this whole period. There aim was to stop the spread, but what do we really know.

You’d think after two years we’d be 100% sure about how it spreads, but our govt and big pharma funded scientists don’t seem to care very much about:

1. How it spreads
2. Where it came from
3. What things we can do to prevent catching it that don’t involve political control on a totalitarian scale
4. What we can do if we catch it other than go to bed and hope for the best

Surely our amazing scientists should have definitive answers to all of these important questions.

This whole two years should have made everyone question our politicians, media, pharma industry, tech industry, and celebrities. Some very odd things have happened over the last 24 months and we need answers. If we can’t rely on our supposedly ‘independent scientists’ to give us answers then who can we rely on?

Last edited 2 years ago by Paul Smithson
Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

That is precisely why this particular “crisis” was so valuable. There is no certainty to any of these questions. Just like climate change. They both are the perfect subjects to exploit. No definitive answers, just hyperbole and worry.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago

I confidently expect the experts to have an epiphany soon. They will see the damage they have wrought and repent of their hubris.

After all, we are now on the road to Demaskus.

Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Very good!

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Somehow I doubt it when it comes to masks. The ExpertsTM have become the new religious fanatics.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

The hardest word to say in the English language is sorry,
particularly if you are from the ‘government’.

All this is beginning to look like the early days of the Reformation, when ‘deniers’ were gleefully burnt at the stake by such paragons of virtue as the sainted Sir Thomas More & Co.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Demaskus, hahahahahaha didn’t get it straight away.

(But what happened to the discussion we were having upthread?)

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrea X
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

It was there a minute ago – I’ve just replied to you. Bizarrely my original comment this morning is now showing in my feed as being moderated. Maybe a set numbers of down ticks generates a review.

Go me

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I don’t see it any of the conversation anymore.
I have sent a stroppy email to UnHerd. Probably it is all automated, but still…

Arild Brock
Arild Brock
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Was there a comment on a higher level? I have experienced that my comment (answer) disappeared because the original post was deleted (by the author)

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Arild Brock

I thought you could not totally delete a comment

Last edited 2 years ago by rodney foy
Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Arild Brock

yes and it is now back (but it is a reply to a different comment)

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Yes, I made a bunch of gentle comments earlier, but I no longer see them. When I could still see them, I saw no downticks

stephen archer
stephen archer
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

I don’t think you can delete comments. If the Unherd staff delete a comment then the whole thread can disappear. This happened to me a few times when being subordinate to a Julie B comment. If you contact them and argue for your point they may reinstate the thread. Sometimes the comment at the top of the thread can be contentious or out of order but the reponses can be excellent and not worthy of removal. The Unherd staff are fairly responsive and I’ve always been sent a reply.

Last edited 2 years ago by stephen archer
Nick Wade
Nick Wade
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I’m impressed with your number. Not sure I’ve ever seen -57. It wasn’t me!

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I like your pun, hope you’re right, but fear you’re wrong. More likely to double down than say Oops….

Last edited 2 years ago by James Joyce
Mary Bruels
Mary Bruels
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Here in the US, the sound you hear is that of mask mandates being dropped by blue states/governors. Why? Critical mid term primaries and elections are coming up and the Democrats’ chances aren’t looking good. So, give the people a little of what they want, i.e. no mask mandates. But avoid the critical issues of soaring inflation and potential war.

Jeffrey Chongsathien
Jeffrey Chongsathien
2 years ago

Masks are a sick joke to identify the gullible and the compliant.

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
2 years ago

I wear them to avoid frightening little old ladies. I also ensure that my fly is zipped up.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Terry Needham

Masks DO have some benefit though…. perhaps we can selectively mask certain people?
I advise not to watch to the end of the video – a couple of minutes will do. Nancy Pelosi’s re-election speech:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYmqIU5TbDo

Last edited 2 years ago by Lesley van Reenen
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

She is obviously “inebriated by the exuberance of her own verbosity.”*

(* nearly Benjamin Disraeli.)

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago

Indeed! Especially those who don a mask whilst driving their car alone or walking alone on a city street.

Roger le Clercq
Roger le Clercq
2 years ago
Reply to  Warren T

That’s surely even more dangerous than texting; wearing is one thing but donning is quite another.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

I found wearing the NATO: Respirator NBC* S6 No. 1 Mark 1 at my GP Surgery & my local NHS facility highly entertaining.
I was begged to take it off as it terrified the other visitors. Apparently it reminded many of Quatermass**.

(* A Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, Gas Mask, in English.)
(** Sci-Fi horror character from the 1950’s.)

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago

In the early days I saw a guy in sainsbury’s with a full gas mask, goggles and all.

I don’t know if he was genuinely frightened, or extracting the urine. What I did enjoy was that everybody else in the store studiously “failed” to notice this apparition stalking the aisles.

Last edited 2 years ago by Martin Bollis
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

There are/were pictures doing the rounds of loads of hilarious ‘masks’ being worn. I am presuming mostly in Walmart.

Keith Dudleston
Keith Dudleston
2 years ago

5 things that I got wrong about the virus:
When I read about the Diamond Princess I guessed the IFR would turn out to be about 0.3%. In fact, in most places, it is around 10 times less.
I didn’t think that it was possible to produce a widely available vaccine within a year.
I believed that double vaccination would prevent the virus from spreading widely in my community.
I believed that double vaccination would free the NHS to continue much as before the pandemic.
I believed that the “lab leak theory” was a Trumpian conspiracy theory.

5 things I got right about the virus:

“Non-medical interventions” have a small delaying effect viral on “spread” but they do almost nothing to reduce mortality.
School closures are a very misguided policy. They do little to prevent the spread of the virus, do not reduce mortality and damage children.
Vaccination causes very rare but clinically significant serious side effects which will deserve compensation.
The use of FFP2 masks probably limits viral spread. Less sophisticated cloth and paper masks do not have any significant effect except as “performance art”.
The cost of compensation for financial loss caused by ineffective “non-medical interventions” is very high and will take most of my children’s lifetime to repay.

Last edited 2 years ago by Keith Dudleston
Michael K
Michael K
2 years ago

Hello Keith,
Thanks for the interesting comment! I myself am from the field and have monitored any scientific developments around CoV-2 closely, and my experiences are very similar to yours.
However, I was skeptical of these vaccines from the very beginning, because they are limited to a) systemic injection and b) only one protein of the virus. They were always destined to fail, at least with any subsequent mutation. I mean, this is what we are seeing with influenza, and that needs to get into the lower airways before it can even infect you, so the systemic approach is a little more promising. Trying to prevent CoV-2 infections with a systemic vaccine is downright unscientific. Interestingly, prevention of mild cases is what the original Pfizer study claimed (there was barely any data on severe disease).
Lab leak was always a possibility, we know that there is gain-of-function research going on, so it’s interesting to deny that option from the get-go.
The most effective non-medical intervention is summertime, the effectiveness of everything else is questionable at best. FFP2 masks may limit viral spread, but where does the virus go? Partly into the mask, partly on your hands, partly back into your lungs. FFP2 are masks made for working; when in contact with aerosol, they have to replaced on an hourly basis. In the medical field, they may only be used when every other part of you is sterile, and they may never under any circumstances be re-used (except possibly after professional sterilization).
For lockdowns, school closures and the like, once you consider the side-effects that has on human health (loneliness, fast food, lack of sunlight and activity), there’s an unclear benefit at best. Seeing that high blood pressure is a major factor for COVID deaths, and lockdowns exacerbate or cause high blood pressure, well…

Keith Dudleston
Keith Dudleston
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

Thanks for your comment. Very helpful.

James Longfield
James Longfield
2 years ago

Interesting that you didn’t think vaccines would arrive quickly but had clear views on what you thought they could achieve. As to the lab leak theory and gain of function, Dr Fauci (aka the devil) should be in jail. And not just for lying to congress. Look into his approach to HIV

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago

I would add one suggestion:
-Preventing open dialogue and castigating dissenting views is utterly shameful.

Mitsu Hadeishi
Mitsu Hadeishi
2 years ago

In the US most non-pharmaceutical interventions only slowed spread. In New Zealand, Australia, and most of Asia, they suppressed spread to the point that very few were infected prior to vaccines. South Korea had less than a 0.5% seroprevalence rate in April 2021 without ever doing a full lockdown or a tight border closure, using just contact tracing, masks, and social distancing. Restaurants were open throughout. But they were wearing real PPE: KF94 masks are equivalent to N95 in efficacy.

Keith Dudleston
Keith Dudleston
2 years ago
Reply to  Mitsu Hadeishi

Financial Times 7th Feb: “South Korea has recorded just 6,886 Covid-related deaths and avoided a national lockdown throughout the pandemic, which helped its economy grow 4 per cent last year — its highest annual growth in 11 years.

But since Friday, the country has recorded more than 35,000 cases a day, up from about 7,000 daily infections reported two weeks ago. Health authorities estimate that daily cases could reach between 130,000 and 170,000 by the end of the month.”

Mitsu Hadeishi
Mitsu Hadeishi
2 years ago

Yes, which is exactly what the KDCA predicted, as even the South Korean mitigation strategies are no match for omicron without a full lockdown, which they don’t want to do and never have done. But the point is their mitigation strategies worked to keep infections low until now – with 85% of the population double vaccinated and 54% boosted, so despite the scary numbers you just posted, the death rate continues to drop, and currently stands at 19 per day, about 1/30th the death rate in the United States.
I lived in South Korea during most of the pandemic, I have many relatives there, my wife is Korean, so obviously I’ve been following the news there very closely.
When this is over, the South Korean approach is going to be clearly one of the best in the world, as it already is. No full lockdowns, no strict border closure, but they are coming out with a tiny fraction of the death rate in the US.

Last edited 2 years ago by Mitsu Hadeishi
Keith Dudleston
Keith Dudleston
2 years ago
Reply to  Mitsu Hadeishi

So you are right South Korea has done an amazing job in delaying the spread of the virus in its population. But I suspect the early closure of the border and efficient contact tracing are the main factors. Masks probably had a marginal benefit in protecting droplet transmission and encouraging everybody to stay within the rules.
But now the virus is spreading rapidly and masks are not stopping it. The virus is in the air in poorly ventilated spaces and masks do not stop small particles from being inhaled. If they did construction workers, dealing with asbestos, would be allowed to wear them.

Last edited 2 years ago by Keith Dudleston
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

A big factor is the health of the population. Obesity and co-morbidities often as a result of obesity has caused the huge death count in many Western countries.

Sheridan G
Sheridan G
2 years ago

Anybody who struggles with spectacles steamed up with Covid laced breath knows that masks don’t work.

Michael K
Michael K
2 years ago
Reply to  Sheridan G

Yes, but the steam is virus-free, since the virus particles are filtered by the mask and… well, what then? Do they just vanish into the infinity of space? Or are they being breathed more deeply into the lungs?

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael K

They simply go round it, like flood water round defences.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Sheridan G

Good point


Malcolm C
Malcolm C
2 years ago

If the health officials and political class were honest they would admit that the real reason people were told to wear masks is that they are a highly visible symbol of compliance and help promote fear which causes greater compliance with all the other silly NPIs.

James Longfield
James Longfield
2 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm C

No shit Sherlock

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago

now now…

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm C

Using the terms “honest” and “political class” in the same sentence outside a joke is, well, simply dishonest.

Mel Bass
Mel Bass
2 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm C

I heard one UK government minister actually admit this on a radio show a few months back, regarding masking kids in schools. Bit of a slip on their part, and rapidly brushed under the carpet.

Bashar Mardini
Bashar Mardini
2 years ago

I have never hated anything as much as the mask dogma around Covid
Thats not to say that a well-fitted N95 mask with eye goggles will not protect against infection. But the community level masking, is just beyond words. And the places that forced little kids to wear masks for hours on end, may the people behind those choices burn in hell
The covid-19 pandemic exposed only how feeble, hapless and vapid our so called expert class are, and how bankrupt of leadership our politicians have largely been. And, sadly, how gullible and easily frightened a staggeringly high proportion of the population is.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Bashar Mardini

“Most people would rather die than think and most do”.*

(*BR.)

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago

I confess I belong to the category of people who objects to masks on principle, buy this read was still refreshing.
It is amazing how people choose to pick and choose what evidence to take into account… Take Italy where you can’t pee if you are not vaxxed AND masked and compare the outcome of the latest wave to, say, England. The curve is identical and they have more fatalities (same ballpark though). Why are they not walking in the garden of masked Eden?

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrea X
Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

I am pleased to be able to say that I have worn a mask for approximately 5 minutes in the last 9 months.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc


and I’m pleased to say that I have worn one every single time I’ve visited the village shop here in the last two years. I know it makes no odds as far as Covid is concerned, but it makes the valiant and loyal staff feel valued, since their opinion differs from mine; and as I constantly remind them that the masks make no difference to either of us, we have a useful platform for scientific & political debate.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

The ONS tells us that 97.5% of us have Wuhan flu antibodies, and the scientists have conceded that the Omicron strain is almost harmless, so what precisely do masks achieve apart from inducing anxiety and alienation? I’m simply not going to pander to irrationalism.

Last edited 2 years ago by Drahcir Nevarc
Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Well, now that Omicron holds sway I’m inclined to agree with you, as are most of the shop staff, but irrationalism – as it often does – has proved to be an aid to fellow-feeling in this context. We (least of all I) cannot always be shining with that hard, gem-like flame of Popperian rationality, and some of us decline to the weaker level of ‘When in Rome..’. As long as we are not the ones making the rules I think that’s OK.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

With respect, I don’t think it is ok. Masks cause anxiety and alienation. We need to stop tolerating them as part of everyday life.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Exactly. In my local second hand book shop there is sign in the window proclaiming:
MASK FREE ZONE.

It has been there since the beginning of this mask nonsense. The owner, a robust octogenarian is quite correctly appalled by the timid nature of most of the ‘demos’!

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

That’s absolutely brilliant. Would you mind saying where this is? I may go and spend some money there.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Need to know basis only I’m afraid.If I recall correctly you live near Bristol, which would make it quite a slog to get to.
‘O Tempora O Mores’!

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

You are quite correct, and don’t worry I understand.

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

What about a situation where the people you’re interacting with are forced to wear masks, on pain of losing their job? Isn’t there a case for solidarity with them, perhaps with some overt statement that you thinking it wrong that anyone should have to mask up? There’s something creepy about the increasingly common sight of (unmasked) customers/guests/VIPs being served by identically masked minions.

Roger le Clercq
Roger le Clercq
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

I just made a restaurant reservation where the staff “will wear a mask if requested by you”. Nicely put I thought.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Go maskless, and sympathise with those staff who would like to do so too.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

“Masks cause anxiety and alienation”.
And your evidence for that is ?
And a comment. Influenza has all but disappeared for the last 2 years. Why ? How ?

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

I really can’t be bothered to indulge your blatant sea-lioning with regard to a patently obvious truth. Of course masks cause anxiety and alienation. This is so trivially true it’s not worth debating.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago

Influenza is really easy to drive away with some other viral infection. So in 2009 when H1N1 was the flu pandemic virus of the year, it only took an estimated 6% of the population to get sick with rhinovirus to knock H1N1 right out of the picture.
This is known as viral interference.
https://plu.mx/plum/a/?doi=10.1016/S2666-5247(20)30114-2
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21975051/
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanmic/article/PIIS2666-5247(20)30114-2/fulltext
The idea is straight-forward. At any given year only about 20% of the population is at risk for catching the flu. The rest are protected, probably because they have already been exposed to something similar enough to what is circulating now in past years that they won’t be getting sick. Thus the flu’s ability to propegate through the population is dependent on being able to find enough of these people to infect.
But it can be very difficult to infect somebody who is already in full-on ‘protect me from viruses’ mode because they are fighting some other viral infection. So the people who were getting sick with rhinovirus were not available to catch H1N1. Sometimes this this meant that they were *late* to the pandemic, in catching H1N1 and sometimes this meant that H1N1 fell out of the population as infection with rhinovirus spread. Rhinovirus outcompeted H1N1 flu.
Now _exactly how_ this happens is subject to a great deal of scientific disagreement. One theory is that it has most to do with the interferon in the cells. But recently, the ‘it’s the increased mucous secretions and general anti virals in your upper respiratory tracks’ (the third article I posted) seems to be getting more traction.
grrr, moderated again.

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago

Thank you for this – a great incentive to dig and delve some more.
I did remember some papers from 2021 looking at co-infection with influenza A and B and Covid so clearly this competition thing resulting in a mono infection doesn’t always play out in real life :
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jmv.26817
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8135706/
And there is still the puzzle of what happened in Australia in the summer of 2020 when there was very little / no Sars Cov 2 transmission and next to zero flu and RSV (unless you believe the notion that flu only circulates from the northern to southern hemispheres via travel).

David Slade
David Slade
2 years ago

Viral displacement – disappeared in Sweden as well and almost everywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere regardless of NPI’s; just out competed by a superior viral strain.
Again, nature – not man.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

Presumably good old Corona got them first?*

(* I assume you are old enough to recall that we used to call ‘Flu’ “ the old man’s friend?)

Last edited 2 years ago by SULPICIA LEPIDINA
James Longfield
James Longfield
2 years ago

Interesting. I entered my local post office today and despite a mask mandate here in Queensland (Australia), none of the four members of staff were wearing masks. So refreshing to see. Many of the customers were still complying with the mandates. My face was mask-less and I think they enjoyed seeing me smile

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
2 years ago

You are pandering to their hypochondria and not doing them any favours.
I boycott any business that expects masks.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
2 years ago

Fair enough. There’s only one shop in the village, and they need the business to keep the post office going. I can tell you’re not a politician.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

So walk into the shop smiling and maskless and spend some money.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

See Warren T below. They would offer me a mask (very politely) and decline to sell me anything if I refused the offer. Village solidarity and the opportunity to hold (and I hope win) the debate, or smiling refusal to sustain their business, on principle? I hope that I am with Ivan Ilich on this one, but it is a conundrum. Keep my money local (and keep the local school going, too), or invest in Waitrose? Luckily I have UnHerd to help me decide.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago

That’s how this will all change. The moment a clerk tells me to mask up, I simply and politely walk out the door.

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
2 years ago

Masks were never anything more than an unpleasant and divisive “obedience training aid”. They have also made the manufacturers, especially in China, very rich indeed. In the meantime, three million non-biodegradable, disposable ones are being discarded into the environment every single minute causing untold damage for future generations to deal with. When the history of mask-wearing is written it will be very ugly indeed.

Michael K
Michael K
2 years ago

Concerning masks I only have three arguments:
1) No mask is airtight. If a mask is airtight, you won’t be able to breathe normally and it won’t be pleasant.
2) If you touch your mask after opening a door, it’s not unlike licking the doorknob.
3) If your mask filters virus particles, where do they go? Can they go deeper into your lungs, where they will cause a real infection? You bet they can.

Ann Roberts
Ann Roberts
2 years ago

Here in Scotland, we are still under a mask mandate. Drives me bonkers at times:) I like to see people’s faces. I like smiles. See the Brownstone post. https://brownstone.org/articles/mask-studies-reach-a-new-scientific-low-point/. – the SNP have been heavy-handed all along and are now trying to make permanent some of their emergency measures in a new COVID Bill. I wish the SNP would wake up. The protesting continues in Scotland and is increasing as a result of the Canadian Truckers I feel.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ann Roberts
Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Ann Roberts

I have stopped wearing a mask since last Sunday after 18 months of compliance (just because I didn’t want hassle from anyone). Nobody has batted an eyelid, not even a cursory glance or some tut-tutting; it has been almost disappointing.
As I said in another comment, the SNP are milking it as much as they possibly can, because of the holier-than-thou attitude that our glorious FM showed from the start and the fact that if she backs down she would look silly, so she has to double down every time. Does anyone know what she is waiting for to remove masks, say, from schools? But more to the point, what are people waiting for to remove them themselves?
So now instead we are supposed to chop the bottom of the doors of? For the grace of the Good Lord, what numpty came up with that idea? SNPs MSPs are generally not the brightest (well, MSPs in general are not the brightest), but still…

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

I am surprised no one has mentioned that experts and politicians appear to fulfill exactly the same roles in the climate debate with the poor old public left to shoulder the burden of their narcissism, hubris, dishonesty and contempt

Last edited 2 years ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Antony Hirst
Antony Hirst
2 years ago

Indeed. COVID restrictions advocates are the same type of people who impose climate restrictions. No evidence. The results are at best unquantifiable and at worst completely fail to live up to the apocalyptic predictions…and yet they persist.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

Indeed even as I write, I am scanning the horizon for some rewarding ‘Climate Scam’ rubbish to invest in.
After my totally undeserved success with the Mask nonsense I feel I cannot loose.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago

If you identify anything that looks like a good prospect can you share

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

Off course, it would be my pleasure!

Michael Miles
Michael Miles
2 years ago

The article summarizes Ian Miller’s book quite well. Although Mr. Miller does not have scientific credentials nor uses sophisticated statistical analysis, by the preponderance of the evidence, clearly demonstrates the pre-pandemic science was right: masks are ineffective for a highly contagious airborne respiratory virus. How the previous science was overturned radically in the space of a few weeks is complicated and beyond the scope of any one article. The specific clues can be found in many places. The simple answer is they panicked, because the previous science indicated there was very little one can do once this type of virus gets loose. Since we cannot accept that in 2022, with all our knowledge and technology, there are things beyond our control, irrationality takes hold. What can’t be condoned has been the continuation of these measures beyond realizing their ineffectiveness. The recent publication of spurious mask studies by the CDC and others is reprehensible and indicates the capture of science by the political and bureaucratic powers.

Keith Dudleston
Keith Dudleston
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael Miles

Thanks for posting. This is very helpful.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

How very depressing!

However let’s look on the bright side. At the very start of this monstrous Scamdemic I was invited to make a very modest four figure investment in a consortium dedicated to the production of Masks & other PCR stuff.

How noble, satisfying, and ultimately rewarding, that decision has been. I have now reaped a seven figure ‘reward’, and amount that it would take most Englishmen about 25O years to earn.*

Fortunately I am to old and decrepit to squander such a windfall, and shall have to delegate that task to my Chief of Staff, who has some expertise in that field.

(* UK average earning :ÂŁ26,000 pa.)

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago

I venture to suggest your Chief of Staff will have considerably less expertise than my own in the field of squandering.

If you need any assistance please do get in touch.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Thank you for that!

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Thank you for that.
I shall mention it at the next ‘O group’.

James Longfield
James Longfield
2 years ago

I’m sure she will spend it wisely. Great post

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

“How noble, satisfying, and ultimately rewarding, that decision has been. I have now reaped a seven figure ‘reward’,”

Nobel, fat. old vulture….. Much like the ‘Daddy Warbucks’ figures of the WWI armament manufacturing Barons – but without the actual killing….. Let us know how you squander it – I would begin with a Lithuanian Trophy Wife and some Palatial Florida mansion…..

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Tut, tut, jealousy will get you nowhere. Given the same opportunity you would have undoubtedly done the same.

As to the Lithuanian wife and Palatial Florida mansion, no thanks!

Euan Ballantyne
Euan Ballantyne
2 years ago

I foresee very soon the day where there is no one who ever supported masks, lockdowns or school closures.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago

The planes to Damascus are fully booked already.

R Wright
R Wright
2 years ago

It’ll be looked upon like we look on Salem.

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
2 years ago

It is not difficult to see why mask mandates proved irresistible to politicians. Masks are the perfect form of hygiene theatre, conveying an intuitive sense of safety regardless of demonstrable efficacy at scale. 

It’s more sinister than that. Masks are a way of dehumanising the population, as the Khmer Rouge did in Cambodia by forcing everyone to dress in black and China similar. Masks are utterly pointless, and that’s the point of them. The Left want a serf class, where muzzled delivery drivers, waiters, cleaners, nannies struggle to breathe while serving the wealthy Leftoid hypocrites in their restaurants and on their private jests.
Masks are a symbol of slavery and oppression, which is always from the Left. They love them on the servant class, but on those private jets and in those restaurants they don’t wear them.

J S
J S
2 years ago

Masks are now just perverse virtue signals to the “bien pensants”, which means they will never go away.

Paul Rogers
Paul Rogers
2 years ago

“…the temporary political advantages they gained from this will be outweighed by the discrediting effect of their embrace of censorship, propaganda, and rule by decree.”
Very well said.
As I plan to travel to Belgium this week, I am appreciative of one thing that the UK (well, actually English) Government have got right. We are now without any restrictions. Although my kids’ teacher and lecturer unions really wish it were not so. ‘Twas ever thus with these militants and they have enjoyed their little piece of power.
The broader point about the discrediting effect of ‘experts’ cannot be underestimated in Britain. It runs deep now. The ‘news’ is simply not trusted by people who used to (eg my parents).

D Oliver
D Oliver
2 years ago

Excellent piece. It seems quite clear that the noble lie theory is designed to save the blushes of those in power who instead changed their views for reasons only known to themselves.

What I find very interesting from a psychological perspective is how certain scientists who claim to only follow evidence have instead followed their tribe.

For example, I follow one such person on Twitter who in March 2020 noted that the evidence for mask effectiveness was paltry and advised one correspondent to wear a mask as a ‘totem’ if they wanted. That same individual now berates people for being “anti-mask” and not caring about saving lives if they question the dogma.

This is pure tribal politics and nothing else as shown by the fact that no new evidence of masks being any more effective has emerged in the last two years. However the chances of self-reflection from this type of person (who of course considers themselves highly rational) is less than zero. How ironic that the mask is now a totem for their own tribe.

Raymond Inauen
Raymond Inauen
2 years ago

OFF TOPIC | Freedom Convey Ottawa Canada
Listen to how peacefully the leaders of this demonstration are handling the new state of emergency declared by the City of Ottawa.
Freedom Convoy ADDRESS TO THE NATION – Feb.6, 2022 “State of Emergency Update” | IrnieracingNews
https://youtu.be/3D3sYDMNiD4

Last edited 2 years ago by Raymond Inauen
Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago
Reply to  Raymond Inauen

Thanks for the link. I encourage everyone to listen, and to compare and contrast with today’s report on the BBC website

Raymond Inauen
Raymond Inauen
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

U r welcome!

D Ward
D Ward
2 years ago
Reply to  Raymond Inauen

Thanks for the link. They are clearly remaining very calm, counter to Trudeau’s hysterical accusations of rioting etc.
as Brett (Weinstein) and Heather (Haying) said on their latest Darkhorse podcast: the difference between the “mostly peaceful protests” of the BLM riots in 2020 and the Canadian Truckers’ actually peaceful protests in Ottawa is obvious. The difference is the “legacy media” (and thanks to the Truckers for that term – I am going to use it in future instead of MSM) supported the BLM riots but doesn’t like the Truckers’ impudence in standing up for all our rights one little bit.
ps. I will send a link of this to my beleaguered brother in Western Oz, whose PM is not behaving any better than Trudeau).

Last edited 2 years ago by D Ward
Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Raymond Inauen

Found it difficult to hear what they were saying, but I have found the subsequent clip almost hilarious:
https://youtu.be/g3u0JhcLiic
(and no, I know nothing about Canadian Politics, except the few snippets we get in the news)

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrea X
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Even worse in Australia & New Zealand I gather.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Raymond Inauen

Thank you and good luck to the truckers. Legacy media (a great description) have been painting a negative image: far right, racist, hate speech etc. but listening to these guys is inspiring.
P.S. Compare and contrast with the reporting on the demos in the countries neighbouring Russia.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Raymond Inauen

Excellent, good old Canada, got there in the end and have made a complete mockery of those other bedwetters, Australia & New Zealand.
In fact probably the best thing they done since they helped us burn the White House on the 24th August 1814.

Lena Bloch
Lena Bloch
2 years ago
Reply to  Raymond Inauen

I stopped listening after “Chinese are watching us”… So sad…

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago

I had such great sport going into various places wearing a full welders mask with pop up window… magic to see how many it confused and annoyed!

D Ward
D Ward
2 years ago

Me and my motorbike helmet


Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
2 years ago

I have a (cloth) mask with my face printed on it. (Amazon Prime.) Mostly it is a great conversation starter & gets people laughing; occasionally it triggers the self-appointed masking nannies (just long enough to realize their mistake . . . which also provokes some laughter — if not always on their part).

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago

There was a study of mask wearing in Bangladesh villages which involved 342,183 people over 8 weeks. In the mask wearing group 1,106 people were infected and the unmasked 1,186. A difference of 20. Masks wearing was pointless.

Lena Bloch
Lena Bloch
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

However the conclusions the researchers made, were just the opposite: that masks were effective! https://www.acsh.org/news/2021/09/02/clinical-trial-bangladesh-shows-masks-stop-covid-19-sort-15777 We need to talk not about the facts, but about the interpretation of facts, the twist that is going on. This study, that did not isolate mask wearing as a variable and had all kinds of bias variables in the study (people got sick or stayed healthy for many other reasons than masks) and that clearly showed that mask-wearing had a minimal effect, concluded that it is “still better than nothing”, and even “imagine if millions are wearing masks, how many lives can be saved”.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago
Reply to  Lena Bloch

If I recall correctly the Bangladesh study showed a 10% reduction in transmission for those wearing surgical masks but not cloth masks, and only in the over 50s (which is peculiar to say the least). The result was statistically significant because of the massive sample size. But from a practical perspective, the result proved beyond any shadow of doubt, irrespective of poor study design and confounding factor, that the impact of mask wearing was minimal at best. Simply ask yourself the following question: if a contraceptive method had only a 10% efficacy would you be OK with your teenage daughter engaging in regular sex using such a method – I think the answer would be a resounding No.

hugh bennett
hugh bennett
2 years ago

“Thou shalt wear a mask” Hygenesis 20:20