Never mind that masks don’t work, masking the healthy harms us all socially and psychologically: all mandates must end on June 21st says Dr Gary Sidley.
Writing in Lockdown Sceptics, Dr Sidley says:
The Government requirement for healthy people to wear a face covering in a range of indoor community settings, purportedly to reduce the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has arguably been the most insidious of all the coronavirus restrictions.
Anyone reluctant to wear a face covering risks being challenged by others: “It’s only a mask”; “It’s no big deal”; “If it prevents just one infection, it’s worth it”. These comments are based on the premise that healthy people have nothing to lose from donning a mask when moving around their communities, but they fail to recognise an important truth:
Masking the healthy is not, and has never been, a benign intervention.
Dr Sidley goes on to say:
Masks Promote mindless compliance – The scientific evidence that masking the healthy reduces viral transmission is, at best, weak and contradictory. The decision by public health experts to mandate them is likely to have been influenced by the Government’s behavioural scientists in their attempts to enhance the public’s compliance with the range of coronavirus restrictions. We are strongly influenced by what others do, and masks enable easy identification of the rule followers and the rule breakers, thus bringing ‘normative pressure’ to bear on the miscreants to unthinkingly conform. (A recent book, A State of Fear by Laura Dodsworth, lends support to this idea that masks are a tool to promote compliance, a Government advisor informing her that psychologists on the behavioural science subgroup of SAGE liked them because “they conveyed a message of solidarity”).
Masks Maintain elevated levels of fear – Acting as a crude, highly visible reminder that danger is all around, face coverings are fuelling widespread anxiety. Fear is underpinned by a perception of threat and being masked is a blatant indicator that we are all biohazards. At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, fear was strategically increased on the recommendation of the Government’s behavioural scientists as a means of promoting compliance with the restrictions. Unfortunately, the resultant inflated fear levels have discouraged people from seeking help with non-Covid illnesses and are likely to have significantly contributed to the tens of thousands of non-Covid excess deaths that have occurred in private homes. It is plausible to suggest that masking is maintaining this elevated level of fear and thereby contributing to this tragic loss of life.
Masks Inhibit emotional expression & social interaction – Face coverings discourage all forms of communication, both verbal and non-verbal. The difficulty in determining the emotional status of someone we meet will inhibit any form of shared pleasantry or human connection. Individuality minimised, identity hidden, the masked population appear broadly the same, as they trudge along in their social vacuums.
Masks Impedes children’s social development – Face-to-face interactions, and positive attachments to adult caregivers, are essential for a child’s social development. Masks deny children access to facial expressions, a rich source of information crucial for their psychological maturation and the growth of emotional intelligence.
The Doctor goes on to say:
'It has often been suggested that face coverings can reassure people that they are safe to return to shops, restaurants and other community venues, thereby aiding the economic recovery. The Government endorsed this view in their response to an anti-mask petition when they argued that masks could ‘give people more confidence’ when shopping and therefore encourage them to return to the high street. But as any psychological therapist knows, the assertion that face coverings will reduce people’s anxieties about contracting a virus is absurd.'
'As already mentioned, masks act as a crude reminder that danger is all around. Furthermore, they constitute what psychologists refer to as a ‘safety behaviour’ that acts to prevent disconfirmation of anxious beliefs; continuing to wear masks will maintain fear as the wearer may attribute their survival to the mask rather than conclude that it is now safe to return to normal activities. To recommend masks as a source of reassurance is akin to insisting people wear a garlic clove around their necks to reduce their fear of vampires.'
'To summarise, the evidence that masks reduce viral transmission is weak and contradictory, while there is better-quality research to support the conclusion that they do not significantly reduce the risk of respiratory infections in real-world settings. Although generally under-investigated, there is accumulating evidence that masking healthy people, particularly for long periods of time, can cause a range of physical harms. More importantly, face coverings are associated with profound social and psychological consequences, with fear maintenance and the stymying of children’s social and emotional development being the most concerning.'