You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘masks’ tag.

By now, everyone knows my thoughts on coronavirus.

Every day brings stranger news, especially for children.

This is what schools will look like when pupils return to class in Pinellas County, Florida, home to Clearwater on the west coast of the state. I don’t blame the administrators, because they are only following state guidelines. Nevertheless, this is just wrong in so many ways, even if teachers are the ones who wear masks, not the pupils:

How dehumanising and sad for children to be at the mercy of public health officials — and notional ‘science’.

What bets that we look back at this in ten or 20 years time and say, ‘What were we thinking?!’

I also wonder what the extended effect of these policies will have on more vulnerable children.

I hope they are only temporary and not in place by 2021.

A short post today.

That said, I hope that it provides food for thought.

Most of our leaders are on a losing wicket; they are ‘blinded by science’.

The indefatiguable Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch explains everything coronavirus-related in a nutshell:

That graphic — meme, if you prefer — describes today’s confused thinking surrounding a virus related to the common cold.

This mural in Denver International Airport, the successor to Stapleton International Airport, saw the light of day in the mid-1990s. Strangely prophetic:

It’s time we stopped being Blinded by Science (courtesy Foreigner, 1979), equally prophetic.

Where is it all leading? Few of us know — including our elected leaders.

On Friday, July 24, 2020, face coverings became mandatory in English shops — and Anglican churches (even with social distancing):

On Sunday, July 26, #CoverYourFace trended on Twitter.

This subject is splitting English public opinion as much as Brexit did four years ago.

This is what it amounts to:

Some of us still remember the early days of lockdown and parts of the NHS which were void of patients. According to the media, the NHS still has few patients:

I love the concept behind the NHS and, in general, the staff, so I don’t want to see it disappear, but over the past decade, something has gone woefully wrong somewhere.

This is where we are today with coronavirus:

Let’s look closer at what Chris Whitty told a Parliamentary select committee at the end of July. Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt (equally useless) was interviewing him. Let’s also review what the current Health Secretary Matt Hancock said about masks (Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, is shown at the beginning of the video):

Mmmkay.

I’ve watched all of the coronavirus briefings, the House of Commons debates this year and have read government documents. This is how events unfolded five months ago:

This was the state of play just before July 24:

With regard to masks, I saw the following tweet:

For a helpful compendium on pre-COVID19 mask science, Watt’s Up With ThatWUWT — has a guest post dated July 25: ‘Does Universal Mask Wearing Decrease or Increase the Spread of COVID-19?’

The contents of the post, WUWT‘s author says, is presented ‘for information only’.

The preface reads as follows:

The use and requirements of masks have become incredibly political and partisan. Unfortunately, far too much of science, knowledge, journalism, and even epistemology are becoming political.

Agreed.

The abstract reads as follows. Five months on, past research might come as a surprise to some (emphases mine):

A survey of peer-reviewed studies shows that universal mask wearing (as opposed to wearing masks in specific settings) does not decrease the transmission of respiratory viruses from people wearing masks to people who are not wearing masks.

Further, indirect evidence and common sense suggest that universal mask wearing is likely to increase the spread of COVID-19.

This paper agrees that wearing masks in specific settings (such as healthcare facilities) achieves protective effects, although the masks should not be home-made, must be worn correctly, replaced frequently, and not overestimated.

The WUWT post references 24 papers and arranges them in three scenarios of mask wearing: A (medical/care facilities, including visitors), B (voluntary wearing by members of the public) and C (widespread/mandated wearing among the general public).

You may read the detail at your leisure.

Key points from the article follow.

First, there is a difference in behaviour when wearing masks in a clinical situation versus a generalised one:

When people are told to wear masks in specific situations to protect vulnerable individuals—for example, in pharmacies, nursing homes, and medical buildings—most people are careful to follow rules and recommendations. However, when people are ordered to wear masks everywhere and all the time, proper mask use and handling become significantly less probable. It is possible to enforce mask wearing, but it is impossible to enforce proper mask handling.

Secondly, no mask prevents aerosol flow completely:

Neither surgical nor cloth mask restrains aerosols from escaping at the sides, top, and bottom of the mask.

Masks redirect aerosol flow to all sides. Though we take protective measures, none of these measures protect against viral-loaded aerosols—especially when they can settle downward from above. For example, we know not to sneeze or cough in other people’s direction. And recently, we have also become accustomed to keeping six feet of distance away from others in a frontal arc. Moreover, clerks, cashiers, and other service providers are usually protected by plexiglass barriers. But because these measures fail to protect against viral-loaded aerosols, even ideally worn and cared-for masks might cause more harm than benefits.

Finally, breathing becomes more difficult with the real possibility, if not probability, that masks might retain — and transmit — coronavirus droplets now that many of us are required to wear masks:

All masks make breathing more difficult, requiring more effort to inhale and exhale and potentially causing more viral load to be expelled into the air. Moreover, when a non-contagious person wears a cloth mask, his or her mask accumulates the coronavirus and other germs from the environment. If a contagious person wears a cloth mask, the mask also accumulates some viral load with each breath, and soon, it might discharge more viral load with each exhalation than the contagious person would otherwise exhale—and in more directions

As of now, hundreds of thousands of people are breathing similarly forcefully through masks in public spaces, and other people are inhaling what mask wearers expel.

I then found two articles on Technocracy News.

One, from July 14, is ‘Masks Are Neither Effective Nor Safe: A Summary Of The Science’, a review of 42 papers about various types of masks.

The article begins with this preface from the editor:

Print this article and hand it to frightened mask wearers who have believed the alarmist media, politicians and Technocrats in white coats. Masks are proven ineffective against coronavirus and potentially harmful to healthy people and those with pre-existing conditions.

My wife and I dined out last night in a very empty restaurant and the young waitress was required to wear a cloth mask. I asked her how she was doing with the mask and if there were any side effects. She related that was consistently short of breath (when away from the table, she lowered the mask below her nose) and that she had actually passed out because of it a few days earlier, taking her straight to the floor. Fortunately, she was not hurt. ⁃ TN Editor

The article includes an excellent video in which a doctor explains COVID-19 in a professional way, yet in layman’s terms. Kelly Victory is the doctor’s real name, by the way:

Ultimately, regarding masks, the conclusion is that they can damage our health under a widespread mandate. Dyspnea, mentioned below, is shortness of breath because of inadequate ventilation or lack of oxygen:

In the summer of 2020 the United States is experiencing a surge of popular mask use, which is frequently promoted by the media, political leaders and celebrities.  Homemade and store-bought cloth masks and surgical masks or N95 masks are being used by the public especially when entering stores and other publicly accessible buildings.  Sometimes bandanas or scarves are used.  The use of face masks, whether cloth, surgical or N95, creates a poor obstacle to aerosolized pathogens as we can see from the meta-analyses and other studies in this paper, allowing both transmission of aerosolized pathogens to others in various directions, as well as self-contamination.

It must also be considered that masks impede the necessary volume of air intake required for adequate oxygen exchange, which results in observed physiological effects that may be undesirableEven 6-minute walks, let alone more strenuous activity, resulted in dyspnea.  The volume of unobstructed oxygen in a typical breath is about 100 ml, used for normal physiological processes.  100 ml O2 greatly exceeds the volume of a pathogen required for transmission.

The foregoing data show that masks serve more as instruments of obstruction of normal breathing, rather than as effective barriers to pathogens. Therefore, masks should not be used by the general public, either by adults or children, and their limitations as prophylaxis against pathogens should also be considered in medical settings.

The second Technocracy News article is from June 30: ‘Censored: A Review Of Science Relevant To COVID-19 Social Policy And Why Face Masks Don’t Work’. It is an article written by Dr Denis G Rancourt, a researcher at the Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA.ca) and is formerly a tenured professor at the University of Ottawa, Canada. The original version in PDF has more charts, which have not been posted widely online.

Dr Rancourt researched several papers on masks written before the coronavirus outbreak. Unfortunately, he was censored. The Technocracy News editor wrote this preface to Rancourt’s article:

Denis Rancourt, PhD, has published over 100 peer-reviewed studies in his career, but ResearchGate choose to censor and remove this paper because it didn’t fit the narrative of the Great Panic of 2020 over COVID-19. Such censorship proves the existence of an alternative agenda.

Again, this underscores the Technocrat methodology of shaming, ridiculing and censoring anybody that comes forth with real science that refutes their pseudo-science.

Rancourt begins with this introduction:

Masks and respirators do not work.

There have been extensive randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies, and meta-analysis reviews of RCT studies, which all show that masks and respirators do not work to prevent respiratory influenza-like illnesses, or respiratory illnesses believed to be transmitted by droplets and aerosol particles.

Furthermore, the relevant known physics and biology, which I review, are such that masks and respirators should not work. It would be a paradox if masks and respirators worked, given what we know about viral respiratory diseases: The main transmission path is long-residence-time aerosol particles (< 2.5 μm), which are too fine to be blocked, and the minimum-infective dose is smaller than one aerosol particle.

The present paper about masks illustrates the degree to which governments, the mainstream media, and institutional propagandists can decide to operate in a science vacuum, or select only incomplete science that serves their interests. Such recklessness is also certainly the case with the current global lockdown of over 1 billion people, an unprecedented experiment in medical and political history.

You may read his detailed analysis in more detail.

His conclusion is as follows. He repeats the sentence above about lockdown, which I have excluded:

By making mask-wearing recommendations and policies for the general public, or by expressly condoning the practice, governments have both ignored the scientific evidence and done the opposite of following the precautionary principle.

In an absence of knowledge, governments should not make policies that have a hypothetical potential to cause harm. The government has an onus barrier before it instigates a broad social-engineering intervention, or allows corporations to exploit fear-based sentiments.

Furthermore, individuals should know that there is no known benefit arising from wearing a mask in a viral respiratory illness epidemic, and that scientific studies have shown that any benefit must be residually small, compared to other and determinative factors.

So, there you have it.

Masks and face coverings do not help in the fight against coronavirus. In fact, they may do more personal harm than good.

In closing, I found this comment to WUWT‘s article worthwhile, as it concerns our natural immune systems:

There are basic false questions in play with this current Covid 19 crisis.

Who actually cares if face masks are better at stopping the spread or not? We have among us a virus, it is not so different to other virus, that have come and lodged with us in everyday life. The corona virus is called the common cold, the clue is in the name. We are well set up to fight off virus infections, we have T cells for that; they work very well, particularly if you are young healthy and fit.

That brings us into the core of the face mask question.

There is a false hope being progressed that wearing a face cover will in some way isolate the wearer from infection; clearly that is not possible. Consequently, the authorities have realised the only way to sell the idea a face cover is a good thing, is to make people who do not wear them feel guilty. The argument goes, if you wear a face mask you are protecting others and you are showing how considerate you are.

How sweet is that? Be kind to others wear a mask, virtue signalling taken to a whole new level.

We have survived and thrived without resorting to wearing face masks. I fail to see any reason to change the healthy lifestyles of humanity, simply to pacify the bizarre anxieties of the gullible.

Yes, face masks will reduce some transmission of exhaled contaminated breath. Unfortunately, the unknown consequences of blocking natural development of immunity to a virus infection, could be far far worse. Real world experience tells us, when the European trailblazers ventured into New World lands, they “met” the natives infecting them with everyday European infections, which the natives didn’t have any immunity to, sadly they largely passed away.

We do not want to reinvent that scenario, in a generation or two’s time.

Those who want to wear a face mask are free to do so, those who prefer not to wear one, should also be free not to.

That’s where I stand. Wear one if you feel better, but please don’t look down upon those who prefer to breathe the way nature intended.

For anyone who finds this upsetting, ask yourself if you have worn a mask every winter during flu season.

If you live in the West, you haven’t, so please don’t start now.

Last week, I bought a clear mask along with a set of lightweight cotton masks.

I normally speak to our local shopkeepers, so I would like for our conversations to continue as normally as possible.

For the deaf and even for those who are hard of hearing though, masks that cover the face make communication difficult for them. The people affected explain the issues in the short video below.

I bought a clear mask similar to the ones on the right (see the second tweet). Those are for cycling purposes; they do not do anything to combat the virus. Yet, the government has asked us only for face coverings, not surgical-grade masks:

No one in the medical arena or in government has mentioned clear masks, which seems strange. I found mine by chance.

No one in authority has said anything about visors, either. Hairdressers wear them. Our local greengrocer did, too, at least early in the pandemic.

I guess one has to do one’s own research:

Opaque masks are an issue …

… so I am glad to see there is a petition to remove the mandate for face coverings:

While it is well-intentioned, this video from Matt Hancock’s Department of Health and Social Care offers questionable advice in dealing with hearing impairments: removing one’s mask to speak and inclining one’s ear towards the person talking. Both are supposed to be no-noes, aren’t they?

We’ve had two deaf workmen come and work on our house. Both relied upon looking at us as we spoke because they need to lip-read. One carried a notebook and pen, so that we could clarify some instructions for him.

I hope they and others with hearing problems are doing well, because not everyone will appreciate their difficulties in communicating:

That is a very real possibility.

One of the more disturbing aspects of lockdown and mandatory face coverings during the coronavirus crisis is their effect on children, particularly infants:

This is a highly abnormal development.

Other people have reported the same thing:

Mandated face coverings have altered family activities, such as trips on public transport:

Agree on the bus rides, all fond memories from my childhood. They were great.

Shopping is different, too:

I agree, because not being able to see a mother’s face can have an impact on a child’s development:

Dr Edward Tronick, a University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, is director of the Child Development Unit, a research associate in Newborn Medicine, a lecturer at Harvard Medical School, conducted the Still Face Experiment in 2009.

This is a short video of the experiment. Watch how the baby’s expressions and reactions change as the mother does not interact with her:

I truly hope this mask thing is a very temporary measure.

This is one time I can honestly say, ‘Think of the children!’

On Friday, July 24, 2020, I wrote about England’s mask requirement in shops, which came into effect that day.

From what I have been reading online and hearing from people I know, things could get worse for retail, because it seems as if half the population does not wish to comply. Consequently, they will be going out less often to shop.

Now they might turn to online purchases which help the economy but not the local family-owned shops.

Since I was born decades ago, there has been scope creep in all sorts of regulations on people’s personal conduct: mandatory seat belts, severe restrictions on smoking (including in people’s own homes) and now we have mandatory masks, which some rightly call ‘muzzles’ or ‘nappies’.

Yet, some people do not mind scope creep — moving the goalposts — as this tweet from ex-footballer Matt Le Tissier and the reply show:

I’m with Matt Le Tissier and the ‘No’ voters.

I grew up in a world where seat belts were either a) non-existent (yes, I’m that old) or b) optional.

I still wish they were optional — front and back.

But I digress.

Let’s look at how the scene unfolded on Twitter on Friday, July 24.

I do not think this mask regulation can be rightly called a law. A number of fines that police imposed during lockdown had to be overturned. Masks won’t be any different. The police have said so:

Then there are the arcane rules about visiting a takeaway with tables and chairs.

If you go up to the counter to purchase a takeaway, you must wear a mask.

If you wish to dine in that establishment, you do not need to wear a mask provided you head straight for a table and sit down. You will then be waited upon.

However, you cannot go up to the counter without a mask and tell the salesperson that you want to dine in.

Madness.

I took a look at supermarket sites on Twitter because, last week, rumours circulated in the media that our major chains didn’t care one way or the other.

That really isn’t the case.

Tesco might be losing footfall, but perhaps gaining an online customer or two:

That’s the sort of interpersonal conflict that’s been running for weeks, long before mandatory masks.

It’s completely unnecessary.

This must be the only time a competing supermarket has commented on a Tesco site. This comment is about Scotland, where masks were mandatory before they were in England:

Asda’s announcement illustrated how masks should be worn:

Lidl tweeted a short video about the mask requirement:

Lidl was one of the chains rumoured to not actively enforce the requirement.

A few customers are annoyed with Aldi:

If supermarket staff do not enforce this requirement, the general public will! They’re even worse!

Sainsbury’s is taking a more relaxed approach, which didn’t meet with some customers’ approval:

However, other customers were relieved:

If this is contentious online, how much worse will it be in person?

As for Waitrose and M&S, this Sainsbury shopper is likely to be disappointed (see below):

Waitrose has a thread on masks and exemptions. Well done:

Interestingly, M&S (Marks and Spencer) has no tweet about face coverings.

Perhaps that is the place for the maskless to shop in peace.

Today, Friday, July 24, 2020, face coverings became mandatory in shops in England.

Early in the pandemic, Dr Jenny Harries, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, told Prime Minister Boris Johnson that masks were not necessary for the general population and could make people more vulnerable to COVID-19, because they would be adjusting them, thereby touching their faces, potentially spreading the virus. This video first appeared in March, if I remember rightly:

On Thursday, March 12, The Independent reported on what Dr Harries told BBC News (emphases mine):

Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer, said the masks could “actually trap the virus” and cause the person wearing it to breathe it in.

“For the average member of the public walking down a street, it is not a good idea” to wear a face mask in the hope of preventing infection, she added …

Asked about their effectiveness, Dr Harries told BBC News: “What tends to happen is people will have one mask. They won’t wear it all the time, they will take it off when they get home, they will put it down on a surface they haven’t cleaned.

“Or they will be out and they haven’t washed their hands, they will have a cup of coffee somewhere, they half hook it off, they wipe something over it.

“In fact, you can actually trap the virus in the mask and start breathing it in.”

Asked if people are putting themselves more at risk by wearing masks, Dr Harries added: “Because of these behavioural issues, people can adversely put themselves at more risk than less.”

However, she said those who are advised to wear one by healthcare workers should follow their guidance.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of the United Kingdom, gave testimony on COVID-19 last week. When asked about the apparent change on face covering advice, he said that, early on, it made no sense for people to wear masks during lockdown because no one was on the streets. He said that the advice had never changed: masks provided some benefit. Now that lockdown has been lifting, he explained, it makes sense for people to wear them.

Of course, earlier this year, there was also a worldwide mask shortage, so it could also be that officials discouraged the general public from buying them because medical staff needed them badly.

This happened not only in England, but also in other countries.

In the United States, Surgeon General Dr Jerome Adams did an about-face on masks early in April. Since then, they have been mandatory in some states:

President Trump said the advice from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) was only an advisory, yet the public wondered how such a change could have come about in so little time, only a matter of weeks:

The same change in advice occurred in Germany:

Yet, at that time, Good Morning Britain‘s long-time, trusted Dr Hilary Jones stated that masks were a no-no for the public, citing the same reasons as Dr Jenny Harries did. On April 28, Metro reported:

If there is one thing Hilary has been consistent on, it is that the general public do not need to wear a mask.

He has previously explained how the particles of coronavirus are so small, they can easily pass through the fibres of a mask or scarf, making them completely useless to the average person.

‘For healthy people who are doing their essential journey who are socially distancing, the use of masks is not effective,’ he recently told Piers Morgan.

‘Most masks have gaps in them to which the virus can drive a bus through. When you are inhaling in a mask the virus can come in.’

The GP added: ‘It can do harm if you do wear a mask, you adjust it, it gets itchy and moist – which means you are putting your hand to your face more often.

‘If the mask gets moist it traps the virus.’

A week later, Guido Fawkes reported that PPE items, including masks, were plentiful in Britain and available to medical as well as care home staff:

By the end of May, Good Morning Britain‘s Piers Morgan criticised London mayor Sadiq Khan for not mandating face coverings on the capital’s public transport. The policy at the time left the option open to passengers, putting more emphasis on social distancing.

In England, masks became mandatory on all public transport on June 15.

On June 6, some in the NHS criticised Health Secretary Matt Hancock for giving them only a week to get all hospital staff to wear masks. The Daily Mail reported that NHS England had been apprised of the new rules before Hancock made a public announcement:

The Department of Health and Social Care said NHS England had known Mr Hancock was going to make the announcement, adding that hospitals still had more than a week to prepare.

On Monday, July 20, in France, masks became mandatory in all indoor spaces as well as some outdoor venues. Fines start at €135. The original date was August 1, but that was brought forward.

This is what one French shopping mall looks like since the requirement came into force:

Some people have been wearing them in the street and inside commercial premises.

This is what one observer has noted, proving what Dr Harries said earlier this year:

Dr Rashid Buttar has posted several videos to YouTube on the dangers of healthy people wearing masks. This is a short but instructive clip from one of them:

On April 7, the BMJ featured an article which said that, while masks might make members of the public more comfortable psychologically, face coverings can also help to spread the virus.

Excerpts from statistician Karla Hemmings’s ‘Covid-19: What is the evidence for cloth masks?’ follow:

… the question of whether facemasks work is a question about whether they work in the real world, worn by real people, in real situations …

There is little doubt that masks works in controlled settings – they stop particulates penetrating the air [Leung 2020]. Facemasks also seem to prevent infection spreading when worn by people who are infected [Brainard 2020]. Yet, this doesn’t tell us if they will work in the real world …

Systematic review of facemasks vs no mask [Brainard 2020]

There are three RCTs identified in this review where people wore masks to try to prevent other people becoming infected (primary prevention). The authors of the review interpret the evidence from these three RCTs as a small non-significant effect on influenza like illness. But, this is an incorrect interpretation of the result (RR=0.95, 95% CI: 0.75 to 1.19) as this result is compatible with both benefit and harm. The evidence from these three trials should therefore be interpreted as uninformative (or consistent with either benefit or harm). There are observational studies in this review, but these do not allow us to answer the question of whether the masks provide protection as they will be subject to confounding. The largest of the three RCTs was a pragmatic cluster trial in pilgrims [Alfelali 2020]. This is a well conducted pragmatic cluster randomized trial with low risk of bias, but suffered from low compliance. This found OR 1.35, 95% CI 0.88-2.07 which although non-significant, is more suggestive of harm than benefit.

Conclusion: The largest and most pragmatic trial (which informs on how facemasks will perform in the real world) assessing the benefit of facemasks vs no mask is suggestive of more harm than benefit.

Evidence from trials comparing different sorts of facemasks
(This is not based on a systematic review, so there may be other evidence that I am unaware of) …

Conclusion: The evidence from pragmatic trials (people wearing masks in everyday settings) suggests wearing of facemasks both induces risk compensation behavior and increased virus spreading from poor mask quality.

England’s new rules on face coverings do not mandate actual masks. We can wear what we want, within reason.

I still believe all the advice from March and early April stated above.

Here — and no doubt elsewhere — this has been a political decision taken to get more people shopping and putting money into the economy and businesses.

On Tuesday, July 14, Matt Hancock made a statement in Parliament about mandatory face coverings, which included the following:

Local action is one way in which we can control the spread of the virus while minimising the economic and social costs. Another is to minimise the risk as we return more to normality. In recent weeks we have reopened retail and footfall is rising. We want to give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shops. Both of those can be done by the use of face coverings. Sadly, sales assistants, cashiers and security guards have suffered disproportionately in this crisis. The death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75% higher among men and 60% higher among women than in the general population. As we restore shopping, so we must keep our shopkeepers safe.

There is also evidence that face coverings increase confidence in people to shop. The British Retail Consortium has said that, together with other social distancing measures, face coverings can

“make shoppers feel even more confident about returning to the High Street.”

The chair of the Federation of Small Businesses has said:

“As mandatory face coverings are introduced, small firms know that they have a part to play in the nation’s recovery both physically and financially, and I’m sure this will welcomed by them.”

We have therefore come to the decision that face coverings should be mandatory in shops and supermarkets. Last month, we made face coverings mandatory on public transport and in NHS settings, and that has been successful in giving people more confidence to go on public transport and to a hospital setting when they need to, providing people with additional protection when they are not able to keep 2 metres from others, particularly people they do not normally come into contact with. Under the new rules, people who do not wear face coverings will face a fine of up to £100 in line with the sanction on public transport and, just as with public transport, children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.

The liability for wearing a face covering lies with the individual. Should an individual without an exemption refuse to wear a face covering, a shop can refuse them entry and can call the police if people refuse to comply. The police have formal enforcement powers and can issue a fine. That is in line with how shops would normally manage their customers and enforcement is, of course, a last resort. We fully expect the public to comply with these rules, as they have done throughout the pandemic.

I want to give this message to everyone who has been making vital changes to their daily lives for the greater good. Wearing a face covering does not mean that we can ignore the other measures that have been so important in slowing the spread of this virus— washing our hands and following the rules on social distancing. Just as the British people have acted so selflessly throughout this pandemic, I have no doubt they will rise to this once more. As a nation, we have made huge strides in getting this virus, which has brought grief to so many, under control. We are not out of the woods yet, so let us all do our utmost to keep this virus cornered and enjoy our summer safely. I commend this statement to the House.

I agree that we need to stimulate the economy by shopping. I disagree that face coverings are the answer.

I also wonder about shop staff dying. I see the same smiling faces week after week in my local shops. I never heard anything on the BBC News about shopkeepers dying: it was front line medical staff and bus drivers.

This is purely a political decision. Purely political.

I had looked forward to visiting a garden centre. I now think I’ll shop online for the plant pots I’d planned to buy.

Thank you, Sir Edward Leigh, for speaking out against mandatory face coverings.

Yesterday’s post reported that Sir Desmond Swayne MP spoke out during Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s announcement about masks on July 14.

On Thursday, July 16, 2020, Sir Edward Leigh MP (Conservative, Gainsborough) made a forceful statement during Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Business Statement. Leigh said that mandatory masks in shops should have merited a debate in the Commons. It is no small step, especially for a Conservative government. No true Conservative cares what other countries do in this regard. This is England:

Rees-Mogg brushed Leigh’s objections away with a reply that a debate will be held in ‘due course’, which means in September or October. Parliament’s last day before summer recess is Wednesday, July 22:

One consolation for today’s Commons schedule was the Second Reading of the Non-Domestic Rating (Public Lavatories) Bill. Many have closed over the past several years because local councils can no longer afford them. This bill is designed to help councils out in this regard by giving rate (property tax) relief:

Back now to masks.

Sir Edward Leigh received supportive replies to his tweet.

The first concerns Lincolnshire:

The others are more generalised:

The mask controversy extends to London, too.

The Telegraph‘s Head of Culture, Serena Davies, wrote about her and her daughter’s experience at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square: ‘How “mask rage” ruined my trip to the National Gallery’.

She thought that, as few people would be out and about, now would be a good time to take her nine-year-old daughter to see some of the most important paintings in history.

They sanitised their hands upon entry. Ms Davies asked about masks, which the Gallery ‘encourages’ but does not yet make mandatory. She and her daughter went without.

They went through rooms with Renaissance art. Davies’s daughter marvelled at seeing the paintings in person. As they continued, they stopped in front of Titian’s Poesies. Then, things took a nasty turn (emphases mine):

A tall, skinny, crow-like man wearing a black mask that seemed to cover most of his head lurched well within two metres of our periphery just as we’d sat down on a bench.

“Is there a reason for that?” he spat (into his mask).

I thought he had a problem with us sitting down. “How do you mean?” I asked.

“Masks!” he growled.

Constance and I weren’t wearing them. I’d checked with the guard on arrival, and she’d said that it was optional, if “encouraged”. I conveyed this to the man, who had no riposte and stalked off to glare at us from Perseus and Andromeda.

But the damage was done. “Why was the man so cross?” asked Constance in front of the Tintorettos. “That man was really quite nasty wasn’t he?” she said as we peered at a De Hooch.

I said some people just start off the day with a bit of horrid to get out, and the mask thing was only an excuse.

“Do you think the man might be cheered up by a yo-yo?” she asked in the shop. We bought a yo-yo – to cheer up Constance.

Poor girl:

The rooms of paintings were simply thrilling to see, and easier to enjoy than during any other point in my lifetime, yet the masked vigilante scared my child so much he ended our fun right there.

Nasty Man will get his way on July 24, at least with regard to shops.

Coronavirus has changed the way the Western world operates.

In London, commuter levels have been at unheard of lows in recent memory. On July 16, The Telegraph’s business correspondent, Allister Heath, sounded a warning: ‘The death of the commuter is an extinction-level event for London’.

This means fewer railway passengers. Until mid-March, commuter trains going in and out of the capital were jam packed. Much less so now, he says, including London Underground:

The Greater London Authority, and Transport for London, its main asset, are, in effect, bankrupt, with nearly empty Tubes meaning fare revenues are in freefall, reliant on handouts from the Government.

Heath paints us a picture of an empty capital city, even now that many attractions have reopened and people have been encouraged to return to their offices:

The private sector, for its part, is facing gargantuan structural losses: the economics of offices and retail is predicated on mass commuting and tourism. The former won’t fully come back; the latter will take a year or two. The arts, luxury, fashion, transport, hospitality, restaurant and many service industries face decimation. It’s a full-on biotic crisis: London’s economic ecosystem is suffering an immense decline in diversity. Lower-paid jobs, in particular, are being culled; the population could fall, with tens of thousands returning to Europe.

No doubt London will recover. It always does.

However, this just shows how ill-advised Matt Hancock’s decision to make masks mandatory in shops is.

We can only hope that Chancellor Rishi Sunak encourages him to reverse it in the months to come.

If people feel more comfortable with masks, they are welcome to wear them.

However, shops have gone to great expense to accommodate social distancing.

Let’s encourage common sense instead.

And, where masks are optional, let’s stop criticising each other if people choose not to wear them.

On Monday, as I went out to run an errand, I saw that life appeared to be getting back to normal on our high (main) street, post-coronavirus.

The local cafés had opened to allow customers indoors for a sit-down service. The inviting aromas of hot lunches perfumed the air.

I silently rejoiced that, after three months, normality was finally returning to our streets.

I no sooner returned home when I learned through the media that Health Secretary Matt (‘I’m from Newmarket’) Hancock planned to announce an anti-normality measure on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 — mandatory face coverings effective July 24:

The nightly newscasts confirmed this — at 6 p.m. …

… and 10 p.m.:

Hancock was not alone in choosing July 14 to make that announcement. France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran made a similar announcement that day: mandatory face coverings in all enclosed spaces effective August 1.

Returning to England, Matt Hancock made his announcement from the despatch box in the House of Commons early in the afternoon on Tuesday.

There were two dissensions.

The first came from Peter Bone MP (Conservative, Wellingborough and Rushden). He rightly asked why Hancock’s department provided information to the media about the new mandate before the health secretary presented it to Parliament.

Hancock gave a brusque answer, replying that he (Hancock) was doing it right then.

One can assume only that Peter Bone approves of mandatory face coverings, as he retweeted a government video about it:

The second dissension came from the flamboyant Sir Desmond Swayne (Conservative, New Forest West). He said everything necessary:

Parliamentary sketch writer Michael Deacon filed this report for The Telegraph (emphases mine):

Nothing would make me less likely to go shopping,” erupted Sir Desmond, “than the thought of having to mask up!

Too right.

Just when my far better half and I were ready to venture out to shops, including the garden centres, this mad rule comes in. We are now rethinking our long-anticipated sorties.

Swayne continued:

“Was this consultation with the police force,” he fumed, “and in particular with the chief constable of Hampshire? For it is she who will have to enforce this monstrous imposition – he spat out this phrase as if it were a maggot in a mouthful of apple – “this monstrous imposition against myself, and a number of outraged and reluctant constituents!”

I felt like applauding him as I watched him on BBC Parliament.

Hancock found this amusing. One wonders if he was bullied at school. He has made the most authoritarian pronouncements from his appearances in the government’s daily coronavirus briefings to those at the despatch box in Parliament.

This was his reply:

Mr Hancock, meanwhile, told Sir Desmond that it had been “a difficult balance to strike” between the need to defeat the virus, and “the ancient liberty of a gentleman to go shopping”. But in the end, said the Health Secretary, the Government had decided that this ancient liberty could be protected by “requiring the gentleman to wear a mask”.

Pah.

Swayne was unimpressed:

To judge from his expression, Sir Desmond was neither persuaded nor amused. He was smouldering like a dragon’s nostril.

Note that this is being brought in when England’s coronavirus deaths are at their lowest point since the first week of March:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The original image — not mine — is here.

On Wednesday, Hancock reiterated his resolve (a favourite word of his). The Telegraph reported that we might have cover up until summer 2021:

Rules requiring members of the public to wear face masks in shops and on public transport could remain in place until next summer, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has admitted, as he warned they will be required for the “foreseeable future”.

Asked whether the rules may be in place into next year, Mr Hancock refused to rule it out, instead insisting that the UK needs to “see how we are doing on getting a vaccine”.

Oh, the vaccine, the vaccine! Words fail me.

But, wait. There could be more to come.

That Telegraph piece has this as a subhead:

Next stop, masks in offices

I would not doubt it.

Masks are known to cause hypoxia and hypercapnia. Healthy people can deprive themselves of oxygen by wearing unnecessary face coverings. Hypercapnia — having too much CO2 in one’s blood — is another hazard that results from improper breathing because one’s mouth is covered.

A small upside is that face coverings will become a means of self-expression.

Here is the svelte, slim health minister of Belgium. I wouldn’t take her health advice on anything. Furthermore, her mask is unfortunate, to say the least:

On Monday night, I read a lot of readers’ comments to the Telegraph articles concerning mandatory face coverings.

The hostility of the pro-mask people reminded me of that of Remainers’ during the run-up to the Brexit referendum in 2016. Scary. All emotion, very little fact.

Anti-maskers, on the other hand, pointed to civil liberties and the likelihood that we will be objectifying each other in the coming months because we cannot see each others’ faces.

Personally, I think crime will go up because of it. All it takes is a masked bandit or two robbing small shops.

There is also a Left-Right split on masks.

A left-wing organisation, Masks4All, is promoting homemade face coverings. Its founders include Greens and an Extinction Rebellion activist.

The University of Edinburgh’s Linda Bauld is also a mandatory face covering advocate. Linda Bauld made her name in Tobacco Control.

Bauld disapproves of visors — allowing people to breathe under a transparent barrier — because they do not allow enough protection. On May 18, The Guardian quoted her:

Bauld said she was sceptical. “The reason for having a visor which would cover the upper half of your face would be if you’re regularly coming into contact with the public at closer range, and you might be exposed to somebody who is emitting those small droplets that we’re all aware are very efficient at carrying the virus,” she said.

“So I could see how in some retail settings and other environments they wish to do that, but I don’t think there’s any strong evidence that they’re something the public should be wearing on a routine basis. The key thing is to cover the mouth and the nose.

“The face coverings that people are being encouraged to use, for example, on public transport is not to protect the wearer, but to protect other people. Whereas the visor and harder material is clearly to protect the wearer from coming into contact with others at those droplets.”

On July 13, she advocated the dreaded ‘nudge’:

Linda Bauld, Professor of Public Health at Edinburgh University, said: “Requiring it just gives that little extra nudge and it’s much clearer for the public.”

Anyone who wants people such as this controlling their lives — control being the operative word, as it has been with tobacco — can have at it. Smokers have said for years that Tobacco Control can use their blueprint for any other ‘health’ advocacy issue, from bans on salt and sugar to … well, we’d never have guessed it … mandatory face coverings.

We will just have to play by the rules rather than risk a police-enforceable £100 fine (half-off if one pays within 14 days).

If more people shop online than in the high street, I hope that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will bring that to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s attention. We need shops and personal discretion, not a useless policy from Matt Hancock, who, at the best of times, sounds like a second-rate headmaster.

I will have more on the dubious efficacy of masks soon.

In the beginning of 2020, the WHO and health experts around the world told us that there were no value in wearing a mask to combat coronavirus.

This is the reason why:

https://bakocarlcom.files.wordpress.com/2020/07/cvfence3.jpg

Graphic credit: Bakocarl.

In southeast Asia, people wear them as a courtesy to others not as a preventive measure.

As lockdowns lifted in the Western world, masks were recommended. In some cases, they became mandatory, e.g. in France and the UK on public transport.

Healthy people should not wear masks.

I see a lot of younger adults — twenty- and thirty-somethings — wearing masks. Why?

The fear factor surrounding coronavirus is troubling, especially as lockdown lifts. Londoner Martin Geddes sums it up perfectly:

This delightful American explains why she is not wearing a mask. She asks that mask wearers not criticise her. She says that a) she loves God and b) trusts her immune system:

The American in the next video asks us to consider coronavirus in depth: dubious test results, job losses, tanking economies, spurious death rates and more.

He also points out that, while governments consider it acceptable for private sector and the self-employed to lose their livelihoods, public sector employees still have theirs!

He also presents another fact: our governments consider it okay to shut down entire countries, but, while that’s going on, it’s just fine to get abortions to exterminate the young and do away with the old in the egregious care home deaths that have taken place. Just to be clear, he strongly objects to lockdown, abortion, and causing the elderly to die.

This is a must-watch:

That clip comes in the middle of this five-minute video, which is all about coronavirus and how lockdown has ruined our lives this year. This is well worth watching, too:

Remember back in March when our leaders told us we’d only be locked down for a couple of weeks to ‘flatten the sombrero’ of the potential strain on all of our health care systems?

It’s now the middle of July. Consider where your country or state is with regard to lockdown.

In England, there has been a long delay for some industry sectors to reopen. This week in Parliament, many MPs — men included — asked daily about beauty salons. Conservative MP Caroline Nokes was one of them:

A week ago, hairdressers, pubs and restaurants were allowed to open.

On Thursday, July 9, Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, announced that reopenings would continue this weekend:

Even with this good news, many performers will not be able to get back to work as only outdoor performances will be allowed at this time.

Beauty salons will not be able to offer facials for now. Those are lucrative treatments, which would help salons recover more quickly:

This is simply absurd.

That said, Wales and Scotland are even more locked down than we are.

Strangely, a large number of people like lockdown and masks.

That in itself should give us pause for thought.

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? If you wish to borrow, 1) please use the link from the post, 2) give credit to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 3) copy only selected paragraphs from the post — not all of it.
PLAGIARISERS will be named and shamed.
First case: June 2-3, 2011 — resolved

Creative Commons License
Churchmouse Campanologist by Churchmouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://churchmousec.wordpress.com/.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,472 other followers

Archive

Calendar of posts

August 2020
S M T W T F S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

http://martinscriblerus.com/

Bloglisting.net - The internets fastest growing blog directory
Powered by WebRing.
This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.

Blog Stats

  • 1,609,222 hits