Mask Mandates

We Know the Damage Lockdowns Did to Our Children, So Never Again

There follows a guest post by Hugh McCarthy, a retired Headteacher in Northern Ireland who until recently served as a Director on two of the province’s main education councils and who remains a ministerial appointment on one.

The damage to our children highlighted in recent reports and briefly summarised below should act as a clarion call and a warning that we should never close schools again, never send children home to isolate and avoid wearing masks around children. And the whole edifice has been based on the fear-inducing, ineffective and harm-causing masks and the totally misleading and flawed PCR tests.

As I revealed in these two articles, the tragedy is the evidence was there from the start, before we inflicted such damaging policies on our children.

This article addresses the question, What do we do now?

First, a brief reminder of what the education reports found. The Ofsted report highlighted a huge range of damaging impacts including:

  • delays in babies’ physical development;
  • a generation of babies struggling to crawl and communicate;
  • toddlers struggling with speech and language;
  • regression in children’s independence.

U.S. Government Tells Americans to Put Their Masks Back On

U.S. Federal Government health officials have told Americans they should wear masks again in areas with high coronavirus infection rates. Yahoo! News has more.

Desperate to keep the coronavirus pandemic from spoiling a third consecutive summer, federal public health officials said Wednesday that masking should return in parts of the country with rapidly rising rates of infection. But although cases have been rising for several weeks, local and state leaders have thus far shown little willingness to reimpose mask mandates, even in Democratic municipalities and states.

“We urge local leaders to encourage the use of prevention strategies like masking and public indoor setting and increasing access to testing and to treatment,” the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said at a briefing Wednesday of the White House pandemic response team.

She also said that given the efficacy of one-way masking and over-the-counter availability of testing, people did not need to wait for Government action to take action of their own.

“In areas where community levels are high, everyone should be using prevention measures and wearing a mask in public indoor settings,” Walensky said, adding that in areas of moderate community spread, people should “consider” masking as well, based on individual risk factors like age and overall health.

She noted that 32% of Americans now live in a community with high or moderate coronavirus levels, an increase of 8% since the previous week. Hospitalisations are rising, too, though deaths remain at a relatively low level, a testament to the effectiveness of treatments like Paxlovid.

Testament to Paxlovid? Pfizer will be pleased with the plug, but I’d have thought it has far more to do with the mildness of Omicron, which the CDC itself has said is 91% less deadly than Delta.

Worth reading in full.

Why Does Your Doctor Want to Keep You Masked?

There follows a guest post by Paul Stevens, who is part of the Smile Free campaign to end forced masking in the U.K., which is currently inviting signatures to its open letter to the NHS Chief Executives to remove the mask requirement from healthcare settings.

Walk into your General Practitioner surgery and what will you see? Notices demanding that you ‘wear a mask’ and people with ill-fitting face coverings, most of which having been frequently touched, reused, rarely washed and improperly stored.

By contrast, in public spaces such as hospitality venues, retail settings and transportation hubs, you’ll find a lack of signage and a marked reduction in mask-wearing. More and more, people aren’t wearing them.

It’s as if we are living in two worlds: one where we have begun to return to a rational unmasked normality; and one, in healthcare settings including GP surgeries, where we are instructed to remain featureless and compliant with the facemask diktats of nameless NHS bureaucrats.

To understand how, and why, these worlds co-exist we need to start by looking at the frame of reference within which GPs operate. As independent contractors, for all intents and purposes GPs work within the NHS; and many are members of a single body, the British Medical Association (BMA). The NHS and BMA, one guiding and enabling the other, have played major parts in establishing and maintaining masking within healthcare settings.

The NHS has been a major advocate of masking and, as published on the Government’s “COVID-19: Infection prevention and control” (IPC) webpages, its current guidance for mask-wearing within health and care settings remains that facemasks for staff and facemasks or coverings for all patients and visitors are “recommended”.

Italy Wears its Covid Scars Like a Badge of Honour

Genoa, one of the Italian playgrounds of the super-rich is a city of lap dog lovers. There is no shortage of dogs, or dog turds. But there does seem to be a shortage of poop bags and it was not uncommon on my morning run along the Corso Italia this week to see a face-masked dog walker allowing his dog to leave another infectious deposit of poo, walk away and leave it steaming in the middle of the promenade.

I have just returned from Italy where the proclaimed lifting of Covid restrictions refers only to the paperwork associated with entering and leaving the country. Masks are still very much in evidence and a great deal of this is self-imposed. If not actually wearing a mask, nearly everyone has a mask around their wrist, like a talisman of which they just cannot let go. Normality will only ever be regained when the metaphorical masks are lifted from the minds of the Italian people.

My regular visits to Italy have allowed me to observe over time the reaction of the country to the emergence of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Italy was quick off the mark in the early days of the global panic and, indeed, amongst the first to panic. I returned to the U.K. from Wuhan late in 2019 to discover I had left an epidemic behind me. While we only began hearing about the coronavirus early in 2020 it had already been making its way through the sick and vulnerable in Wuhan since at least November 2019, certainly coinciding with my five weeks in the city in November and December 2019. I had travelled on crowded trains and taxis, eaten in crowded restaurants and taught in packed lecture rooms with impunity. My initial reaction, and one which has not attenuated, was that this was just another virus, it would kill a few old folks like me and some of the more clinically vulnerable amongst us and leave the vast majority alive and unscathed. And that is exactly what happened.

Face Masks Lead to Breathing Dangerous Levels of Carbon Dioxide Even When Sitting Still, Study Finds

Wearing a face mask results in exposure to dangerous concentrations of carbon dioxide in inhaled air, even when the mask is worn for just five minutes when sitting still, a study has found.

With surgical masks, the CO2 concentration of inhaled air exceeded the danger zone of 5,000 ppm in 40% of cases. With FFP2 respirators it exceeded it in 99% of cases. The CO2 concentrations were higher for children and for those who breathed more frequently.

The study, a pre-print (not yet peer-reviewed) from a team in Italy, used a technique called capnography to take the measurements of CO2 in inhaled air over the course of five minutes, following a ten minute period of rest, with participants seated, silent and breathing only through the nose. A medic took measurements at minutes three, four and five, with an average of the three measurements being used in the analysis.

The study found the mean CO2 concentration of inhaled air without masks was 458 ppm. While wearing a surgical mask, the mean CO2 was over 10 times higher at 4,965 ppm, exceeding 5,000 ppm in 40.2% of the measurements. While wearing an FFP2 respirator, the average CO2 was nearly double again at 9,396 ppm, with 99.0% of participants showing values higher than 5,000 ppm. Among children under 18, the mean CO2 concentration while wearing a surgical mask was well above the safe limit at 6,439 ppm; for an FFP2 respirator it was nearly double again at 12,847 ppm. The researchers found that breaths per minute only had to increase by three, to 18, for the mean concentration to reach 5,271 ppm in a surgical mask and breach the safe limit.

Mask Mandate Dropped for Air Travel in Europe

Face masks will no longer be mandatory in airports and on flights in Europe from May 16th amid the easing of coronavirus restrictions in European countries. MailOnline has more.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said it hoped the joint decision, made with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), would mark “a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel” for passengers and crews.

The agencies said the levels of vaccination, naturally acquired immunity and the lifting of Covid restrictions in many European countries were behind the decision to lift the mandatory mask recommendation, which has been in place since 2020.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” the EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said.

Italy, France, Bulgaria and other European countries have been relaxing or ending many or all of their measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Slowly but surely… Though will masks return in winter? Some American cities have already brought back their mask mandate.

And when will America let the unvaccinated back in and drop its tourism-killing testing requirements?

Worth reading in full.

We Must Find a Way to Prevent Bill Gates from Preventing the Next Pandemic

We’re publishing a guest post by blogger “Eugyppius”, where he reviews Bill Gates’s new book, How to Prevent the Next Pandemic. This post was originally published on Eugyppius’s Substack account, which you can subscribe to here.

For days now, I’ve been fighting my way through Bill Gates’s disturbing new book on How to Prevent the Next Pandemic, and I’ve found myself wondering about one question above all:

How are we to explain Gates, exactly?

I know that for many of you he is a calculating conspiratorial goon. Pretend for a moment that he’s not, though. Imagine, for the sake of argument, that he’s every inch the obtuse, naïve and self-important former software developer that he seems to be. How did he get this way, what does he even think he is doing, and what can it mean?

Remember that this man has billions of dollars. A whole world of unusual vices stands open to him: He could hire a mercenary army to invade some country and proclaim himself god-emperor for life. He could retire to a tropical island with his favourite mind-altering substances and a harem of nubile young women. He could do both at once, and other things besides. Instead, he has chosen the path of moral vanity, perhaps the least interesting vice of all, founding a ponderous grantmaking foundation and pooping around the globe in manboobs and ill-fitting polo shirts, pronouncing to all and sundry on subjects he hardly understands.

South Africa Brings in Restrictions to Combat New Variants – But is the ‘Wave’ Already Running Out of Steam?

South Africa has ramped up its restrictions again in response to the recent reported rise in infections associated with new subvariants Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 as the southerly country heads into winter.

South Africa never lifted its mask mandate and, though the mandate was due to end this week, has now extended it. It never lifted it despite the country skipping the Omicron BA.2 wave and having low infection levels for months, its original Omicron wave being much smaller than in other countries (see below) and the variant anyway being considerably milder and posing no threat.

Indian Supreme Court Rules Vaccine Mandates Unlawful as Courts Around the World Push Back Against Pandemic State Overreach

It’s been over two years since waves of ever tightening restrictions, including wholesale house arrests, began to be placed on healthy citizens who had committed no crime. One by one, the world’s democracies buckled to the herd panic about the Covid pandemic sweeping the world and their governments increasingly took on hues of totalitarian regimes in telling people when, where, how far, how long and with whom and how many they could go out or even sleep with; what businesses could operate and under what conditions; what medications doctors could and could not prescribe irrespective of their own professional judgement and knowledge of their patients; and mandatory mask and vaccine requirements for an array of social and professional interactions.

Many directives lacked scientific basis and some were downright wacky – there really is no better word for it. The apotheosis of executive overreach came in Canada with the truckers’ Freedom Convoy in Ottawa and in the Australian state of Victoria. In both, MPs betrayed the people, the country and the constitution by putting their own careers first, the party second and the country last. The unchecked growth of the administrative state and centralisation of authority, power and decision-making in prime ministers’ and premiers’ offices fused seamlessly into the rise of the biofascist state. Complicity by the media in propagating fear porn, social media censorship of alternative voices and threats of disciplinary proceedings including dismissal and deregistration by professional governing bodies ensured there’s been a stifling conformism.

Why Healthcare Settings Should Drop Their Mask Requirements

Dr. Gary Sidley, a former NHS Consultant Psychologist and co-founder of Smile Free, has a piece in the Critic today criticising the persistence of widespread masking in healthcare settings and summarising the evidence for why masks are a bad idea.

Over recent weeks there has been a marked reduction in the number of people wearing face coverings in retail settings, hospitality venues and on public transport. Given the ineffectiveness of masks in reducing viral transmission, together with the multiple harms associated with them, this transition is both rational and welcome. Paradoxically, the prominent exceptions to this return to a mask-free society are NHS facilities and venues allied to health. Widespread masking of both staff and patrons persists in all hospitals, health centres and GP practices, and most dentists, opticians and pharmacies.

A sphere of society where one might reasonably expect a reliance upon evidence-based practice, is now the outlier in persisting with the unscientific and pervasively damaging mass-masking phenomenon. More troublingly, healthcare’s insistence that staff and visitors continue to wear masks constitutes additional risks to the wellbeing of the people who use these services. Some of the general harms of face coverings are likely to be particularly problematic in these settings, including:

Impaired communication

Clear communication is a central requirement for effective healthcare. By muffling speech and hiding non-verbal signals, masks significantly impede the efficiency of information sharing, potentially impairing the professional’s understanding of the clinical problem and the patient’s understanding of the recommended therapeutic intervention. Those with hearing impairment (estimated to be about one-in-six of the UK population), who often rely on lip-reading, will suffer the most. Given that the elderly population are frequent users of health services, those impacted by this mask-induced communication problem will be even higher in these settings. And the consequences of muffled speech in hospitals can sometimes be catastrophic.

Increased risk of falls in the elderly

By blocking parts of the lower peripheral visual field, and causing spectacles to steam up, masks will increase the risk of falls in older people with ongoing mobility difficulties. Injuries, such as fractured femurs, are more prevalent in the elderly. Expecting face coverings from this demographic, the most regular visitors to healthcare facilities, can only exacerbate the risk.

Aggravation of respiratory problems

For patients with existing respiratory problems, the requirement to cover their airways with cloth or plastic will often inflict additional distress. Masks can make breathing more difficult, a problem likely to be more apparent after long periods of wear, such as those routinely experienced in hospital Accident and Emergency departments. Furthermore, face coverings can inflate the risk of acquiring pneumonia and other respiratory diseases. One study found for example that as little as four hours of wearing a cloth or plastic mask increased vulnerability to bacterial infection. There are also the largely unknown risks from the inhalation of micro-plastics and the exposure to contaminants in the textiles.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Double-masking offers people no more protection than single-masking and may increase their risk of becoming infected, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins University and Florida State University. MailOnline has more.