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Covid

The mask farce is over

The farce of mask mandates has come to an end after two long years of mandatory use indoors - one of them with the grotesque obligation outdoors - without preventing wave after wave of contagion from occurring and twelve million Spaniards from contracting covid, an official figure that is orders of magnitude lower than the real one.

Fernando del Pino Calvo Sotelo

April 22, 2022

The farce of mask mandates has come to an end after two long years of mandatory use indoors – one of them with the grotesque obligation outdoors – without preventing wave after wave of contagion from occurring and twelve million Spaniards from contracting covid, an official figure that is orders of magnitude lower than the real one. The acceptance by the authorities of cloth masks chosen for their color or design and not for their efficacy was an indication that we were facing a charade. However, although after two years with the virus moving around at will, the uselessness of the masks should be obvious to everyone, it is necessary to denounce it. The reason is that while they have not prevented the spread of the virus, they have reinforced the neurosis of part of the population, which now feels unprotected without them.

Politics soon contaminated health policies. When Spain’s regional governments imposed masks in 2020 (including outdoors), not a single media outlet criticized the measure, as it affected all parties. However, when the central government briefly reimposed the absurd outdoor mask mandate the opposition media did not hesitate to criticize it without blushing. In fact, if anything can be criticized about the end of the masks’ mandate, it is its arbitrary exceptions, which force a part of the population to continue with the farce. Is it so difficult to defend that whoever wants to wear a mask should wear it and whoever does not want to, should not?

Spain has taken much longer to eliminate the mask than other European countries, such as the UK, which eliminated it three months ago. However, North American states such as Texas eliminated it completely (without exceptions) a year ago and the subsequent epidemiological path has been no different from other well masked states. The case of Sweden is quite telling. In spite of not suffering during most of the epidemic neither lockdowns, nor curfews, nor mandatory masks, that is, without ruining lives and businesses or leaving the population mentally scarred, it has had fewer deaths per million than Spain, Portugal, France, the United Kingdom or Italy [1]. The region of Stockholm has suffered half as many deaths per million people [2] as Madrid’s region. Shouldn’t these figures be food for thought? So much sacrifice, so much imposition, so many absurd rules, so much tyranny, so much hysteria, all for what?

Face masks have not worked

From the beginning, scientific evidence, initially weak and contradictory, was however skeptical about the real effectiveness of face masks. In March 2020 the Journal of the American Medical Association published that “there is no evidence to suggest that facemasks worn by healthy people are effective [3]“, and a robust Cochrane review concluded that “compared with not wearing a facemask, wearing a facemask makes little or no difference in the transmission of influenza-like illness[4]“. We now have real-world data. The first randomized controlled trial (level 1 of scientific evidence) on the actual efficacy of surgical masks against covid, run in Denmark, concluded that their protection was statistically insignificant[5]. On the other hand, in the US there has been no difference in the level of infection between states with mask mandates (black line) and those that have respected the freedom of their citizens (orange line)[6]:

The obligation to wear masks was particularly inhumane for children, for whom covid is less dangerous than influenza[7]. It did not matter that the European health authorities themselves reiterated that “child-to-child transmission in schools is infrequent[8]“, or that in Sweden, with schools operating normally, there was “not a single death in a school population of almost two million children[9] and no higher relative risk for teachers than for the rest of the population[10]“. The masks have not only damaged the physical and psychological health of the children, but have been epidemiologically useless. A recent study conducted in Catalonia with 600,000 children confirmed that mandatory masks in schools “were not associated with a lower incidence or transmission of SARS-CoV-2, suggesting that this intervention was not effective[11]“. These data should shame our political leaders, who have had the school population suffocated for two academic years without the slightest concern for their physical or psychological well-being, a situation extrapolated to universities that have not hesitated to impose a regime of superstitious fear typical of the worst dystopia and that now use possibly illegal scare tactics to pressure their alumni to continue to wear masks in spite of the law.

The real causes of masks’ mandates

Beyond the mimicry that guides the political class when it does not know what to do, the imposition of masks has different causes, none of them scientific. In the UK, a group of psychologists denounced the intentionality of the terror tactics used to make the population accept unimaginable restrictions to their freedoms[12]. Among them they mentioned the imposition of face masks, “a potent symbol of danger” that kept the population in a constant state of fear. Masks have also been the ideal tool to shift the responsibility for the epidemic to (initially centered, as you will recall, on the ineptitude of the authorities) to the citizen, so that if the virus continued to circulate it was the fault of those who did not comply with the rules. The masks also served the purpose of creating an illusion of control in the citizen (“it is in my power to do something”), making him naively believe that compliance guaranteed his health, despite the evidence. Masks did not offer security, but a sense of security. Hence, after two years of anguish, some people today contemplate with panic the possibility of taking the mask off, which shows that they do not need more masks, but psychological help. Indeed, the constant media campaign of terror has provoked in part of the population mental pathologies that will not easily subside.

Back to life without fear

“The antidote to fear is knowledge,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. Indeed, the media terror campaign was based from the outset on the repetition of fallacies that were not supported by data or science and were designed to keep the population lost in a fog of ignorance and crippled by panic. Naturally, this terror campaign defended the interests of the political-media-pharma conglomerate: politicians could more easily impose their tyranny on a terrified population, the media sold their sensationalism, and big pharma was able to push its vaccines and gene therapies on the entire population and not only on those for whom the covid could become serious. Indeed, the first fallacy was to make people believe that covid was a very dangerous disease for everyone. However, practically from the beginning of the epidemic it was known that covid was only potentially serious for a minority of the population determined by age and comorbidities, while for the rest it was statistically mild. Even with the first variants, more severe than the current ones, the survival rate was very high: more than 96% of those over 70 years of age, 99,7% of those aged 50-70 years and more than 99.99% of those under 50 survived covid[13]. And if you were healthy and did not suffer from diabetes, heart disease, obesity or hypertension, the risk of dying from covid was so reduced that it became a negligible probability for a vast majority of the population[14]. These were the real data, concealed by the political-media-pharma contumacy.

Likewise, for the obvious purpose of selling more vaccines, natural immunity was scandalously ignored for the first time in history despite the fact that it was known that those who had passed the covid, even in a mild form, had a very long-term natural immunity at all levels of defense: mucosal (IgA), humoral, cellular, and even sterilizing immunity[15]. Natural immunity was far superior to that produced by vaccines[16], so that, in case of contact with the virus again, there would be no symptoms or very mild ones. The most recent study on natural immunization corroborates these data, as it concludes that the rate of reinfection in those who passed covid with the alpha and delta variants was only 0.73% for adults and 0.21% for children[17]. With Omicron, natural immunization from previous variants has been lower, but those reinfected have had mild symptoms, “like a cold”, which we did not worry about before. Why now?

We must get rid of the superstitious dread that has enslaved us and get back to living our lives. Prudence and common sense are not at odds with this, but we must be aware that the masks not only offer little or no protection, as has become clear, but also make us mentally ill by making fear and obsession in us chronic. Covid is already an endemic disease that we cannot eradicate, but fear is another endemic disease, and we can eradicate it.

Face masks, a sad symbol of submission

Mask mandates has had a deeper meaning, since they have represented one more step in the accelerated process of submission of the citizen to the political power whose end is the new totalitarianism towards which we are being directed, in which everything is forbidden under a shield of lies and in which there is no longer freedom of expression, but media uniformity and censorship “for our own good”. This submission has been especially humiliating when the population accepted rules contrary to common sense, such as wearing masks on the beach, in the countryside or on a lonely street. It has also shown that power does not need an omnipresent police presence to impose itself: as in Stasi times, collaborationists have been in charge of monitoring and admonishing those who dared to resist.

The response of Western authorities to the first epidemic worth mentioning in decades has become a totalitarian experiment in restricting rights and freedoms based on three impositions: lockdowns, masks and vaccines. Contrary to the media unanimity, none of the three measures has been particularly effective. All, however, have had serious unintended consequences. Have we learned anything? I fear that many citizens, trapped between fear, ignorance, sheepishness and blind obedience, have not, but power junkies definitely have: they have learned that if they manage to scare us enough we will be able to accept any yoke, even sacrifice the wellbeing of our children and meekly accept that our elders will die alone in the hospital “for safety reasons”. Therefore, if the new totalitarianism arrives, we will no longer be able to blame the tyrants, but rather the sick, submissive, and fearful society we have created, which will welcome them as saviors with open arms.

[1] COVID Live – Coronavirus Statistics – Worldometer (worldometers.info)
[2] Covid-19 in Sweden – deaths (covid19insweden.com)
[3] Medical Masks | Infectious Diseases | JAMA | JAMA Network
[4] ¿Las medidas físicas, como el lavado de manos o el uso de mascarillas, detienen o frenan la propagación de los virus respiratorios? | Cochrane
[5] Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers: A Randomized Controlled Trial: Annals of Internal Medicine: Vol 174, No 3 (acpjournals.org)
[6] Federal Judge Declares Enforcement of Mask Mandates on Public Transport Unlawful – The Daily Sceptic
[7] Great Barrington Declaration (gbdeclaration.org)
[8] COVID-19 and schools transmission (europa.eu)
[9] The Case Against Covid Tests for the Young and Healthy – WSJ
[10] Open Schools, Covid-19, and Child and Teacher Morbidity in Sweden | NEJM
[11] Unravelling the Role of the Mandatory Use of Face Covering Masks for the Control of SARS-CoV-2 in Schools: A Quasi-Experimental Study Nested in a Population-Based Cohort in Catalonia (Spain) by Ermengol Coma, Martí Català, Leonardo Méndez-Boo, Sergio Alonso, Eduardo Hermosilla, Enric Alvarez-Lacalle, David Pino, Manuel Medina-Peralta, Laia Asso, Anna Gatell, Quique Bassat, Ariadna Mas, Antoni Soriano-Arandes, Francesc Fina-Aviles, Clara Prats :: SSRN
[12] State of fear: how ministers ‘used covert tactics’ to keep scared public at home (telegraph.co.uk
[13] Superstition and science in the covid – Fernando del Pino Calvo-Sotelo (fpcs.es)
[14] A. Mantovani, El Mundo, April 15, 2020; Q. Long et al., Nature, April 29, 2020; L. Ni et al., NCBI, May 3, 2020; A. Wajnberg et al., medRxiv.org (May 5, 2020); N. Le Bert et al., Nature (July 15, 2020); S. Burgess et al., BMJ (September 3, 2020); M.W. Russell et al., Frontiers in Immunology (November 30, 2020); D.S. Kim et al., Frontiers in Immunology (December 9, 2020)
[15] Frontiers | Will SARS-CoV-2 Infection Elicit Long-Lasting Protective or Sterilising Immunity? Implications for Vaccine Strategies (2020) | Immunology (frontiersin.org)
[16] Risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfections in children: a prospective national surveillance study between January, 2020, and July, 2021, in England (thelancet.com)
[17] Risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfections in children: a prospective national surveillance study between January, 2020, and July, 2021, in England (thelancet.com)

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