Behind the Masquerade

18 October 2020 — American Herald Tribune

By David Macilwain

Masquerade f5c01

Since the beginning of this year – of infernal subterfuge and chaotic transformation of civilised society – one of the few ways to assess the truth of what is happening, what is being done and by whom, is in a resort to “science”. While science in its broader sense merely means “knowledge”, I’m restricting my assessment to strictly scientific matters where there is only one truth.

I have long believed in such a scientific principle, that despite varying and opposing views on a certain matter, there can only be one single objective truth; black cannot be white, even though it may be subjectively perceived as it. We do not live in a “post-truth world”- at least where physical, chemical and biological sciences are concerned.

While all “scientists” should subscribe to this principle, and must do so if scientific truth is to have any meaning at all, it is self-evident that a range of interpretations can be applied to a single issue. Statistics is notorious for such variations, despite its ability to draw definitive conclusions from a mass of data. The conclusion that something is “beyond reasonable doubt” is hard to argue with, though some unreasonable people will always maintain that the 0.1% of doubt remaining cannot be dismissed. Media somehow also have a habit of focusing excessively on these exceptions that prove the rule, magnifying them out of all proportion in the minds of their audiences.

One could cite many cases of this phenomenon in the general presentation of the Coronavirus epidemic, but one stands out – the claim that catching the virus does not make you immune to catching it again. For months this claim was based on the reporting of one person who had allegedly caught it twice, but just recently I heard it said that there were five cases of apparent re-infection recorded. Out of 35 million cases around the world, that equates to a chance of one in seven million of suffering re-infection.

This may seem like an idiotic abstraction, but its seriousness is in the way it has worked to twist the whole narrative about the development of natural immunity following infection with Sars-CoV-2. In any discussion about immunity to the virus, doubts are raised about whether such immunity is actually created by infection, based entirely on these alleged cases of re-infection. Scientifically there is little reason to suppose that this virus would not produce an immune response, and that consequently a vaccine would not work. The clinical effects of the immune over-reaction or cytokine storm are all too well documented.

The issue is not straightforward however, even if an incredible amount is known about the mechanisms of immunity and the genetics and properties of the virus. Similarly it may be difficult to prove the case on infection-fatality rates when comparing the novel Coronavirus with other respiratory illnesses, and when assessing the seriousness of the current “second wave” in Europe, which is quite evidently far less lethal than the initial epidemic.

So while the political manipulation of statistics on infections and deaths leads the way in spreading fear and false narratives about the danger of the SARS-2 virus, prosecuting a clear scientific case on the true situation facing us is not straightforward. Better to do so on an issue where the science is straightforward and clear-cut, and where governments’ dishonesty and misrepresentation of that science can be exposed as a pointer to its overall credibility and possible hidden agendas. And it is the issue of masking that defines this scientific credibility gap as clearly as any.

Simply put, the pure science on masks is clear cut, putting them on the front line in the Coronavirus disinformation war. That the cartoon heading this article was pulled from the relatively liberal Melbourne Age illustrates how this issue has created new fault lines that cut across the normal political divide. This is also evident in the way that masking is now being put at the forefront of “messaging” about controlling the virus in countries around the world, and none more so than here in Victoria, Australia.

As noted before, Australia has functioned as something of a test case for the Coronavirus epidemic, taking measures to control and prevent its spread way beyond the apparent necessity. Those measures bore fruit in the recent budget, which forecast a breathtaking $1.2 Trillion of debt and a deficit of several hundred billions. It is an indication of the extraordinary times we live in that the announcement of this economic apocalypse barely caused a ripple on share markets, nor induced the expected apoplexy amongst economists.

The Coronavirus epidemic is pretty well over here, as Melbourne’s “second wave” that led the world slowly peters out. It seems especially perverse that just at this point we should be told (in Victoria) we must wear masks, and no longer – from this week – just any old mask, scarf or bandanna. Those who won’t or can’t will be fined, or will be victims of vigilante actions from indignant members of the public, who believe that their three months of penitence will be squandered by the “selfish and stupid” actions of the “law breakers”. We must do this because otherwise the Virus will come back, and all our sacrifices will be for nothing.

As we see the introduction of mandatory mask wearing in countries around Europe now purportedly suffering “second waves” like Victoria, and the public’s acceptance of it, it becomes harder than ever to persuade people that this is all a masquerade. The recent declaration from the head of the US CDC that masks may be even more effective than vaccines in controlling the Virus is so extreme and such complete nonsense that it should have broken the spell. Instead most media have picked on Donald Trump’s antics as further confirmation that his disdain for masks was why he caught the virus.

But the science is clear – masks don’t work, because they can’t; if you can breathe through a mask then virus particles can pass through it too. Amongst the many “Emperor’s New Clothes” events of recent years this must be the most extravagant, as in some strange act of mass global hypnosis leaders and people around the world mandate and adopt mask-wearing in an imaginary fight against the virus.

People who were only recently railing against the veil and the niqab for denying the rights of women, or rallying under the banner of “I can’t breathe” for Black Lives Matter, now voluntarily muzzle and asphyxiate themselves in the name of “law-abiding citizens”, and turn on dissenters as if they were the plague.

It seems almost too late to change now; the science has been rendered meaningless in the face of false belief and fear, sentiments beautifully encapsulated by Michael Leunig in several cartoons illustrating his disdain for masks and the effect they have on social relations. That his acute social commentary on such an apparently apolitical matter has drawn abuse and censorship simply confirms the message, and the belief that “masking” is a political tool unrelated to infection control.

The science of respiratory protection was brilliantly explained recently by two American Occupational Health and Safety specialists, interviewed by an independent TV host Del Bigtree after a short video the women posted on social media went viral. They have become concerned at the increasing recommendation and mandating of masks not simply because they see them as ineffective against airborne viruses, but because wearing masks is actually a health hazard.

Even lightweight masks restrict your breathing, causing a rapid build-up of carbon dioxide and reduction of oxygen in the air under the mask, which leads to headaches, tiredness and other serious effects, particularly if worn for longer periods. These effects are well known and included in advice for workers using masks against dust and allergens, but are equally applicable to healthcare workers’ protection against infective organisms.

Compounding the danger, masks not only fail to protect the wearer or those around from airborne virus, but also reduce their resistance to infection. Should you be in an environment where virus particles are actually present in the air, conditions inside the mask will increase your susceptibility to infection.

Given the simple science on the physics of mask materials, and their demonstrable inability to stop virus particles and droplets from being breathed in or out by the wearer, we must ask why scientific and health advisors have recommended their use, and why occupational health and safety specialists have not questioned this potentially damaging recommendation. As I have observed before, some experts actually have done so – none more so than Raina Macintyre, who studied the efficacy of surgical masks amongst health workers during the flu season in Beijing and found them of no use whatsoever in preventing infection. It is astonishing that Macintyre seems to have forgotten this research and now helps to promote mask wearing by both public and health-care workers.

But Macintyre’s change of heart echoes that of the WHO, which now seems to recommend mask wearing by the public – as described by its new “special envoy” David Nabarro in a recent interview. Earlier in the year the WHO was less equivocal, and advised against the wearing of masks by the public:

 “In guidance issued on 6 April,5 WHO said that medical masks should be reserved for health workers. Most spread of the covid-19 virus is from known cases and requires contact with droplets from a cough or sneeze or infected surfaces. It said that “there is currently no evidence that wearing a mask (whether medical or other types) by healthy persons in the wider community setting, including universal community masking, can prevent them from infection with respiratory viruses, including covid-19.” Wearing masks in the community can also give people a false sense of security, it said, and lead to them neglecting other measures, such as hand hygiene and physical distancing.”

What the WHO failed to say, then and now, is that wearing masks makes normal friendly human relations impossible, and should be adopted only in the most extreme of situations – and where masks actually work, such as in a bushfire to prevent inhalation of burning particles. The science of behavioural psychology may not be as precise or certain as simple physics, but we should hardly dismiss this vital aspect of mandatory masking. While the effects of COVID19 infection are limited and mostly minimal for children, the psychological effects of growing up in a world ithout “face to face” contact may be devastating and long lasting.   Just ask the specialists from “SPI-B” who advised the UK government on how to use the “fear factor” to encourage public compliance.

But for a less scientific and more human look at the psychology of health and immunity, advice from the holistic health centre associated with the Marseilles Infection unit of Prof Raoult inspires us to realise we can fight this masquerade, without masks and without fear. (Sadly just in French)

WRITER

 David Macilwain

David lives in Australia, but grew up and graduated in the UK.

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