Danish Mask Study: Masks Do Not Protect From Coronavirus
The suppressed Danish mask study – the largest randomised controlled trial to date that had been rejected by three top journals, apparently on political grounds (read the interview with the authors here) – was finally published yesterday.
The headline result is that in the study masks do little or nothing to lower the infection rate. It found a 2.1% vs 1.8% infection rate for unmasked vs masked groups (with around 3,000 participants in each group initially). However, due to low virus prevalence these figures correspond to only 53 and 42 participants respectively so the authors had to state that the result is not statistically significant (too few infections to be confident it’s not random).
The most striking finding is that when you look at participants who report wearing face masks “exactly as instructed” as opposed to just “predominantly as instructed” the proportion infected rises from 1.8% to 2.0% (22 participants). This is the wrong way round – if masks are helping, using them better should reduce infections – and 2.0% is almost identical to the 2.1% infected without masks. This suggests the lower figure for all mask wearers was probably just noise.
A few more observations:
- Reported symptoms did not differ between those who wore masks and those who didn’t, giving no support to the masker theory that masks make the disease milder (or provide immunity) by reducing viral load.
- For other respiratory viruses the study found 0.5% vs 0.6% infection rate (9 vs 11 participants) for masks vs non-masks, so again almost the same, supporting the primary finding.
- Although 91 participants reported someone else in their household contracting COVID-19 during the study (52 masked and 39 non-masked), only three reported then catching it themselves – two with masks and one without. Strange, because the home is usually found to be a primary source of transmission.
- The study looks at protecting the wearer not others (i.e., source control, the usual justification for masks). It couldn’t look at source control as the study took place in April and May before masks were mandated or in widespread use.
With insufficient infections to achieve statistical significance, despite involving over 6,000 participants, the study leaves a need for further studies that are large enough and in areas of high enough prevalence to achieve statistical significance.
We can’t draw firm conclusions about precise differences in infection rates from this study. However, we can say that wearing a surgical mask even “exactly as instructed” does not appear to prevent infection completely – does not appear to prevent it much at all. And if that’s the case for surgical masks, how much more for cloth masks?
Also worth noting that mask mandates have not prevented the autumn surges in many countries around the world, and that maskless Sweden’s autumn rise in infections came somewhat later than elsewhere. None of this is supportive of masks.
The lead author of the study, Dr Henning Bundgaard, a cardiologist at the University of Copenhagen, tersely said: “Our study gives an indication of how much you gain from wearing a mask: Not a lot.”
Reading between the lines it seems the authors had to tone down their scepticism to get it past the editors and reviewers. They are at pains to stress that “this trial did not address the effects of masks as source control or as protection in settings where social distancing and other public health measures are not in effect.” The strongest they are allowed to get in their discussion is: “While we await additional data to inform mask recommendations, communities must balance the seriousness of COVID-19, uncertainty about the degree of source control and protective effect, and the absence of data suggesting serious adverse effects of masks.”
Absence of (scientific) evidence is not, of course, evidence of absence, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of the harm wearing masks does, as Professor Sucharit Bhakdi explains here regarding the impact of reducing oxygen supply on people with high blood pressure. One Lockdown Sceptics reader got in touch yesterday with a powerful personal illustration of this.
I thought you might be interested in this account of my trip to A&E the other night, after a suspected heart attack – false alarm, thanks for asking, I’m fine…
On arrival in A&E I was handed a face mask to put on – which I did, feeling a sort of civic duty as it was a set of special circumstances – and my underlying medical condition was at least in the right place to be resolved if I had any problems (I have had a heart attack previously, so have to ensure I do not suffer from cardiac ischaemia). Up to this point, when I had had my readings taken, both by the paramedics immediately after the incident at home, in the ambulance, and on my arrival in the hospital, my blood oxygen levels had been fine (97 – in case you are unaware, the normal range is 95 to 100 and hypoxia begins at 90).
After half an hour or so, I was moved into a side room – at which point, I took the mask off of one ear, as I was having trouble breathing properly through it, only putting it back on when a member of staff came in to check on me.
After I had been there for an hour, a nurse came to take my readings again and I had put the mask back on whilst she set things up and, after a couple of minutes of wearing the mask, my readings were taken and my blood oxygen had dropped to 93 – a drop of four points (there are only five between normal and hypoxia).
The first reaction of the nurse was to say that they were concerned because of the drop in oxygen, but that “it was probably just because of the mask”. I took it off one ear again so I could breathe normally and literally with each breath the reading went up by one, so after four breaths, I was back to where I had been without the mask.
From that point on, I left the mask off and, each time my hourly readings were taken, it remained at 97, so clearly the drop in oxygen levels was down to the mask. During this time – and I was there for six hours – not a single member of staff told me to put the mask back on and indeed I saw several staff sitting behind desks or in corridors with their masks removed.
There is a certain irony that before being taken to A&E, I had self-medicated with a spray to open my blood vessels to increase blood flow to the heart, but on admission to hospital I was given a piece of what can only be described as window dressing (or perhaps set dressing would be a more apt analogy) which actually counteracted the medication I had taken to ensure I did not suffer from ischaemia.
What I’d like to know is why extreme interventions with serious collateral harm like coercive mask-wearing and other restrictions on liberty don’t have to meet the same rigorous safety and efficacy criteria as vaccines and drugs. So-called “public health” needs a serious overhaul.
Stop Press: The Swiss Doctor has written about the Danish mask study, as well as other mask studies, here.
“We Can Now Bring About the Economic and Financial Union that We Have So Far Failed to Achieve by Political Means”
Sebastian Friebel, a former parliamentary adviser to the German Bundestag, has written a magisterial account of the supranational undemocratic forces using the public health crisis as a pivot for far-reaching change and the often sinister secrecy being used to achieve it. More of the convergent opportunism we have been highlighting on Lockdown Sceptics. Here’s the opening to whet your appetite.
Dear fellow citizens, I am addressing you as a non-partisan former employee of the German Bundestag with the function of a parliamentary adviser. As a result of my work in parliament and in a parliamentary group, I have become aware that the people in our country are being deliberately deprived of information on the corona crisis which is of crucial importance for assessing the situation. In view of the enormous significance of recent events, I consider it my duty to my fellow citizens to raise these issues publicly. So as to be able to express myself as freely as possible on these issues, I have resigned from my position in the Bundestag.
I suppose many will lay this text aside after just a few lines because they feel sufficiently informed about all aspects of the crisis. I understand this, because I too used to assumed that, when major events occur, we citizens would always be apprised of the background facts. But in the meantime, not least because of my experiences in parliament, I have been obliged to recognise the methods used worldwide by governments, the media and major players in the global economy to the detriment of us all, and to see that often the population is regrettably too uncritical in its response. I hope that despite this widespread lack of concern about political developments, some of you will at least check out the information provided here.
Some of what I report in the following will be considered by many readers as impossible and will be firmly rejected. I would like to say to these people that in publishing this report I am taking on considerable personal risk, and I would not dare to take this step if I were unsure of my statements. I do not want to say much about myself at this point. You, dear reader, only need to know the following about me: I am writing this report in sincere concern for the security, freedom and prosperity of us all. These fundamental pillars of our democracy are acutely endangered because the Corona crisis is being instrumentalised, and our legitimate concerns about the virus being exploited for third-party objectives.
GP Consultations For Respiratory Infections Declining Before Lockdown II
The CEBM team have updated their graph on GP consultations for respiratory infections in England and Wales. It shows consultations peaking in the week of October 19th-26th, well before lockdown began.
The RCGP surveillance data reports trends for Influenza-Like Illness (ILI), upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) and lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI), along with weekly data on COVID-19 case investigations. The data comes from over four million patients in a network of general practices across England and Wales.
The figure shows that rates of confirmed COVID-19, URTIs and LRTIs rose in September. Rates of consultations for respiratory tract infections, however, are significantly lower than they were a year ago.
In the week commencing the November 11th 2019, LRTI’s consults were 9.4 per 10,000 and URTI rates were 19.3 per 10,000 about four-fold higher than current consultation rates.
Last year, rates of URTI consultations peaked in the week of December 16th at 30 per 100,000 population and with LRTI rates of 14.7 per 10,000.
The current data suggest that COVID-19 consultations peaked in the week commencing October 19th in primary care and are currently waning (there can be a delay in data though coming through that might change some of the estimates, particularly in the last two weeks).
Remind me again why the Government is proposing to tighten restrictions after December 2nd when clearly whatever we were doing in October was ample, and probably more than enough?
Why is Lockdown Always the Answer?
In light of the maddening news yesterday of the perma-lockdown that awaits us after December 2nd, Ross Clark in the Telegraph bemoans the Catch-22 we now live in where every piece of evidence is taken as justification for tightening the screws.
The Government’s fetish for incarcerating its own citizens is growing stronger by the day. Britain has become a giant Guantanamo Bay of Covid control, maintained by invisible fences of call centres and fines. Worse, the creeping nature of it has meant that we never get any proper debate as to what price we really want to pay to suppress the virus.
We are fed daily with graphs and charts showing the numbers of new infections, hospitalisations and deaths. But we never get the other side of the ledger (not from the Government or its scientists anyway): the impact on our mental health, on other medical conditions and deaths caused by seriously ill people failing to seek timely medical attention, or the price we are going to pay through deprivation caused by economic decline.
We get dribs and drabs – such as the figures put out by the ONS this morning, revealing a huge rise in people admitting to feeling lonely – but they never make it to Downing Street briefings, and still less do ministers allow them to be used in a public debate as to what lockdown is actually achieving. All public policy has been reduced to this one, narrow aim of reducing Covid numbers.
But whatever happens, it seems to mean more lockdown. Like the poor wretches dragged off to medieval ducking stools – who were judged innocent if they drowned, found guilty of witchcraft and burned alive if they survived the ducking – we can’t win. If Covid numbers fall it is taken as a sign that lockdown is working, and must therefore be prolonged. If Covid numbers rise, it is taken as a sign we must have even tougher lockdown. Never mind that Covid numbers were already levelling off before the second lockdown was called, very sharply so in Tier 3 areas such as Liverpool and Nottingham.
Worth reading in full.
Postcard From Zanzibar
Lockdown Sceptics reader Matthew Sample has discovered one of Africa’s havens from the Covid insanity. Sounds amazing.
Following a pleasant ‘Covid-lite’ holiday in Sweden in September I set about investigating other countries which do not impose serious Covid restrictions. My eyes alighted on a Daily Telegraph article written by a lady who had recently spent an idyllic holiday in Zanzibar, free of such rules and restrictions. I booked a flight.
I have now been in Zanzibar for over two weeks. Bliss. Lovely warm sunny weather (with the occasional heavy shower), incredibly beautiful beaches with crystal clear turquoise sea, some excellent bars, cafés and restaurants, comfortable accommodation, cheerful welcoming locals and plenty of sights and activities to interest a holiday-maker. All relatively inexpensive. But most significantly, NO Covid rules or restrictions.
On arrival in Zanzibar via Nairobi (where staff and some passengers sported masks and PPE as if in a biological war zone) we were welcomed at Zanzibar airport where no staff, or locals, were wearing face-masks and no requirement for an expensive ‘Covid negative’ certificate (someone is making a mint from these ‘Profits of Doom’!). After a visa and passport check with a welcoming smile we were wished a happy stay.
Now I have no idea how much ‘Covid’ is prevalent in Zanzibar or Tanzania in general, all I do know is that nobody is in the least bit fussed about it. There are no gloomy statistics or graphs published daily (or at all) to alarm and terrify people. After all, this part of Africa is subject to many more serious endemic illnesses and diseases and nobody has ever wet themselves over these, not even tourists. Malaria? Prophylactic anti-malaria pills always come with the proviso that they are not 100% effective. All I do know is that both locals and tourists (yes, there are quite a few, although not as many as they would like) are happily free of any sense of the fear or paranoia over Covid that so afflicts the West. No silly face-masks anywhere and no anti-social distancing. People even shake each other’s hands without a second thought. Heaven forbid in UK! Life is absolutely normal and, as far as I have observed, people are not keeling over in droves due to Covid. It is an enlightening and pleasant experience which is favourably remarked upon by tourists in the places I have visited.
From my point of view, I would much rather live like this, even with the risk of getting a ‘bug’, than exist with my freedom and social life grossly curtailed under draconian, and probably ineffective, anti-social ‘lockdown’ restrictions cowed behind a de-humanising, fear inducing and probably useless face-mask. How have so many people in UK become so risk-averse that they will tolerate (indeed often encourage) any ‘rules’, however illogical and restrictive, to make them feel ‘safe’? Nothing in life is totally safe and our freedom to take risks should be sacrosanct.
I was due to return after two weeks. I have cancelled my return ticket.
Read Matthew’s blog, with more from his lockdown-free travels, here.
Postcard From China
A reader writes to tell us of life back to normal in China.
I’ve just had a fascinating video chat with a friend in China. I had a virtual tour of her, largely student, locality – shops, food-halls etc. It was a busy and bustling place with no social distancing and hardly anyone wearing masks. Life is entirely back to normal. The Government line is that the only ‘cases’ of the virus are coming from people who travel in from abroad – hence why they have mandatory quarantine hotels where inbound travellers are taken, by Government officials, for two weeks upon arrival (at your own expense). I find it somewhat difficult to believe that a country with such large and dense population centres has managed to eradicate a virus not dissimilar in terms of ease of transition to the common cold. So one is forced to ask – where are the overflowing hospitals and morgues? If there were overflowing hospitals and morgues which the government propaganda machine were hiding, the people would still know and you would see changed behaviour rather than people carrying on as normal. How ironic that the place where SARS-CoV-2 originated has simply moved on from the issue while much of the rest of the world flounders.
The floated reasons that China (and other East Asian countries like Taiwan) have not been so badly affected by Covid range from conspiracy theories and exaggerated claims of the efficacy of their responses to the much more likely proposals of greater pre-existing immunity and the simple realisation that a country can cope without extreme measures.
The Great Escape – to a Welsh Pub!
A Lockdown Sceptics reader has sent us a delightful account of how he achieved a fleeting moment of freedom over the border.
It was a trivial bid for freedom, but important to me.
I live in England where pubs and restaurants are currently closed, without public consultation or consent. I find this fundamentally offensive. I believe it should be up to individual citizens to choose what risks to accept, but apparently we can’t be trusted, so I am not allowed to have a traditional pint in the presence of other consenting adults, under a Conservative government with a large majority.
I live an hour or so from the Welsh border. After a fanatical two week ‘firebreak’, Wales now has less restrictions than England. So I took a train from England to Wales, with the one intent of having a pint in a pub, as a free man.
This was a predictably surreal experience. All the trains are running as normal, despite having few if any passengers. They are plastered with labels, as are the platforms: SIT HERE, DON’T SIT HERE, DON’T SIT HERE, though this is not the case with the seats on the train, where you can sit as close to another passenger as you and they choose. Clearly the virus is more potent on the platform.
I didn’t know what to expect. I had a ‘reasonable excuse’ prepared were I to be challenged, but the guard stayed in his office and there was no-one else around in any case. In my imagination I had anticipated feeling like an escaped prisoner of war on the run. In reality I had an entire train to myself.
The people in the Welsh town I visited are obviously depressed and fearful, as much about what the next random Government decision may be as about the virus. The talk in Costa Coffee was subdued, but this was nothing compared to the pub, in which the staff (of one) was as well protected as he would be in an infectious disease unit. All that was missing was the airlock.
I was asked for my name and number, and then my postcode: “We’re not allowed to serve people from over the border.” This called for quick thinking. “Well,” I said, “I don’t have a Welsh postcode or an English one. But I do have a New Zealand postcode, would you like that?” Happily, this response seemed to transcend the known rules and I was able to take a table in the otherwise empty pub.
My lunchtime pint was delivered and, though the environment was cold, miserable, and uninviting, I savoured my drink.
I don’t think having an illicit pint is particularly noble, and I can understand that some people may think me irresponsible for breaking the rules, even though the rules were quite different a few days ago. But for me it was an expression of my rights, and I am prepared to defend my actions in front of anyone and any court.
My need to be free is more deep-seated than the apparent haven of conformity. I think that sooner or later this will be so for more and more people. If we are prevented from making choices then there is no reason for us to exist. Repressing personal judgement is an existential insult. I believe we must resist in whatever ways we can.
“You’re Being Led Down the Garden Path by the Chief Medical Officer of Hell”
The following is a transcript of the talk delivered by Dr Roger Hodkinson to a private meeting of Alberta government officials that we linked to yesterday, kindly provided by a number of Lockdown Sceptics readers – thank you!
Thank you very much and I do appreciate the opportunity to address you on this very important matter. And what I’m going to say is lay language and blunt. It’s counter-narrative and so you don’t immediately think I’m a quack, I’m going to briefly outline my credentials so that you can understand where I’m coming from in terms of knowledge base in all of this.
I’m a medical specialist in pathology which includes virology. I trained at Cambridge University in the UK. I’m the ex-president of the pathology section of the medical association. I was previously an assistant professor in the faculty of medicine doing a lot of teaching. I was the chairman of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada Examination Committee in Pathology in Ottawa. But more to the point I’m currently the chairman of a biotechnology company in North Carolina selling a COVID-19 test and you might say I know a little bit about all this.
The bottom line is simply this: there is utterly unfounded public hysteria driven by the media and politicians. It’s outrageous. This is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting public. There is absolutely nothing that can be done to contain this virus other than protecting older, more vulnerable people. It should be thought of nothing more than a bad flu season. This is not Ebola, it’s not SARS. It’s politics playing medicine and that’s a very dangerous game.
There is no action of any kind needed other than what happened last year when we felt unwell. We stayed home, we took chicken noodle soup, we didn’t visit granny. And we decided when we would return to work, we didn’t need anyone to tell us.
Masks are utterly useless, there is no evidence based for their effectiveness whatsoever. Paper masks and fabric masks are simply virtue signalling, they’re not even worn effectively most of the time. It’s utterly ridiculous seeing these unfortunate, uneducated people and, not saying that in a pejorative sense, seeing these people walking around like lemmings, obeying without any knowledge base, to put the mask on their face.
Social distancing is also useless because Covid is spread by aerosols which travel 30 metres or so before landing. Enclosures have had such terrible unintended consequences. They should everywhere be open tomorrow as was stated in the Great Barrington Declaration that I circulated prior to this meeting.
And a word on testing. I do want to emphasise that I’m in the business of testing for Covid. I do want to emphasise that positive test results do not – underlined in neon – mean a clinical infection. It’s simply driving public hysteria and all testing should stop unless you’re presenting to hospital with some respiratory problem.
All that should be done is to protect the vulnerable and to give them all in the nursing homes that are under your control, give them all three to five thousand international units of Vitamin D every day, which has been shown to radically reduce the likelihood of infection.
And I would remind you all that using the province’s own statistics the risk of death under 65 in this province is one in 300,000, one in three hundred thousand, you’ve got to get a grip on this. The scale of the response that you’re undertaking with no evidence for it is utterly ridiculous.
Given the consequences of acting in a way that you’re proposing, all kinds of suicides, business closures, funerals, weddings, etc. etc., it’s simply outrageous. It’s just another bad flu and you’ve got to get your minds around that. Let people make their own decisions. You should be totally out of the business of medicine. You’re being led down the garden path by the chief medical officer of hell for this province. I’m absolutely outraged that this has reached this level, it should all stop tomorrow. Thank you very much.
- “A ban on exercise, crazy fines and only 22 Covid cases – welcome to Australia’s latest lockdown” – The extraordinary tyranny of Zero Covid strikes again, from the Telegraph. And this is summer in Oz
- “Immunity to the Coronavirus May Last Years, New Data Hint” – The rest of the world gradually catching up with T-cell immunity, in the New York Times
- “UK Met Police call on citizens to snitch on lockdown breachers using online reporting tool” – Another step towards the totalitarian state, from Reclaim the Net
- “Dispatches uncovers serious failings at one of UK’s largest COVID-Testing Labs” – The Channel 4 exposé is now available to view
- “How Finland and Norway Proved Sweden’s Approach to COVID-19 Works” – Jon Miltimore on the Foundation for Economic Education blog on the countries that wisely learned from Sweden
- “Number of Covid patients in hospital is still rising but ICU admissions are FALLING” – The Sun keeps up with the strange Covid stats
- “Christine Lagarde Says Covid Vaccine ‘No Game Changer’ for ECB Stimulus Plans” – Even a vaccine isn’t expected to end the crisis now it seems, from Bloomberg
- “Inside the longest lockdown in the world” – Luke Taylor in UnHerd on the devastating, ineffective lockdowns in South America. Good time to recap our excellent “Postcard from Argentina” here
- “German police turn water cannon on coronavirus protesters in Berlin” – More heavy-handed tactics reported in the Telegraph
- “Britons vaccinated against Covid ‘may get QR codes on their mobile phones to allow them into football matches’” – Further hints about the not-so-voluntary vaccine in the Mail
- “Christmas should not be cancelled” – Watch Sir Desmond Swayne MP on talkRADIO yesterday
- “Suicide claimed more Japanese lives in October than 10 months of COVID” – Shocking story from CBS that October’s 2,153 suicides outnumber the less than 2,000 total Covid deaths in the country, 600 up on last October and including many more women
- “Metropolitan Police counter-terror chief Neil Basu calls for action on coronavirus anti-vaxxers” – More policing of speech for “public health” reasons in the Evening Standard
- “We need to protect the free speech of dissident doctors” – The Covid Physician in the Critic on the importance of letting medical professionals speak freely into public health debates
- “New York City will close schools for in-person learning to curb Covid outbreak, Mayor de Blasio says” – The return of school closures, in CNBC
- “The case for mandatory vaccination” – Interesting pre-Covid article by Liam Drew in Nature published last November which shows that Matt Hancock had already at that point announced that the government had taken legal advice on how it might make vaccinations compulsory
- “Keep windows open this winter to stop Covid spread, government says” – A plan with no drawbacks, from the Times
- “One day of Christmas freedom will mean five days of tighter Covid restrictions, health chiefs warn” – If only infections had been falling before lockdown. Oh wait… From the Telegraph
- “Portuguese Court Rules PCR Tests As Unreliable and Unlawful To Quarantine People” – The first English language report of this landmark decision in the Portuguese Court of Appeal, apart from the one in Lockdown Sceptics three days ago
Theme Tunes Suggested by Readers
Love in the Time of Covid
We have created some Lockdown Sceptics Forums, including a dating forum called “Love in a Covid Climate” that has attracted a bit of attention. We have a team of moderators in place to remove spam and deal with the trolls, but sometimes it takes a little while so please bear with us. You have to register to use the Forums, but that should just be a one-time thing. Any problems, email the Lockdown Sceptics webmaster Ian Rons here.
Sharing stories: Some of you have asked how to link to particular stories on Lockdown Sceptics. The answer used to be to first click on “Latest News”, then click on the links that came up beside the headline of each story. But we’ve changed that so the link now comes up beside the headline whether you’ve clicked on “Latest News” or you’re just on the Lockdown Sceptics home page. Please do share the stories with your friends and on social media.
We’ve decided to create a permanent slot down here for woke gobbledegook. Today, we’re bringing you some interesting historical data about the origins of “taking the knee”, the supplicant gesture favoured by British police officers when faced with Black Lives Matter protestors.
At one stage, it was widely believed to have originated on Game of Thrones, in which various conquered leaders had to “take the knee” before their conqueror to show fealty to their new master. Not so fast, said the professors of woke-logy (or should that be woke professors?). It was not an act of genuflection, but a way of protesting about the unfair treatment of black people, particularly in America, as devised by the NFL player Colin Kaepernick in 2016.
But an enterprising Lockdown Sceptics reader has found an instance of “taking the knee” that predates both of these – a photograph of a group of white businessmen professing their loyalty to the Ugandan leader Idi Amin. Their willingness to “take the knee” before the tyrant was not surprising, given that he boasted of keeping the decapitated heads of his enemies in his freezer.
History doesn’t record when this photograph was taken, but it accompanies this article by Tatenda Gwaambuka in the African Exponent that’s well worth a read. He reckons Amin was responsible for the deaths of anything between 100,000 to half a million people.
Next time someone tells you that “taking the knee” is a sign of just how compassionate and progressive they are, you might point them towards this picture. Unless they’re your boss, in which case you probably shouldn’t.
“Mask Exempt” Lanyards
We’ve created a one-stop shop down here for people who want to buy (or make) a “Mask Exempt” lanyard/card. You can print out and laminate a fairly standard one for free here and it has the advantage of not explicitly claiming you have a disability. But if you have no qualms about that (or you are disabled), you can buy a lanyard from Amazon saying you do have a disability/medical exemption here (takes a while to arrive). The Government has instructions on how to download an official “Mask Exempt” notice to put on your phone here. You can get a “Hidden Disability” tag from ebay here and an “exempt” card with lanyard for just £1.99 from Etsy here. And, finally, if you feel obliged to wear a mask but want to signal your disapproval of having to do so, you can get a “sexy world” mask with the Swedish flag on it here.
Don’t forget to sign the petition on the UK Government’s petitions website calling for an end to mandatory face masks in shops here.
A reader has started a website that contains some useful guidance about how you can claim legal exemption.
If you’re a shop owner and you want to let your customers know you want be insisting on face masks or asking them what their reasons for exemption are, you can download a friendly sign to stick in your window here.
And here’s an excellent piece about the ineffectiveness of masks by a Roger W. Koops, who has a doctorate in organic chemistry.
Stop Press: Good riposte from Laura Perrins on Conservative Woman to the topsy-turvy idea that it is the uncovered human face that is scary.
The Great Barrington Declaration
The Great Barrington Declaration, a petition started by Professor Martin Kulldorff, Professor Sunetra Gupta and Professor Jay Bhattacharya calling for a strategy of “Focused Protection” (protect the elderly and the vulnerable and let everyone else get on with life), was launched last month and the lockdown zealots have been doing their best to discredit it ever since. If you Googled it a week after launch, the top hits were three smear pieces from the Guardian, including: “Herd immunity letter signed by fake experts including ‘Dr Johnny Bananas’.” (Freddie Sayers at UnHerd warned us about this the day before it appeared.) On the bright side, Google UK has stopped shadow banning it, so the actual Declaration now tops the search results – and Toby’s Spectator piece about the attempt to suppress it is among the top hits – although discussion of it has been censored by Reddit. The reason the zealots hate it, of course, is that it gives the lie to their claim that “the science” only supports their strategy. These three scientists are every bit as eminent – more eminent – than the pro-lockdown fanatics so expect no let up in the attacks. (Wikipedia has also done a smear job.)
You can find it here. Please sign it. Now over 650,000 signatures.
Update: The authors of the GDB have expanded the FAQs to deal with some of the arguments and smears that have been made against their proposal. Worth reading in full.
Update 2: Many of the signatories of the Great Barrington Declaration are involved with new UK anti-lockdown campaign Recovery. Find out more and join here.
Update 4: The three GBD authors plus Prof Carl Heneghan of CEBM have launched a new website collateralglobal.org, “a global repository for research into the collateral effects of the COVID-19 lockdown measures”.
Judicial Reviews Against the Government
There are now so many JRs being brought against the Government and its ministers, we thought we’d include them all in one place down here.
First, there’s the Simon Dolan case. You can see all the latest updates and contribute to that cause here.
Then there’s the Robin Tilbrook case. You can read about that and contribute here.
Then there’s John’s Campaign which is focused specifically on care homes. Find out more about that here.
There’s the GoodLawProject’s Judicial Review of the Government’s award of lucrative PPE contracts to various private companies. You can find out more about that here and contribute to the crowdfunder here.
The Night Time Industries Association has instructed lawyers to JR any further restrictions on restaurants, pubs and bars.
If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans for free on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch. Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, providing a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them.
It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.Mark Twain
Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.Charles Mackay
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.Benjamin Franklin
To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good, or else that it’s a well-considered act in conformity with natural law. Fortunately, it is in the nature of the human being to seek a justification for his actions…
Ideology – that is what gives the evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination.Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you never should trust experts. If you believe the doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require to have their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
Nothing would be more fatal than for the Government of States to get into the hands of experts. Expert knowledge is limited knowledge and the unlimited ignorance of the plain man, who knows where it hurts, is a safer guide than any rigorous direction of a specialist.Sir Winston Churchill
If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science.Richard Feynman
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.C.S. Lewis
The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.Albert Camus
We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.Carl Sagan
Political language – and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists – is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.George Orwell
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.Marcus Aurelius
Shameless Begging Bit
Thanks as always to those of you who made a donation in the past 24 hours to pay for the upkeep of this site. Doing these daily updates is hard work (although we have help from lots of people, mainly in the form of readers sending us stories and links). If you feel like donating, please click here. And if you want to flag up any stories or links we should include in future updates, email us here. (Don’t assume we’ll pick them up in the comments.)