The New York Times opinion piece on masks is too late. And it is wrong.
It’s not true that mask mandates did nothing. Yes, it is true they did nothing to halt the transmission of Covid, but the mask mandates damaged us all.
The imposition of masks without evidence was an appalling step for supposedly enlightened and democratic countries. Health professionals lied and have now lost our trust. Politicians lied too, although that was less surprising.
People with hearing loss, autism and PTSD suffered unnecessarily. Babies’ and children’s speech development and learning were impacted. People with serious lung conditions felt pressured by social conformity and authority to wear masks, at a cost to their health. Teenagers developed acne. Communication curtailed, we were separated; human interaction was generally ruined. Masks were uncomfortable.
Masks were dropped on the ground and now litter oceans and add to landfill.
If you knew they didn’t work, then the mask wrapped around your face was a painful restraint, trapping the truth and humiliation in your covered mouth.
The behavioural scientists deliberately exploited the human desire to conform and literally said out loud that the public would ‘do the heavy lifting’ and enforce masks using social pressure. This was the case: if you refused to wear a mask, people stared or even shouted. Twitter shouted #WearADamnMask. Venues denied entry. GPs refused medical appointments to the unmasked.
One government insider told me that ‘we are lying when we say masks work. They are a signal, a psyop. And we’ve criminalised not wearing them. Masks also transfer the blame onto individuals for the epidemic spreading. We have people counting the unmasked on public transport, policing each other. It is deeply unethical that we have set people against each other in this way. It allows the creation of an “out group” to blame.’
If masks gave you comfort, it was not real. The false sense of security may have even made you drop your guard and increased your risk.
Mask fervour resembled a religion. They became talismans, good luck rags, and signals of virtue. Seamstress Nina Murden and I created a photographic series, ‘Faith Masks’ to illustrate this.
The experts told us right at the beginning we didn’t need to mask. Then masks were mandated despite no new evidence. The Cochrane Review is the final, gold standard nail in the coffin. Read it if you are still in any doubt: ‘Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses.’
So, no, it’s not true that masks did nothing.
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