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Were masks a waste of time? – UnHerd

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

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

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

http://archive.today/2022.02.07-062226/https://unherd.com/2022/02/were-masks-a-waste-of-time/

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Publications

Effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19: A Tale of Three Models – medRxiv

Results While model 1 found that lockdown was the most effective measure in the original 11 countries, model 2 showed that lockdown had little or no benefit as it was typically introduced at a point when the time-varying reproductive number was already very low. Model 3 found that the simple banning of public events was beneficial, while lockdown had no consistent impact. Based on Bayesian metrics, model 2 was better supported by the data than either model 1 or model 3 for both time horizons.

Conclusions Inferences on effects of NPIs are non-robust and highly sensitive to model specification. Claimed benefits of lockdown appear grossly exaggerated.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.22.20160341v3

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News

‘No evidence’ to support wearing of surgical masks by healthcare workers – The Irish Times

There is no evidence to support the wearing of surgical masks by healthcare workers for close patient encounters and staff meetings, according to new official guidance.

The guidance was issued by Health Service Executive clinical lead on infection control Prof Martin Cormican in response to moves towards routine wearing of face masks by a number of hospitals.

One Dublin hospital last week advised staff they should wear surgical masks for all patient encounters and meetings between staff where social distancing of at two metres cannot be maintained.

…While acknowledging many staff are fearful for their own health and the wearing of masks provides “a sense of security for many people” Prof Cormican said the recommendation to use three, or two, masks during a shift is “likely to be counterproductive”.

http://archive.today/2020.03.30-202647/https://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/no-evidence-to-support-wearing-of-surgical-masks-by-healthcare-workers-1.4216207