The Mask Problem
Before 2020, nobody even thought they’d be effective against viruses, two years later we have even more evidence that they don’t work, and yet public health authorities won’t stop promoting them.
Perhaps there is hope, even for Germany: Nine days into the lifting of the general indoor mask requirement, a marked shift in habits is underway. Fewer and fewer are bothering with useless plastic face-diapers.
As I carry out my semi-regular supermarket surveys, though, I’ve begun pondering all over again the whole problem of masks, and why we ever started wearing them, and what it all means.
The story is bizarre:
Everyone will remember that Corona astrologers and public health authorities, from Anthony Fauci to Christian Drosten, advised against masks early on. They pointed to longstanding public-health guidelines against community masking, which they claimed was powerless against viral infection. Then, beginning in April 2020, these very same people started singing a different tune. They had only played down the utility of masks to preserve their availability for healthcare personnel, they said. In fact everybody should wear masks; they would prevent infections, perhaps even make lockdowns unnecessary.
They proceeded to impose mask mandates upon the better part of the world. Lungs everywhere filled with new microplastics, oceans accumulated a new kind of trash, all of it to no effect whatever. Older public health doctrine against masking, it turns out, was totally right. Mandates plainly have no effect on infection curves. This is because SARS-2 is primarily transmitted by aerosols; it works like a gas that fills indoor spaces. Only N95 or FFP2 respirators have any chance of stopping the inhalation of these microscopic particles, but the discipline required to fit and seal a respirator properly is both inconsistent with the low quality of commonly available models, and incompatible with use outside of a controlled hospital environment. Thus, even respirators are totally worthless.
I am open to theories as to how our pointless mask obsessions ever came to be. Right now I have three ideas, which aren’t mutually exclusive and probably all apply to varying degrees:
Copying Asia: Corona was less virulent in the Asia-Pacific region, where masks are more common. A big part of how we got lockdowns and the rest of containment, was a bunch of people assuming that Asia was doing it right and that we needed to copy them.
Making Corona Visible: Consciously or unconsciously (probably both), public health authorities wanted a means of making the pandemic real and tangible to the masses. Pervasive disease statistics were part of this, hand sanitiser and distancing rules another part, masks yet another part.
Maintaining Useful Fictions: A lot of people came out of the first-wave propaganda campaign believing that SARS-2 had a 10% fatality rate and was likely to kill their kids. How could such an enormous threat be reconciled with the decision of authorities to insist on ordinary routine supermarket shopping, to end closures after April, or to weigh the problem of reopening schools? Rather than admit the danger of the virus had been wildly over-hyped, they claimed to have a charm that would magically save its wearers.