30 July 2020 — American Herald Tribune
Back in 1919, when the “Spanish Flu” pandemic was cutting down millions of young men who had survived the Great War, similar measures were taken in many countries to those being used now to try to stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including “social distancing” and mandatory mask wearing. Despite minimal technical abilities at the time, their understanding of the nature of this deadly virus was comparable with ours in practical terms, and without the enveloping fog of political and commercial agendas. The resonance with the current drive towards mask wearing, and imposition of mandatory masking in many countries, is beautifully illustrated by a research study at the time, published in a scientific journal in 1920 and now available in pdf form.
Kellogg and Macmillan performed a number of experiments with different mask materials, measuring their effectiveness at stopping a sample bacterium passing through onto a plate where it could be cultured, and concluded that only the thickest of masks was effective. It was known that virus particles were far smaller than bacteria, but that these might be stopped if contained in water droplets. As the authors note:
“The reason for this apparent failure of the mask was a subject for speculation among epidemiologists for it had long been the belief of many of us that droplet-borne infections should be easily controlled in this manner. An experiment in San Franscisco found that “contrary to expectation, masks were worn cheerfully and universally, and also, contrary to expectation of what should follow under such circumstances, no effect on the epidemic curve was to be seen.”
In fact the reason the mandatory wearing of masks had no effect was because infection was being passed where people were in close contact:
“ – when applied compulsorily masks were universally worn in public, on the streets, in automobiles, etc where they were not needed, but where arrest would follow if not worn – but they were generally laid aside when the wearer was no longer subject to observation by the police, such as in private offices and small gatherings of all kinds. This type of gathering with the attendant social intercourse between friends, and office associates seems to afford particular facility for the transfer of the virus.”
The comparison between this perceptive and logical observation and analysis of the situation in San Francisco in 1920 in trying to contain a truly deadly pandemic, and the current chaotic responses to a similar but far less dangerous novel virus is frankly extraordinary and revelatory. Despite knowledge of the minutest details of mechanisms of viral infection, and even the ability to create lethal viruses in the lab, humanity is now behaving like a caveman with a smartphone. The perverse incentives of the global pharmaceutical and health industry deprive those suffering serious effects from the “COVID 19” infection of a cheap and effective drug combination, while inflicting unprecedented and incredibly damaging lock-downs on the masses which merely delay the inevitable spread of the infection through the community.
The “lock-down trap” is well illustrated by what is happening in Victoria, Australia, as extreme measures are taken to try to bring a “second wave” (the first one was barely a wave at all, with only 20 deaths) of infections under control. Those measures include once again locking down the whole of Melbourne’s 5 million citizens, causing enormous damage to businesses that were already hanging on a thread, preventing people from travelling outside the city and crossing state borders, and mandating the wearing of masks.
Because of the minimal spread of the virus in Australia, there is little immunity in the population, although many asymptomatic cases have been reported in the recent second wave thanks to mass testing. The only solution presented to the population is a vaccine, and the urgent demand for one must be driving the profit expectations of research teams and manufacturers to astronomical levels. The media meanwhile daily perform their duty by denigrating the “Zelenko Protocol” drug combination of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin plus Zinc as “proven useless” or “dangerous”, remaining unmoved by Brazil’s President Bolsonaro’s timely recovery from the CV19 infection they had been smugly celebrating. Professor Raoult’s fight with the French establishment drew no attention and remains unknown, despite its ongoing relevance – Europe has just found 63 million Euros for 30,000 Remdesevir treatments.
Further emphasising the Government’s inherently disingenuous and perverse response to the health crisis, it appears that the observations of Kellogg and Macmillan on the way the infection was really spreading in America in 1920 are being replicated in Victoria in 2020. While people are being fined for walking in the park without a mask or a dog, and being abused by other citizens for endangering public safety, the bulk of infections are being spread in “essential” workplaces and in close contact between people who don’t know they are carrying the virus.
But unlike those days of relative innocence a hundred years ago, the combination of the social media rumour mill with multiple streams of disinformation from various official and supposedly informed sources are re-creating the dystopian world of “1984”. Remarkably it is now 36 years since 1984 passed us by – the same time as that was into the future when George Orwell described his infernal vision in 1948. Perhaps this timing was the reason the 1984 film of his novel was shown recently on SBS television, but it was a shocking reminder of just how easily our modern world can slip – and has slipped – into a totalitarian state of fear, suspicion and hate.
Those of us taking a different view of the “COVID-Safe” world we have been duped and bludgeoned into accepting were till now simply dismissed as conspiracy cranks and ignored, but now we face public humiliation and denigration; we must be denounced for spreading false propaganda and lies. Just as in “1984”, direct orders no longer need to come from the authorities – from “Big Brother” – as the ideas have been instilled in the population through emotive messaging and pervasive disinformation from trusted mainstream sources on what is false and what is true.
For ideas to “go viral” was a phenomenon not imagined in 1948 or 1984 – at least in its mechanism, though the way that mass hysteria and “memes” could be exploited was all too well understood. Its effective operation now depends very much on the choice of “influencers” (who exactly chooses them is another matter!) – as well as the careful selection of “negative influencers”. And at this moment it is masking whose time has come to go viral.
It’s easy to see who the negative influencers are, and why they have been chosen – and in this case both Donald Trump and President Bolsonaro don’t like masks and had refused to wear them. (that they also both favour the use of HCQ is a “double plus good” coincidence). It mightn’t be so clear who the positive influencers are on mask wearing, as respected authorities like the WHO and Dr Anthony Fauci have been equivocal or opposed to their general use in public till very recently. After all, numerous studies have been done over the years that concluded masks were of no use outside healthcare settings.
In Australia however, perhaps the most influential voice on health matters is Dr Norman Swan, with a weekly health report on the ABC for decades, and now often referenced by politicians and commentators for his “Coronacast”. In his latest report Dr Swan talked to Professor Raina MacIntyre, herself also a well-known “influencer” at the Biosecurity Program at the University of NSW. Prof MacIntyre co-authored a study just published in the British journal “Thorax” on the effectiveness of masks against – presumably – Coronavirus aerosols.
It should be immediately apparent that something is not right here, as the most elementary science shows that cloth masks of any description present no barrier to particles the size of a virus. One might liken their effect to that of a fine sieve against flour. Even the micropores in Gore-tex fabric are around ten times the size of a Coronavirus particle.
Until the recent “promotion” – across multiple Western media – of a research study that showed aerosols of the virus could travel eight metres in enclosed spaces and potentially hang around in the air to infect passers-by, it had been repeatedly shown that infections occurred primarily through close contact and in larger droplet form. This reality is now being confirmed as the rapid recent spread of infection in Melbourne is almost exclusively in “essential workplaces” – meat-processing plants, hospitals and aged-care homes, and within families at home. Although there are many problems with PPE supplies and usage, it is striking that hundreds of health care workers have nevertheless become infected, suggesting that most PPE is not effective against the airborne virus.
In the interview above, Swan and MacIntyre concur on two incompatible things – that the virus spreads widely in aerosol form – Norman Swan: “And this is assuming, as did the 230 scientists that wrote to WHO, that aerosols are a significant cause of spread of the COVID-19 virus.”
– and that a plain three-layered mask is capable of preventing this transmission. (there is a transcript of the interview at the link). The “research” conducted to demonstrate aerosol transmission and mask effectiveness involved the use of “an LED light” and was “only a simulation”. My research, conducted using a camera and sunlight on a frosty morning is also only a simulation, but I think demonstrates quite clearly just how easily droplets of moisture can pass through such a mask.
Those droplets, potentially carrying virus particles, measure around one micron, with viruses about one tenth that size. But the pores in a surgical mask are around ten times larger, at 10 to 12 microns minimum. N95 respirators may have pores of similar size, but include electrostatic materials that may filter out smaller particles. It’s worth noting that over the last few years there has been much talk of P 2.5 particles in air pollution (under 2.5 microns), from diesel exhausts as well as from wood heaters. The danger to the lungs from these particles is not removed by wearing any sort of common face mask.
All of which demonstrates just how completely ineffective a proprietary mask is at either protecting the wearer from CV19 infection, or at “source control” – preventing an infected person spreading the virus to others. What’s more, the papers and media are filled with instructions on making your own mask, and people are mucking in to help with the national effort, out of the genuine goodness of their hearts, believing what the influencers have told them:
Raina MacIntyre: “Yes, but this is, remember, for what’s called source control, which is on the assumption that someone has the infection, whether they know it or not, if they are wearing a mask, it substantially reduces the risk of them infecting other people because the aerosols don’t get out when they breathe, speak or cough.”
Let’s be clear – MacIntyre and Swan are really playing a double game here. Transmission of CV19 infection is taking place almost exclusively through close contact where masking could have some effect, but they are emphasising what is a minimal danger of infection through aerosols in public spaces where masks would be pointless. How can one conclude otherwise then, that the decision to make mask wearing mandatory, with on the spot fines for non-compliance, has very little to do with controlling the virus and a lot to do with controlling the people? Rather than “sing for the f**king Queen”, we might follow the advice of Mike Small at Bella Caledonia:
“After this we don’t need another useless public inquiry, what we need is a complete revolt – an overthrow of the broken institutions that have collapsed and a rejection of the elite rule that has failed in front of our very eyes. Keep safe, but keep your wrath warm for after the lockdown.”
Following today’s news that everyone in the State of Victoria will be wearing masks from Sunday, that wrath might be liable to catch fire when the masks come off, if and when the truth comes flooding out.
David lives in Australia, but grew up and graduated in the UK.