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Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
10 months 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 10 months ago by Johann Strauss
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
10 months 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 10 months ago by Martin Bollis
Nick Wade
Nick Wade
10 months 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 10 months ago by Nick Wade
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

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

Michael K
Michael K
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Michael K

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

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
10 months 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
9 months 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 9 months ago by Rosalind Schogger
Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
9 months 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 9 months ago by Andrew Fisher
rodney foy
rodney foy
10 months 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
10 months 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 10 months ago by Dennis Boylon
Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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 blasé. 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

I gave you an uptick… I detected sarcasm!

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Ridiuled by everyone… If only!

Andrea X
Andrea X
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months ago

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

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months 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
9 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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 10 months ago by Laura Creighton
Andrea X
Andrea X
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Very well said.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
9 months 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
9 months 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
9 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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 10 months ago by Laura Creighton
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
10 months ago

Than you. A rational, fact based comment.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

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

T Doyle
T Doyle
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

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

Deb Grant
Deb Grant
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

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

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
9 months 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.

James Joyce
James Joyce
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

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

James Joyce
James Joyce
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter Lee

Fair play.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
10 months ago
Reply to  James Joyce

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

Andrea X
Andrea X
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

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

James Joyce
James Joyce
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Fair play, but am I wrong?

David Winsland
David Winsland
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

And ?

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

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

John Wilkes
John Wilkes
10 months 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 10 months ago by John Wilkes
Philip L
Philip L
10 months 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 10 months ago by Philip L
James Joyce
James Joyce
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Not crazy. Sinister.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
10 months ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

I’m with Nick. It’s crazy like a fox.

Tom Jennings
Tom Jennings
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

And what did she say?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

More shocking things have been happening…

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrea X

No reply.

Daniel Holt
Daniel Holt
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Peter LR

Slippery….

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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 10 months ago by Paul Smithson
Warren T
Warren T
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Very good!

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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 10 months ago by Andrea X
Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Arild Brock

I thought you could not totally delete a comment

Last edited 10 months ago by rodney foy
Andrea X
Andrea X
10 months ago
Reply to  Arild Brock

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

rodney foy
rodney foy
10 months 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
10 months 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 10 months ago by stephen archer
Nick Wade
Nick Wade
10 months 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
10 months 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 10 months ago by James Joyce
Mary Bruels
Mary Bruels
9 months 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
10 months ago

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

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
10 months 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
10 months 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 10 months ago by Lesley van Reenen
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months ago

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

(* nearly Benjamin Disraeli.)

Warren T
Warren T
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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 10 months ago by Martin Bollis
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
10 months 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
10 months 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 10 months ago by Keith Dudleston
Michael K
Michael K
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Michael K

Thanks for your comment. Very helpful.

James Longfield
James Longfield
10 months 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
10 months ago

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

Mitsu Hadeishi
Mitsu Hadeishi
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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 10 months ago by Mitsu Hadeishi
Keith Dudleston
Keith Dudleston
10 months 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 10 months ago by Keith Dudleston
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
9 months 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
10 months ago

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

Michael K
Michael K
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Michael K

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

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
10 months ago
Reply to  Sheridan G

Good point…

Malcolm C
Malcolm C
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm C

No shit Sherlock

Andrea X
Andrea X
10 months ago

now now…

Warren T
Warren T
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Bashar Mardini

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

(*BR.)

Andrea X
Andrea X
10 months 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 10 months ago by Andrea X
Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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 10 months ago by Drahcir Nevarc
Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months ago

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

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months 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
10 months ago

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

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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 10 months ago by Laura Creighton
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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 10 months ago by SULPICIA LEPIDINA
James Longfield
James Longfield
10 months 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
10 months ago

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

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
10 months 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
10 months ago

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

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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 10 months ago by Ann Roberts
Andrea X
Andrea X
10 months 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
10 months 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 9 months ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Antony Hirst
Antony Hirst
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months ago

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

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months ago

Off course, it would be my pleasure!

Michael Miles
Michael Miles
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Michael Miles

Thanks for posting. This is very helpful.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months 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 :£26,000 pa.)

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Thank you for that!

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

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

James Longfield
James Longfield
10 months ago

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

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
10 months 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
9 months 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
10 months ago

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

Andrea X
Andrea X
10 months ago

The planes to Damascus are fully booked already.

R Wright
R Wright
10 months ago

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

Katy Hibbert
Katy Hibbert
10 months 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
10 months ago

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

Paul Rogers
Paul Rogers
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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 10 months ago by Raymond Inauen
Andrew D
Andrew D
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

U r welcome!

D Ward
D Ward
10 months 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 10 months ago by D Ward
Andrea X
Andrea X
10 months 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 10 months ago by Andrea X
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Even worse in Australia & New Zealand I gather.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months ago
Reply to  Raymond Inauen

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

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
10 months 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
10 months ago

Me and my motorbike helmet…

Michael Cavanaugh
Michael Cavanaugh
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months ago

“Thou shalt wear a mask” Hygenesis 20:20

Jürg Gassmann
Jürg Gassmann
10 months ago

For their part, critics of masking and other Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) typically relied on principled assertions of freedom.

I disagree. As you yourself point out, the science from the very beginning said that face masks are at best pointless (outside of clinical settings), and this was said again and again. Until the narrative suddenly changed – the argument was that the science had changed, but no scientific basis was ever adduced to support that contention.
Another bizarre phenomenon is the fact that occupational safety and health guidelines on mask wearing were simply ignored by OS&H agents, regulators, employers, and courts.
But otherwise, many thanks.

Last edited 10 months ago by Jürg Gassmann
Tim D
Tim D
10 months ago
Reply to  Jürg Gassmann

“Bait and switch”. When the explanations given do not hold up to peoples experience, it has to be jettisoned and blamed on something else that is plausable. Conveniently pulled mask off the shelf. When the 1917-18 Flu events are examined, the time before any real antibiotics, other factors such as malnutrition and weather and of course, bacterial/fungal infections (sepsis).

christopher Marchant
christopher Marchant
10 months ago

A great article and confirms much of what so many of us believed .it is still so sad to see people wearing masks in the open air convinced that they are doing it for the common good. I believe we will be living with the pychological damage for decades we have been betrayed by our politicians and many of our scientists.

René Descartes
René Descartes
9 months ago

Excellent article. I disagree that masks are merely a waste of time; they are positively dangerous. Mask wearing is indeed a form of theatre; more to do with virtue signalling than protecting anyone. It’s notable that mask-wearers have to talk more loudly, repeat themselves more often and ultimately lower their masks to make themselves understood thus squirting ever more aerosol particles into the air, and I’ve lost count of the number of ‘altruistic’ mask wearers who stand chatting for ages in the aisles of supermarkets secure in the misapprehension that they are keeping everyone safe. It’s unlikely to do anyone much good when people spend hours with their faces wrapped in germ-soaked bits of cloth.

Warren T
Warren T
10 months ago

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.
With the attention span of the average techno-immersed human being similar to that of a moth, I doubt most folks will remember how silly it was to wear masks during the pandemic of the early “20’s, or who recommended them.

John Riordan
John Riordan
10 months ago

“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.”

But here’s the thing we still don’t know: are the “experts” the same people? That is to say, the “scientists and officials” who said before the pandemic, correctly, that masks are pointless – are these the same actual people who later on were persuading us all to adopt mask-wearing? We need to know the answer.

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
10 months ago

This was pretty obvious back in March-April 2020 when it became clear this was an aerosol disease that masks were an absurdity. So anyone who only just figured out that this was always political “be seen to do something” pandemic theatre has really not been paying attention.

Last edited 10 months ago by Perry de Havilland
Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
9 months ago

I largely agree with Geoff’s conclusion. I’m also going to offer a somewhat kinder explanation. It was just another “noble lie” that would help the technocrats with other NPIs like social distancing and lockdowns. It made people feel like they were in a pandemic. It would keep people scared and eager to listen to authority figures. All the scare stories in the press. The young are filling the hospitals and are not any safer were more “noble lies”. You can see that from Laura Dodsworth’s book State of Fear. The SPI-B group specifically drove that messaging. God Bless her for that book. I wish somebody in the US would do a similar book on Fors Marsh who was contracted by the US government to do that work in the USA. SPI-B is not an anomaly. This is not a new phenomenon either. Governmemts have been using behavioral modification strategies and propaganda as a population control strategy for decades. They’ve become very sophisticated at it and have largely been able to keep that a secret from the public. The public also fails to understand how susceptible they are to propaganda. Edward Bernays should be one of the most well known figures in US history. He pioneered a field in which the US still excells and is the undisputed world leader. In his autobiography he covers Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels had every publication of Bernays in his library and used his work as a blueprint for propaganda in Nazi Germany. He dismisses this as evil people can use any knowledge for evil purposes. We would only use such knowledge for good! The beauty of the noble lie! Or maybe the arrogance of the technocrat?

Last edited 9 months ago by Dennis Boylon
Ernesto Garza
Ernesto Garza
9 months ago

The American strategy was to scare the bejesus out of everyone with lurid scenes of carnage from Italy (and New York), suppress and deplatform (as “disinformation”) evolving data that showed Corona to be a disease of the old and infirm, (Princess Star Cruise Ship) then establish salvation through state mandated lockdowns, masks and finally vaccines.
The population evolved into two antagonistic groups: Those who truly did understand “The Science,” and those who cited “Science” as an authoritarian club to beat their particular population (Usually a blue city) into submission.
The damage, especially to children, is unforgiveable.

Last edited 9 months ago by Ernesto Garza
Roger le Clercq
Roger le Clercq
10 months ago

First class balanced analysis comments to match. Well done Unherd

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
9 months ago

Studies, tests, data, books, papers, experiments, science, blah blah blah blah. As my neighbour said back in March 2020, “…it’s all b****cks.” Why did no one listen?

trevor fitzgerald
trevor fitzgerald
9 months ago

Exceptional, thanks, I will read the book.

Remember when we were all watching the Swedish strategy? What worries me is the lack of discourse, public debate and evaluation of the data by the ‘scientists’ running public health. Such decisions may come back to haunt us.

J Bryant
J Bryant
10 months ago

When Ian Miller, and the author of this article, say masks don’t work to significantly reduce spread of covid, what do they mean exactly?
Do they mean that no masks, of the types available to the general public, stop the spread of covid when worn correctly? If so, that seems surprising to me and also raises important questions about how covid spreads.
The “correct” way to mask up is to wear an N95, or equivalent, with a surgical mask on top. The surgical mask should be replaced each day. How many people followed that protocol, assuming they could obtain N95s and afford to replace the surgical mask daily? Not many, I suspect.
My guess is most people wore masks (e.g., surgical masks) not designed to stop virus particles efficiently, and even those masks were probably not worn correctly. So when we read that masked LA county has covid mortality statistics similar to unmasked neighboring counties the similar outcome is probably due to improper masking.
If my guess is wrong and wearing a properly fitted N95 (which is capable of trapping virus particles) doesn’t stop covid spread, then how does covid spread? Does it mostly spread at home where people take their masks off? I ask not to stir up an argument but because I want to know (a) the limitations of the mask data, and (b) what does the data tell us about how covid spreads? It’s the science I’m interested in, not the politics of mask wearing.

Last edited 10 months ago by J Bryant
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
10 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Many people have spoken about the efficacy of N95 vs other masks, but wearing N95 masks when out and at home is not 1. feasible or 2. desirable for society – especially for a disease with such a low IFR. And how are you going to get children and babies to wear these effectively. Glue them to their faces?

David Slade
David Slade
10 months ago

Don’t give them ideas.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
10 months ago
Reply to  David Slade

Yes, we have watched the theories becoming fact…

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months ago
Reply to  David Slade

We had ‘masks’ for dogs & horses in 1938. Be careful what you wish for!

Sue Whorton
Sue Whorton
9 months ago

Not quite the same reasons though. Mustard gas affected cavalry and military dogs too. Change of tack. My personal observation in France, which has a strong mask mandate, that as soon as they were introduced, social distancing in supermarkets disappeared. It was only mandated at a meter, so hardly effective but distancing ceased. You can still see people wearing them in their own cars when driving alone. I have seen very elderly people wear them in their huge gardens. Our commune provided everyone with a black fabric mask and a washable quasi medical one. The Paris protest drive has been threatened with anyone causing an obstruction with a 2 year prison sentence. The land of liberty.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
9 months ago
Reply to  Sue Whorton

Agreed about Mustard Gas, plus Phosgene etc.

Well as to France and virtually everywhere else in so called Western Civilisation, (with notable exception of Sweden), the response to this Scamdemic has been utterly pathetic, even spastic.

If Darwinian is correct and it is “survival of the fittest”, then ‘we’ have had it, and that oft repeated quip that the “Yellow Race shall rule the word”* will become reality.

More tea Vicar?

(* Napoleon Bonaparte?)

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
10 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Why would you not be interested in the politics, if it is the politicians who have been the ones wanting to inflict the masks on the masses. When conducting a scientific study one needs to factor in all the variables and not just the ones you choose.

Last edited 10 months ago by Paul Smithson
Nick Wade
Nick Wade
10 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Everyone goes on about N95 masks, as if they are a panacea. They’re not really any better than any other mask. Their specification is to filter 95% of particles 0.3 microns or larger. Virus particles can be much smaller than that. They also have to be fitted properly and changed regularly. It’s simply not practical, and eventually the virus will “get you” anyway, as most mask fanatics have found out. Unless you’re going to wear a proper respirator, forget it. The medical and scientific establishment know this, and have been promoting nonsense clown theatre for 2 years.

rodney foy
rodney foy
10 months ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

N95s have a polypropylene layer with an electrostatic effect that traps the aerosols that carry the virus. Even so, I think they may not work well outside a clinical setting

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
10 months ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

Yes I have used this argument many times. Millions of people who have contracted Covid have worn masks!

Matt M
Matt M
10 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I’ve often wondered if the best policy throughout the pandemic would have been to focus solely on the vulnerable portion of the population and let everyone else get on with their lives unmolested.
If there is a type of mask (and replacement protocol) which effectively traps the virus, why not give them free to the old and infirm and let the rest of us go about unmasked?
Ditto: vaccines and lockdowns. If we had stuck to vaccination for pensioners and only locking down care homes and geriatric wards, we could have had similar results for a fraction of the costs, both financial and psychological.
Was that the gist of the Great Barrington Declaration?

stephen archer
stephen archer
10 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

If the old and infirm were given effective masks they would almost directly be affected by breathing difficulties and later possibly cardiac issues.

Graham Stull
Graham Stull
10 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

If you can breathe with the mask on, that means it is not working to stop the exhalation of aerosolized particles that can contain virions.

aaron david
aaron david
10 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

Another way of putting it is; if you can smell a fart, it isn’t working.

Sue Whorton
Sue Whorton
9 months ago
Reply to  aaron david

Prefer smelling the hyacinths in my favourite cafe

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
10 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Preliminary reports in places which have moved to N95 masks due to ‘the infectious nature of Omicron’ — it is making no difference, they are all getting sick.
When you look at the contact tracing data, such as it is, and it’s not of great quality anywhere, including South Korea and other places with tracing apps, you find that around 80% of people infect *nobody*. No matter what, or how strict your interventions are. Of the 20% of people who infect somebody, 80% of them only infect the other people they share a home with.
But it is premature to conclude that this is ‘because the masks are off at home’ … because the masks are, in general, _on_ at work and the people who catch it at work tend to catch it like households do — all the people who work together catch it together. And work is where people are getting sick the second most, after homes. People who are wearing masks in their homes (i.e. army recruits who are ordered to do so, so we can be pretty sure that the are really doing it, and not just saying they did) are getting all sick together, too.
One of the great problems in how we have looked at infection rates is that we have focused on ‘how many people a sick person infects’, with the idea that if we could control some of the sick people, they would infect fewer people, and all would be improved, because the other people would infect as many as they otherwise would, and the numbers go down.
Instead, it seems that if you control some of the sick people, and force them to infect fewer people, the remaining sick people just get busier and infect more people so that the number of people getting sick stays pretty much the same. And no, I don’t mean that they are actually going out there and working harder at coughing on people, etc — it’s just that enough virus is being produced by them that it’s out there for the healthy people to catch. And ‘allowing people out to go grocery shopping’ seems to give them plenty of opportunity to catch things, whether or not they wear masks.
This is very much akin to the problem of trying to reduce the population of feral cats (where you aren’t allowed to kill any) by trapping and then spaying or neutering any cats you trap. Neutering the toms has no effect unless you can be sure of neutering every tom, so don’t waste your time and money on them.

Last edited 10 months ago by Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
10 months ago

… continued because I thought unherd would decide to moderate if I posted too much in one reply.
While the home and the school/work are the top places for where we believe people catch covid, part of this is because this is where people spend most of their time. We don’t have a good way of telling if you caught covid from your officemate or on the bus on the way to work, and if your officemate was sick 2 days before you when we look at the data we are going to bin your result in with ‘caught at work’. This makes ‘work’ and ‘at home’ look worse than they are — to the detriment of the ‘someplace else’ bin which is already looking rather large. Restaurants, by the way, do not look so bad when you eliminate the restaurant workers (who spread it to each other, same as every other occupation where people work in person, together). Families and coworkers may possibly infect each other while eating lunch in a restaurant together, but we have classified them as ‘home’ and ‘work’ infections. Strangers infecting other people at the restaurant does not seem to be much of a thing. Strangers infecting others on the bus seems to be more of a thing, but still not up there with ‘work’ and ‘home’. People get infected shopping.
The upshot is that, once you have shut down the nightclubs, which is a good idea, there still is plenty sick, all around for people to catch. Locking yourself away indoors, and never going out mostly works, and when it doesn’t its a measure of how you could not do this perfectly. Anything else doesn’t seem to be doing all that much,though the effect of stuffing people with lots of vitamin D certainly deserves more study. It is amazing how little we know about how it is that healthy people with robust immune systems stay healthy.
But oh, how I wish I had more data to work with!. But I understand. Getting the data is expensive. With the same money you can hire more nurses, and that’s a better use of it in terms of saving lives.

Last edited 10 months ago by Laura Creighton
James Longfield
James Longfield
10 months ago

Stop worrying. Omnicrom is a cold

J Bryant
J Bryant
10 months ago

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I have read many articles about masks and other preventive measures and I still feel there are basic scientific questions that remain unanswered. The pandemic is so politicized science has taken a back seat to propaganda, but science free of politics is our only way out of this mess.
My own take on masks is they’re only likely to make a difference if the highest quality masks are used consistently and pretty much forever unless a sterilizing vaccine is developed which doesn’t seem likely. That leaves strict lockdowns as the only successful containment measure and that is only feasible for short periods of time and even then has extremely negative consequences. I’ve always supported the Great Barrington Declaration: shield the vulnerable; limit very high density public gatherings, at least for the early part of the pandemic, but otherwise let the virus spread among the healthy.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
10 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

There are two issues. First a N95 is very difficult to wear for any prolonged period of time. Second it needs to be fitted. (Not sure where you come up with having a surgical mask over it – I fail to see that that does anything. Third, N95s don’t filter forever: indoors in a filtered air environment (such as an OR) they are good for about 2 hours; in unfiltered air inside they are good for about 30 min.
In terms of protection, you would be OK wearing a P100, but not only are they hugely expensive but trying wearing one of those for any length of time.
Now it seems to me that the fallacy was that the real claim about masks was that they acted as a source control on the basis that it’s easier to prevent egress than ingress. That’s true but the question is how many COVID ill people are there wondering around. Very few because they are home in bed. So the whole thing was based on the assumption that asymptomatic transmission was a major pathway of infection. However, as was later realized there is no such thing as asymptomatic transmission. If you are producing enough viral particles to infect somebody you will exhibit symptoms.

James Longfield
James Longfield
10 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

N95 masks were developed to help surgeons from inhaling blood splatters while performing operations. Keep it real

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
10 months ago

Surgeons don’t usually wear N95 masks! They wear regular surgical masks. It’s very difficult to carry out surgery with an N95 mask on. Now it is perfectly true that the main use of masks in the OR is to prevent the surgeon from being contaminated by blood splatters.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
10 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

The data we have indicates that people start infecting people with covid about 12 hours before they show symptoms.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
10 months ago

I’m not sure how anybody can know this and nor am I sure that any controlled experiments were done to actually ascertain this. I realize this has been repeated many times, but that doesn’t necessarily make it true. What I do know is that evidence for asymptomatic spread is extremely weak. What you are actually talking about is pre-symptomatic spread which is not quite the same as asymptomatic spread. During the pre-symptomatic period (the 12 hrs you are talking about), the patient is not free of symptoms. Rather they are free of severe symptoms. But they do exhibit symptoms whether a runny nose, a slight cough, a tinkling in the throat presaging a sore throat, etc….

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
10 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

We have people who were exhibiting no symptoms at all who appear to have infected people before they started gettting any. If they aren’t the source of the infections we traced, then we are even worse at tracing the source of infections than we thought, and we aren’t boasting about our skill in this matter.
The new people who are volunteering to be in the human challenge trail ought to settle the issue one way or another.

J Bryant
J Bryant
10 months ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Thank you.

James Longfield
James Longfield
10 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I have no idea who you are, but this post is insane. There was a great analogy stated about the effectiveness of masks. Think about throwing a handful of marbles at some scaffolding. Maybe 1 marble in a million might be blocked…. Covid particles are so small that even N-95 masks are unlikely to be effective……and then came Omnicrom……the common cold

Gordon Black
Gordon Black
10 months ago

…. or putting a chain-link fence round your house to keep out mosquitoes.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
10 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

“(b) what does the data tell us about how covid spreads?”
Well your starter for 10 might be this narrative review highlighting airborne transmission, cluster events, and presymptomatic transmission.
https://www.theinsight.org/p/the-gaslighting-of-science
and then more indigestibly there is this huge systematic review with international contributors looking at household transmission versus other settings :
https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/mrc-gida/2020-11-27-COVID19-Report-38.pdf 
and the easier to read summary :
https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/209673/covid-19-spread-different-social-settings-imperial/
and then just for fun there is this mediocre study trying to use childrens’ birthday parties as a surrogate measure of transmission events :
https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2031915?query=featured_home
and …. could go on and on.
If people meet the virus will transmit. How easily and rapidly that transmission occurs will vary acording to a list of factors that would fill 2 sides of an A4 piece of paper… at least.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months ago

Sounds like “we’re doomed” as Private Frazer said.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
10 months ago

Nope. Because transmission is meaningless unless it translates into hospitalisations, death or fast generation of more concerning mutations.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
10 months ago

“Heaven be praised”. Thank you.

brian ackerman
brian ackerman
10 months ago

How does one account for the efficacy of masks in ICU’s where they obviously work quite well in environments of enormous contagion? The problem with masks and masks mandates is that the government never provided actually GOOD masks to everyone, nor indicated what a good mask was, nor how to get one. I don’t argue that the way the mask mandates were done here were useless. Yes, they were hygiene theater. But that doesn’t resolve the issue at all.

Antony Hirst
Antony Hirst
10 months ago
Reply to  brian ackerman

But, how do you quantify the efficacy of masks in ICU to state they work quite well?

Mitsu Hadeishi
Mitsu Hadeishi
10 months ago
Reply to  Antony Hirst

Peer reviewed studies? It’s not difficult to find.

https://elifesciences.org/articles/71131