The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to determine the effect of lockdowns, also referred to as ‘Covid restrictions’, ‘social distancing measures’ etc., on COVID-19 mortality based on available empirical evidence. We define lockdowns as the imposition of at least one compulsory, non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI). We employ a systematic search and screening procedure in which 19,646 studies are identified that could potentially address the purpose of our study. After three levels of screening, 32 studies qualified. Of those, estimates from 22 studies could be converted to standardised measures for inclusion in the metaanalysis.
- Misinformation #1: Natural immunity offers little protection compared to vaccinated immunity
- Misinformation #2: Masks prevent Covid transmission
- Misinformation #3: School closures reduce Covid transmission
- Misinformation #5: Young people benefit from a vaccine booster
- Misinformation #6: Vaccine mandates increased vaccination rates
- Misinformation #7: Covid originating from the Wuhan Lab is a conspiracy theory
- Misinformation #8: It was important to get the 2nd vaccine dose 3 or 4 weeks after the 1st dose
- Misinformation #8: It was important to get the 2nd vaccine dose 3 or 4 weeks after the 1st dose
- Misinformation #9: Data on the bivalent vaccine is “crystal clear”
- Misinformation #10: One in five people get long Covid
But whatever the reason, mask mandates were a fool’s errand from the start. They may have created a false sense of safety — and thus permission to resume semi-normal life. They did almost nothing to advance safety itself. The Cochrane report ought to be the final nail in this particular coffin.
There’s a final lesson. The last justification for masks is that, even if they proved to be ineffective, they seemed like a relatively low-cost, intuitively effective way of doing something against the virus in the early days of the pandemic. But “do something” is not science, and it shouldn’t have been public policy. And the people who had the courage to say as much deserved to be listened to, not treated with contempt. They may not ever get the apology they deserve, but vindication ought to be enough.
Jefferson and his colleagues also looked at the evidence for social distancing, hand washing, and sanitising/sterilising surfaces — in total, 78 randomised trials with over 610,000 participants.
Jefferson doesn’t grant many interviews with journalists — he doesn’t trust the media. But since we worked together at Cochrane a few years ago, he decided to let his guard down with me.
Interestingly, 12 trials in the review, ten in the community and two among healthcare workers, found that wearing masks in the community probably makes little or no difference to influenza-like or Covid-19-like illness transmission. Equally, the review found that masks had no effect on laboratory-confirmed influenza or SARS-CoV-2 outcomes. Five other trials showed no difference between one type of mask over another.
I was wrong. We in the scientific community were wrong. And it cost lives.
I can see now that the scientific community from the CDC to the WHO to the FDA and their representatives, repeatedly overstated the evidence and misled the public about its own views and policies, including on natural vs. artificial immunity, school closures and disease transmission, aerosol spread, mask mandates, and vaccine effectiveness and safety, especially among the young. All of these were scientific mistakes at the time, not in hindsight. Amazingly, some of these obfuscations continue to the present day.
There is uncertainty about the effects of face masks. The low to moderate certainty of evidence means our confidence in the effect estimate is limited, and that the true effect may be different from the observed estimate of the effect. The pooled results of RCTs did not show a clear reduction in respiratory viral infection with the use of medical/surgical masks. There were no clear differences between the use of medical/surgical masks compared with N95/P2 respirators in healthcare workers when used in routine care to reduce respiratory viral infection. Hand hygiene is likely to modestly reduce the burden of respiratory illness, and although this effect was also present when ILI and laboratory‐confirmed influenza were analysed separately, it was not found to be a significant difference for the latter two outcomes. Harms associated with physical interventions were under‐investigated.
Three years into the pandemic, nearly everyone in Japan is wearing a mask most of the time in public, and in South Korea it is legally required indoors.
Now these two Asian champions of mask-wearing say it is time to move on. Officials in Tokyo and Seoul on Friday called for easing of mask protocols, overriding concerns from some who say the practice still saves lives and keeps away a variety of ailments.
Boris Johnson was secretly ‘nudged’ into wearing a facemask during the pandemic, according to the head of the government’s Behavioural Insights Team.
Let’s begin with the evidence, and the mighty and revered World Health Organization (WHO). As the great Covid fear was getting into its stride, on March 31, 2020, the executive director of the WHO health emergencies programme, Mike Ryan, spoke on the issue.
He said at a briefing in Geneva: ‘There is no specific evidence to suggest the wearing of masks by the mass population has any potential benefit. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse of wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly.’
In our supposedly liberal and transparent democratic country, it seems that it was a group of remote and unnamed scientists, outside of the formal SAGE infrastructure, who effectively imposed masks on British citizens. Were they well-meaning academics offering their expertise, or conflicted ideologues engaged in a global endeavour to control the masses? You decide.
Last month, Dr. Robert Honeyman lost their sister to Covid. They wrote about it on Twitter and received dozens of condolences, over 4,000 retweets and 43,000 likes.
Exactly one month later, on Dec. 12, Honeyman wrote that another tragedy had befallen their family.
…Again, the condolences and well-wishes rolled in. But there was a problem: Honeyman wasn’t real.
The transgender “Doctor of Sociology and Feminist studies” with a “keen interest in poetry” who used they/them pronouns was, in fact, a stock photo described on DepositPhotos, a royalty-free image site, as “Smiling happy, handsome latino man outside—headshot portrait.”
Their supposedly comatose husband, Dr. Patrick C. Honeyman, was also fake. His Twitter photo had been stolen from an insurance professional in Wayne, Indiana.
To help society mount a collective defence against pathogens, researchers say that leaders should enlist human-behaviour specialists to play a much bigger part in health policy. This has been the Achilles heel of governments during the COVID-19 pandemic, says Armand Balboni, an infectious-disease researcher and chief executive of pharmaceutical firm Appili Therapeutics in Halifax, Canada. “Social scientists, anthropologists and psychologists were not used nearly enough,” Balboni says.
“SARS-CoV-2 is not causing mass illness and death.”
On today’s show Mike Yeadon chats about the COVID era and his journey, including whether or not SARS exists. He has evolved a bunch of his views.
GUEST OVERVIEW: Mike Yeadon was chief scientist and vice-president of the allergy and respiratory research division of Pfizer.
Could masks be making us sick? That’s the suggestion in a Japanese study, published this week in Nature’s Scientific Report’s journal, which looked at bacterial and fungal growth on face masks worn during the pandemic. The results may put you off your tea.
The study looked at the masks of 109 people and shows that bacteria grows in bigger colonies on the inside of the mask compared with the outside. The opposite was true for fungus. Wearing the same mask for a long period of time ‘significantly’ increased the amount of fungus growing on a mask but had no effect on the amount of bacteria.
Every mask bar one – 99 per cent of the masks examined – contained bacterial colonies on the inside and 94 per cent on the outside. The type of mask worn – cloth or disposable – made no difference to the spread of bacteria. On the other hand, fungus was found on the outside of 95 per cent of masks and on the inside of 79 per cent. An interesting finding was that bacterial counts were lower on the insides of masks worn by women. It suggested this may be because they wear makeup and take better care of their skin.
Covid cases in Singapore and New Zealand have overtaken Australia per capita
Both still have very strict mandates in place unlike Australia where rules eased
Death rates in New Zealand are also higher than in Australia despite masks
Data shared by infectious diseases professor in post saying masks ‘don’t matter’
…The new figures come as it was revealed the median age of those dying from Covid in Australia is now 83 years old, the same age as the nation’s average life expectancy
…The vast majority of those who have caught Covid are under 50, with 3,121,953 cases so far but just 293 of that age have died of the virus since the pandemic began. Most killed by Covid were men over 70 and women over 80, accounting for 7,585 deaths out of the nation’s total virus death toll of 10,582, up to 3pm last Friday
…And even if Covid breaks out among elderly frail residents in aged care centres, more than 95 per cent of those infected will survive.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led people to wear face masks daily in public. Although the effectiveness of face masks against viral transmission has been extensively studied, there have been few reports on potential hygiene issues due to bacteria and fungi attached to the face masks. We aimed to (1) quantify and identify the bacteria and fungi attaching to the masks, and (2) investigate whether the mask-attached microbes could be associated with the types and usage of the masks and individual lifestyles. We surveyed 109 volunteers on their mask usage and lifestyles, and cultured bacteria and fungi from either the face-side or outer-side of their masks. The bacterial colony numbers were greater on the face-side than the outer-side; the fungal colony numbers were fewer on the face-side than the outer-side. A longer mask usage significantly increased the fungal colony numbers but not the bacterial colony numbers. Although most identified microbes were non-pathogenic in humans; Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Cladosporium, we found several pathogenic microbes; Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Aspergillus, and Microsporum. We also found no associations of mask-attached microbes with the transportation methods or gargling. We propose that immunocompromised people should avoid repeated use of masks to prevent microbial infection.
Covid expert Professor Peter Collignon has shared a shocking graph showing why restrictions such as mask-wearing make little difference to case numbers.
The graphs compiled from Johns Hopkins University data compared the seven day rolling case average in Hong Kong and New Zealand.
Both jurisdictions were following a Covid-zero policy with heavy restrictions but have been struck by recent Omicron outbreaks.
The graphs show case numbers have shot up in both countries in the last month from zero to 3,000 new cases per every million people despite a strengthening of face mask and density mandates.
The wearing of face masks by doctors contributed to the death of a patient in an NHS hospital because they exacerbated communication problems, a coroner has said.
The personal protective equipment “aggravated” a “failure in verbal communication” between two physicians treating an epileptic patient.
John Skinner was admitted to Watford General hospital suffering from seizures in May 2020, during the first Covid wave.
He was given phenytoin, an anti-epileptic drug, by a junior doctor who did not know the correct dose to be administered and asked for help from a more senior colleague who told him to use a 15 mg/kg dose measurement. This was misheard as 50 kg/mg.
Although titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a suspected human carcinogen when inhaled, fiber-grade TiO2 (nano)particles were demonstrated in synthetic textile fibers of face masks intended for the general public. STEM-EDX analysis on sections of a variety of single use and reusable face masks visualized agglomerated near-spherical TiO2 particles in non-woven fabrics, polyester, polyamide and bi-component fibers. Median sizes of constituent particles ranged from 89 to 184 nm, implying an important fraction of nano-sized particles (< 100 nm). The total TiO2 mass determined by ICP-OES ranged from 791 to 152,345 µg per mask. The estimated TiO2 mass at the fiber surface ranged from 17 to 4394 µg, and systematically exceeded the acceptable exposure level to TiO2 by inhalation (3.6 µg), determined based on a scenario where face masks are worn intensively. No assumptions were made about the likelihood of the release of TiO2 particles itself, since direct measurement of release and inhalation uptake when face masks are worn could not be assessed. The importance of wearing face masks against COVID-19 is unquestionable. Even so, these results urge for in depth research of (nano)technology applications in textiles to avoid possible future consequences caused by a poorly regulated use and to implement regulatory standards phasing out or limiting the amount of TiO2 particles, following the safe-by-design principle.