Thursday, March 28, 2024

Four Years Later

Has the dust settled?

Far from it. It is everywhere. We are choking on it. The storm cloud comes in many forms: inflation, learning losses, ill-health, high crime, non-functioning government services, broken supply chains, shoddy work, displaced workers, substance abuse, mass loneliness, discredited authority, a growing real estate crisis, censored technology and overweening state power.

For that matter, consider that Easter, the day to celebrate the Son of God’s triumph of life over death, itself was cancelled for public worship just four years ago. That actually happened. Not even at the height of World War II was there a consideration of such a thing, or even cancelling baseball. When the idea was suggested in a famous movie script, Spencer Tracy asked “Why would you abolish the thing you are trying to preserve?” (Woman of the Year 1942).

Good question. What precisely was the point of the hell we went through? Who did it and why? Why did it last so long? Why has there been no official accounting?

The lack of any real accountability or even so much as an apology is a foreshadowing: they will keep their newfound powers and try it all again.

Meanwhile, the world is on fire with war, mass killings, crime, hunger and revolution.

All of this traces to lockdowns that began March 2020, the subject about which no one in polite society speaks. It was a painful period, to be sure. The people who did this to us are hoping that we are too traumatised to pursue accountability, much less justice. To the extent we feel that way, we are playing right into their hands.

Even now, there are hundreds and even thousands of questions.

Why were there no widespread seroprevalence tests of the population before locking down? This would have been a great way to measure the level of pre-existing exposure and assess whether Deborah Birx’s stated objective to bring about Zero Covid had any chance of success.

Where did the World Health Organisation get the completely bogus 3.4% infection fatality rate number and why did it push it out?

For that matter, why did the lockdown architects not bother with the vast literature already extant, accepted as definitive in the public-health world, that lockdowns achieve only destruction and there was no form of physical intervention that had any hope of stopping a virus destined to spread to the whole population?

These were known about at the time, as were the broad outlines of the impact of this virus. So let there be no more talk about how little we knew at the time. We knew.

We still don’t know:

how they talked Trump into reversing his anti-lockdown stance on or around March 10th 2020;

to what extent the sudden spread of the virus was fuelled by testing or even how accurate the tests were;

whether the sudden wave of early death was panic-based or iatrogenic or actually the virus;

how it is that previously obscure agencies gained the power to manage the U.S. workforce and censor media;

who precisely gave the order to lock down U.S. hospital care and why;

how it came to be that the Government tried to drive conventional antivirals out of the marketplace;

who had pre-written the thousand-page bills that authorised $2 trillion in spending that broke the budget and unleashed an experiment of universal basic income.

Strangely, much of this can be explained by the crazed ambition to preserve population-wide immunological naïveté while waiting for the vaccine to arrive in mid-November, eight months later. Was that always the idea, in which case the “15 Days to Flatten Curve” was known to be complete gibberish? If that is actually true, the arrogance and sadism of the policy goal here boggles the mind.

And if that is true, why? Was it to deploy a new platform technology called mRNA that otherwise would obtain no chance for a generalised trial through normal paths? Is that the reason that Anthony Fauci went after the J&J vaccine early on, as a tactic to drive it out of the market and prepare a clean slate for Pfizer and Moderna?

If that was the goal, was it ever stated in private and by whom? Who knew the goal from the beginning?

That anyone among the ruling class could even consider conscripting the whole population into such a biological experiment gives rise to wartime ghouls of a past we thought we had left behind.

These questions only scratch the surface. Even after four years of researching this topic as part of a very large team that has scoured through a million pages of documentation and stories, having written two books and many thousands of articles, and being fuelled by a burning desire to know, most of us still have no clear answer to the profound question: why and how did this happen to us?

There are many theories, all with plausibility but none with the capacity to explain the whole.

We might say that pharma was behind the whole thing. That seems credible. The goal of testing mRNA on the global population explains a lot, especially given the trumped-up emergency situation. But the very notion that hundreds of governments around the world became surreptitiously captured stretches plausibility.

We might observe that digital tech manipulated policy to give itself a boost. The first big and viral article on the whole lockdown idea was by Thomas “Hammer-and-Dance” Pueyo, a CEO of an online learning hub that became a huge winner. Streaming platforms benefited and so did Amazon as a grocery and goods source, as did Uber Eats and DoorDash and others such as Zoom.

But are we really supposed to believe that human liberties the world over were wrecked to boost profits of this one industry? Again, that’s a stretch. And the same could be said of the theory that media was the driving force. Yes, they won big time, deploying censorship as an industrial tactic against new media startups. But how in the world would they have gained so much power the world over?

Then there is the view that the whole monstrous scheme was concocted to drive Trump out of office by creating chaos and greenlighting mail-in ballots that are difficult if not impossible to check for validity. That seems to check many empirical boxes. No question that there was some major effort to confuse the public as if the presence of the virus was a metaphor for the Trump administration itself that needed to be strangled.

There is surely truth here but how does that account for the hundreds of other governments around the world following the same path? That the response was not just national but global raises real questions.

In that context we might draw attention to the role of the CCP, which first deployed lockdowns amidst theatrically produced videos of people dying in the streets and then leaning on its power over the World Health Organisation to recommend lockdowns to the whole planet.

There’s truth in that theory too.

In the deeper realms, we are wise to visit the depths of the RFK Jr. book The Wuhan Cover-Up, which explains the history of the U.S. bioweapons programme dating back to the end of World War II. There are secret labs all over the world supported by the U.S., including in Wuhan. Their activities and funding are covered by classified restrictions from public access.

The purpose of gain-of-function research is said to be not to discover solutions to emerging new pathogens but to create new pathogens with antidotes that we have and the enemy does not have.

Was the release of this one pathogen part of this programme? If so, that would explain why the intelligence and security bureaucracies became involved very deeply early on and also explain why so many FOIA requests about every aspect of this come back heavily redacted and why we are having such a hard time getting information in general.

Any time a policy matter touches the realm of national security and intelligence, it is covered by an impenetrable veil of secrecy that no law or court seems to be able to control. This site has often explored this path of inquiry too with a great deal of evidence supporting it. In this case, we are really talking about a next-level theory, that of a digital-age coup by Deep State masters against civilian society and democracy itself.

You can probably generate another 10 or more compelling theories about the whole episode. Connecting the dots is a full-time job.

A wise man mentioned to me yesterday the astounding fact that we still do not have a full explanation of why and how the Great War came to be. That war ended old-world civilisation as we knew it. In some ways, now looking back, it was the beginning of the end of what we might call high civilisation and the prospects for peace. It unleashed the Bolshevik Revolution, caused Western-style freedoms to be mitigated by administrative state actors, introduced the idea of total war, recruited whole populations to become soldiers and otherwise shredded near-global expectations for ever rising prosperity and peace.

And yet, we still don’t know fully why or how it happened. Error piled on error and malice on malice. Once that kind of sadistic chaos tempts a ruling class, many other institutions sign up to join the party of pillage and plunder and society finds itself picked apart by interest groups that care nothing for the good of all, much less human rights.

That’s a pretty solid description of what happened to us four years ago. They broke the world.

[The Great War was certainly a great horror and a great turning point. It seems crazy in retrospect. I have argued, however, that it was a rational response to the circumstances of its time:

We may never get the truth but we can get closer to the truth. There will be no stopping the efforts.




Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Lockdowns could cause more harm than Covid-19 and there was no evidence that wearing masks was useful

Germany's top public health agency knew that Covid lockdowns could be more damaging than the virus itself as early as December 2020 and said mask mandates were not backed by evidence, it has been revealed.

Newly published documents from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) show its researchers explicitly warned that their analysis showed lockdowns in Africa showed 'an expected rise in child mortality'.

'The consequences of the lockdowns are in parts more severe than the virus itself,' the December 2020 report said, with another document dated to October 2020 suggesting that there was 'no evidence' to support that FFP2 medical masks could prevent the spread of Covid.

But the findings were never made public, despite researchers clearly advocating for the open communication of their research in meeting minutes, with the German government choosing to pursue legislation their own researchers advised against.

The revelations come after a two-year legal battle between the RKI and German magazine Multipolar, which ultimately won the court case to publish documents that were heavily redacted by the health agency.

Multipolar has since launched another legal claim in an attempt to secure full access to the unredacted documents, which may conceal a trove of Covid policy recommendations that the RKI and the German government opted not to share with the public.

The saga now threatens to trigger a fallout in the German government, with Bundestag Vice President Wolfgang Kubicki telling German media: 'The protocols of the RKI crisis team, some of which have now been released, raise considerable doubts as to whether the political measures to deal with the corona pandemic were really taken on a scientific basis.'

Kubicki told German outlet Bild that 'the top of the RKI, of all people, followed the political guidelines of the respective federal government and thus provided the necessary scientific facade for Corona policy.'

Seven in ten scientists say ministers failed to consider the long-term damage of lockdowns during the Covid pandemic

He also called on Germany's Federal Minister of Health, Karl Lauterbach, to 'present all protocols to the public without redactions in order to create complete transparency about the internal discussions and the basis for decisions.

'If Karl Lauterbach does not follow my request, as a parliamentarian I will work to persuade him to make this disclosure so that the clarification can finally be satisfied.'

Meanwhile, the former leader of Germany's Christian Democratic Union party Armin Laschet has declared the RKI must go public with its findings.

Speaking with German broadcaster ZDF, the parliamentarian said: 'We have to disclose everything.

'You can see how differentiated the discussions were at the RKI back then and how little of this diversity of opinion ultimately found its way into concrete policy,' he continued, recalling how debates over Covid policy became 'moralised'.

'Either you are for one measure or you are a Corona denier. But there was a lot in between,' he concluded.

Meanwhile, a minute from an RKI meeting in January 2021 expressed concerns with the viability of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, with researchers warning its use 'should be discussed' because the jab was 'not as perfect'.

That same jab - that was offered to millions in the UK - was later discontinued and not offered as a booster after reports surfaced of people developing blood clots in combination with low platelet levels.

The shocking revelations come as public health experts in the UK slammed the government's Covid inquiry for 'bias', claiming it has failed to investigate the harmful impact of lockdown on British society.

More than 50 scholars and academics from some of the UK's top universities wrote to inquiry chairman Baroness Heather Hallett earlier this month urging her to 'address its apparent biases, assumptions and impartiality'.

They accuse the inquiry of 'not living up to its mission to evaluate the mistakes made during the pandemic', including whether measures such as lockdowns and restrictions on mass gatherings were 'appropriate'.

Letter co-author Dr Kevin Bardosh, director of think-tank Collateral Global, accused the inquiry of handing 'softball' questions to architects of government policy, while 'grilling' witnesses who were opposed to mass restrictions on public freedoms.

He told the Mail: 'The inquiry is not seriously questioning their (scientific advisers') assessments around the justification for their policies.

'The inquiry is not interested in whether these policy decisions were good for the country, and that seems a mistake.'

The terms of reference setting out the scope of the inquiry were established by the Government following public pressure for an inquiry.

But Dr Bardosh accused Hugo Keith KC, lead counsel to the inquiry, of being more 'obsessed with reading out swear words in private WhatsApp messages than getting to the substance' of decision-making.

He said: 'He seems to be concerned a lot with political theatre and having these 'gotcha' moments.'

Cancer specialist Professor Karol Sikora, who signed the letter, described the inquiry as 'completely useless'.

He added: 'It is structured to assess blame and not the scientific basis of the decision making. That's the difference between lawyers and scientists.

'The decisions made during the pandemic were clearly wrong - 'how' wrong has to be a scientific assessment.

'The current framework for the current inquiry is a legal one - totally unsuited to addressing the key questions.

'We're not interested in WhatsApp gossip. We have to learn from the past - it's not about the apportioning of blame but simply how to do better next time.'

The inquiry began hearing evidence in June last year, with testimony from the likes of prime minister Rishi Sunak, Covid-era premier Boris Johnson, and ex-health secretary Matt Hancock, as well as a host of the most senior scientific and medical advisers to the Government.

The bill for the inquiry has already topped £78 million up to the end of last year, according to its latest financial report.

In its letter, the group said: 'The inquiry originated in legal petitions brought by bereaved family groups. Yet there has been little opportunity for petitions to be brought by those who have suffered from the negative effects of pandemic policy decisions.

'This is preventing a more holistic assessment of impacts on population health and wellbeing. This lack of neutrality appears to have led to biassed reasoning and predetermined conclusions, for example, to lockdown faster next time.'

It said the inquiry, which is due to run until 2026, has 'adopted a legal format that prevents a systematic evaluation of the evidence by biomedical and social scientists on the harms of restrictions to the British public' and is instead 'focused on who did or said what, rather than asking fundamental scientific questions'.

It said the probe 'appears unsuited to the task' of investigating 'the interplay between harms, benefits and best practice' in order to prepare for the next pandemic.


"COVID Revisited" Conference to Shed Light on Australia's Pandemic Response

Almost four years since the pandemic began, COVID-19 continues to leave its mark on Australia, affecting healthcare and society in general. While the vaccines offered some degree of protection, controversies remain around the pandemic response. These include a case brought against pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna and calls seeking transparency from the Australian government about its pandemic measures. TrialSite has reported before on Australian analysts challenging the pandemic narrative driven by the government.

To discuss the lessons learned and examine past challenges, the Australian Medical Professionals’ Society (AMPS) is organizing a conference named “COVID Revisited: Lessons Learned, Challenges Faced, and the Road Ahead.” The event aims to provide a platform from which to discuss the government’s decisions during the pandemic and policies to guide future responses.

As time passes, the controversies surrounding the lockdown measures and vaccine mandates in Australia seem to intensify. TrialSite previously reported on a legal case filed against Pfizer and Moderna in the Federal Court of Australia accusing them of lacking transparency regarding alleged DNA contaminants and GMOs in their vaccines. This case was filed by Dr. Julian Fidge and handled by lawyer Katie Ashby-Koppens and former barrister Julian Gillespie.

Providing an update in a February 2024 Substack article, Gillespie explained that the presiding judge, Hon Helen Mary Joan Rofe, had at the time delayed a final decision on the defendant's application for a case dismissal. However, on March 1, 2024, Rofe dismissed Fidge’s lawsuit against Pfizer and Moderna. For the time being, this ruling has put a halt to any likely legal challenges gaining traction against the mRNA vaccines.

We also reported in February 2024 that Australians were demanding a COVID-19 Royal Commission to investigate the vaccine mandates and pandemic measures implemented in the country. Ashby-Koppens was among those calling for this Royal Commission. According to Gillespie, the Senate Terms of Reference Committee is currently deliberating this.

Despite Rofe’s ruling, the critics are not backing down. With the AMPS’s conference looking to help people learn and discuss better ways to handle future pandemics through the “COVID Revisited” program and the ongoing process at the Senate Terms of Reference committee, the critics believe that the upcoming conference “reflects the Australian people's wish for a review of the government response to COVID-19.”

The “COVID Revisited” conference

The conference is scheduled for April 2, 2024, and will take place in the State Library NSW Auditorium. According to AMPS, top medical and academic professionals from around the world will be in attendance, with the event garnering support from notable organizations like the National Institute of Integrative Medicine (NIIM), Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM), World of Wellness International (WOW) and Children’s Health Defense Australia Chapter (CHD).

Speaking about the conference’s mission, AMPS secretary Kara Thomas stated, "Our mission is clear. We aim to generate tangible policy recommendations that substantially influence the management of future pandemic crisis situations."

Emeritus Professor Robert Clancy, one of the speakers, provided insights into the event’s structure and its focus on examining the government's handling of the COVID-19 response. “This symposium is structured to reflect the collective views of those involved in this response,” Clancy said, “with a particular focus on lessons learned as to mistakes made and how best to go forward with the best plan to handle health challenges of similar ill when next encountered.”

He further stated, “Presentations from professionals covering these disciplines will be followed by an interactive workshop with an expert panel charged with identifying outcomes. The day will conclude with a reception allowing informal discussion amongst participants and attendees. A book including presentations and outcomes will be published.”

According to AMPS, the conference will produce a set of well-defined resolutions, to be shared widely with practitioners, public health authorities and government bodies. These resolutions will identify practical measures to ensure safe and effective responses. In doing so, they aim to reduce mishandling in crisis management that could potentially compromise Australians’ health.

Progress achieved and challenges faced during the pandemic

The Australian government’s pandemic measures yielded a mixed set of outcomes. The Financial Times reported that while Australia’s initial zero-COVID strategy showed positive results in containing the virus, some critics argued that it was too strict with potential adverse economic implications.

The government’s actions included closing international borders to non-residents and, at times, restricting internal state border crossings. Widespread testing and contact tracing enabled authorities to suppress community transmission and by June 2021, Australia had recorded low COVID-19 case numbers compared to other countries.

However, these actions by the government had some negative impact on businesses and families, as business owners complained that the lockdown lingered for too long. According to a Lancet study, the Australian government was accused of discriminatory travel restrictions against specific countries, leaving many Australians stranded abroad for long periods. Moreover, as new variants emerged, maintaining zero-COVID became increasingly difficult. The Australian authorities then shifted their focus to pushing vaccination campaigns and moved from their zero-COVID policy in September 2021.




Monday, March 25, 2024

The Harm of College Vaccine Mandates

Who would have believed we’d still be talking about Covid vaccine mandates in 2024, but given how resistant authority figures are to accepting reality, or defeat or acknowledging mistakes, it seems likely we’ll unfortunately be subjected to talking about them forever.

Dozens of colleges are continuing to enforce vaccine and booster mandates on students, refusing to accept, in the face of all available evidence and data, that there is no external health benefit whatsoever to forcing 18-year-olds to get injected with a vaccine with minimal, transient benefits but with potentially harmful side-effects.

This is made even more frustrating by the fact that the former director of the FDA recently admitted that the Covid vaccine approvals process, which gave colleges and universities licence to unnecessarily force mandates onto young people, was catastrophically and fatally flawed.

Now a few researchers have turned their efforts towards attaching specific, conclusive data to expose just how damaging and harmful these mandates have been for young college students.

And it’s not good news.

Covid Booster Mandates Were Completely Unnecessary

The results from this study in the Journal of Medical Ethics are jaw-dropping, both for the harms caused by booster mandates and how utterly meaningless those mandates are to preventing any negative outcomes from Covid.

As the authors explain, thousands if not millions of college students risked having their lives and educations upended if they refused to comply with Covid booster mandates. One would imagine that to risk the possible futures of their students, colleges and universities must have required clear-cut evidence that such mandates were necessary, effective and justifiable given the epidemiological circumstances.

That evidence did not exist.

The underlying assumption of booster mandates is that a mass wave of hospitalisations and serious Covid-caused health issues would occur if students weren’t forced to stay ‘up to date’ with their vaccinations. Another assumption was that immunity from previous infection was effectively nonexistent.

As this study clearly shows, both assumptions were wildly, unimaginably wrong.

Based on an examination of booster efficacy, specifically among the 18-29 age group that makes up the overwhelming majority of college and university students, the authors estimated that 22,000-30,000 young adults must be boosted to prevent one COVID-19 associated hospitalisation.

And even that’s an overstatement. It’s 22,000-30,000 uninfected adults.

We estimate that 22,000-30,000 previously uninfected adults aged 18-29 must be boosted with an mRNA vaccine to prevent one [COVID]-19 hospitalisation.

Given the prevalence of infection-acquired immunity, especially among young people, by the time booster mandates came into effect in late 2021 and early 2022, it’s likely that schools with large enrollments in the 20,000-25,000 range may not have prevented a single Covid hospitalisation with booster mandates.

Not one.

Assuming 70% of students had already contracted Covid by 2022 – an easily achievable number considering seroprevalence estimates at that time – a school with 20,000 students would also have had 14,000 with natural immunity. Meaning that at the higher end of the study’s estimates, you’d have to look through five major universities with booster mandates before finding a single avoided Covid hospitalisation.

This potentially life-changing policy, affecting millions of students and their futures, was almost entirely meaningless. And that’s only telling half the story.

‘Net Expected Harm’

Beyond the clear uselessness in terms of reducing hospitalisations, the researchers also found that there was likely a “net expected harm” from mandates thanks to the often-ignored vaccine side-effects.

Using CDC and sponsor-reported adverse event data, we find that booster mandates may cause a net expected harm: per [COVID]-19 hospitalisation prevented in previously uninfected young adults, we anticipate 18 to 98 serious adverse events, including 1.7 to 3.0 booster-associated myocarditis cases in males, and 1,373 to 3,234 cases of grade 3 or higher reactogenicity which interferes with daily activities.

Effectively, for every 22,000-30,000 students subjected to booster mandates, there could be as many as nearly 100 serious adverse events. And one prevented hospitalisation.

Not to mention quite literally thousands of side-effects that could interfere with “daily activities”.

So in order to possibly prevent one hospitalisation among tens of thousands of students, colleges and universities essentially subjected young adults, especially men, to a risk of serious adverse effects that was 18 times to 98 times higher.

A graphic from the study indicates how significant the gap between benefits and harms is in practice.

If you’re wondering how that makes any sense, I can assure you that it doesn’t. And again, these risk-benefit ratios fail to factor in the prevalence of natural immunity among young people. As the researchers point out, this obvious but purposefully ignored reality makes this policy even more inexcusable.

“Given the high prevalence of post-infection immunity, this risk-benefit profile is even less favourable,” the authors write. That makes the entire policy “unethical”, meaning that those impacted by it are more likely to be harmed by the intervention than helped.

University booster mandates are unethical because: 1) no formal risk-benefit assessment exists for this age group; 2) vaccine mandates may result in a net expected harm to individual young people; 3) mandates are not proportionate: expected harms are not outweighed by public health benefits given the modest and transient effectiveness of vaccines against transmission; 4) U.S. mandates violate the reciprocity principle because rare serious vaccine-related harms will not be reliably compensated due to gaps in current vaccine injury schemes; and 5) mandates create wider social harms.

Quite literally, there is a “net expected harm” for individual young people that were coerced into getting boosted rather than see their educational careers destroyed or futures derailed.

The very “experts” and administrators who admonished critics with endless appeals to authority, claiming that they were “following the science” while detractors were “anti-science” extremists, likely caused a net harm to thousands, if not millions of their students.

Booster mandates were unnecessary, unethical and harmful, with vanishingly small benefits and massive increases in risk. Many schools have quietly dropped their policies and mandates without acknowledging the harm they caused. But that doesn’t make it any less real, or any less inexcusable.

The actual science said they were wrong. Yet as has been so often the case during Covid policy debates, the actual science took a back seat to panic, fear, malicious coercion and inexcusable ignorance.


Vaccine mandates for NSW health workers to be dropped

NSW health workers will no longer need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 under a plan to phase out vaccine mandates.

Health workers in NSW will no longer be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as the state government moves to ditch mandates for the sector.

Health Minister Ryan Park confirmed the change would be going ahead after consulting with the state's health workforce.

'We know that COVID is still around but we've got to get back on with life,' he told Sydney radio 2GB.

'That means having a look at the measures we put in place during this period and seeing whether they still apply.

'We think this is one that we can engage with the workforce on and have a look to see if it's still applicable now.'

Public health orders mandating vaccines for health professionals were brought in during the pandemic and workers who refused either quit or were sacked.

While the order expired in November 2022, some workplaces have still been able to require mandatory vaccination under their own work, health and safety obligations.

Mr Park said if a decision was made to drop the mandates, workers who lost their jobs would be able to reapply to available positions through the usual recruitment processes.

He said COVID was still a public health threat and encouraged people to keep up with their vaccinations.

'But we've also got to make sure that we get on with running a health system after COVID and we can't continue in the same way that we did in the middle of the pandemic,' he said.




Sunday, March 24, 2024

More Gobbledegook about masks

Smile Free has often highlighted the utter nonsense espoused by the U.K. Government’s public health experts and plethora of advisers on the issue of community masking. Who can forget the flip-flops of Dr. Jenny Harries and Professors Whitty and Van-Tam in June 2020, transitioning from urging healthy people not to wear face coverings into strident pro-mask advocates? Or the absurd claim of Professor Trish Greenhalgh that science is the “enemy of good policy“? But, not to be outdone, the Scottish leg of the U.K. COVID-19 Inquiry has confirmed that the gobbledegook around masks was not confined to England but also infected the ‘experts’ operating north of the border.

After the extended ramblings of Nicola Sturgeon – trying, in vain, to justify the convenient deletion of all her Covid-related WhatsApp messages – we were treated to the appearances of Professor Jason Leitch (National Clinical Director), Humza Yousaf (Scotland’s First Minister), Colin Poolman (Royal College of Nursing Scotland Director) and Devi Sridhar (Professor of Global Public Health). Chunks of their testimonies constitute a mix of ignorance, a detachment from reality and Monty Pythonesque comedy.

Did anyone understand the mask rules?

Clearly, Humza Yousaf (the then Scottish Health Secretary, no less) didn’t. During Leitch’s appearance at the inquiry it was revealed that, in November 2021, Yousaf asked Leitch whether he needed to wear a mask when stood talking at a social event. Leitch responded:

Officially yes. But literally no one does. Have a drink in your hands at all times. Then you’re exempt. So if someone comes over and you stand, lift your drink… That’s fun. You’ll go down a treat.

When challenged by the Lead Counsel as to whether this was an example of a “work-around” to “get out of complying with the rules”, Leitch’s denial was less than concise:

There was an ambiguity here that I faced as well, as we re-opened in this period, of the country, and that ambiguity was that we were allowing social occasions… And there was an ambiguity around mask-wearing when you were seated, eating, drinking, because these events are – often involve a dinner. And there was some difficulty with the interpretation of mask-wearing inside those rooms when you were eating, drinking or moving around… but there were occasions, particularly when the country was opening up again, where there was of course nuance around the guidance and the rules, and this I think was one of those occasions: when you were at a dinner, eating and drinking, and somebody approached you… I think this was a tricky area that I found tricky as well.

Well, that clears things up!

And – as observed by the KC during his questioning of Yousaf – “When you, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, feel the need to clarify the rules about face masks, what chance do others have in understanding the rules?” When this absurdity was put to Leitch, the Clinical Director’s response was, inadvertently, illustrative of the mask nonsense:

I understood the rules and I understood what we were trying to do, but the reality of life and the environment in which we were trying to do these things perhaps suggests this guidance was nuanced rather than entirely right.

If only our leaders had paid a smidgeon more attention to the “reality of life” we wouldn’t all have had to endure the imposition of masks (or, indeed, many of the other counterproductive Covid restrictions).

If only the masks had been a tad smaller

Colin Poolman, representing the Scottish RCN, lamented that the face masks provided were often too large for the NHS workforce. “Nursing is a predominantly female profession and many of the masks were not designed in smaller sizes so we had huge issues at times,” he told the inquiry, implying that a better-fitting strip of plastic would have provided an effective shield against the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen. Given that the use of surgical masks to block respiratory viruses is akin to using a tennis net to hold back grains of sand, it’s hard to see how a bit less of a gap around the edges would have made any significant difference to the level of protection afforded.

Neglect of inconvenient evidence

The wealth of pesky evidence demonstrating that face coverings constitute an ineffectual viral barrier has always been a problematic truth to the pro-mask brigade: their guiding rule seems to be, “If the science doesn’t support our ideological preferences, dismiss it.” In Scotland, the doppelganger to England’s Trish Greenhalgh, appears to be Professor Devi Sridhar.

Sridhar is saturated with globalist credentials. She is Professor of Global Public Health at Edinburgh University and has worked closely with the United Nations, the World Health Organisation, the Wellcome Trust and the World Bank. During her testimony at the COVID-19 Inquiry, Sridhar demonstrated a conveniently flexible attitude to empirical research. For instance, while bemoaning that “we spent too long debating whether masks work”, Sridar asserts that “in clinical settings they work, surgeons use them, on construction sites, the mask itself works”. This esteemed academic seems blissfully unaware that surgeons primarily don face coverings to avoid potential exchange of bodily fluids (such as saliva and blood) rather than to reduce the transmission of viruses. And as for construction sites, keeping dust and fragments of concrete and masonry at bay is a somewhat different challenge to avoiding inhalation of microscopic pathogens.

Like many of her pro-mask public health colleagues, Sridhar appears to struggle to grasp what happens in the real world. Thus, she rightly acknowledges that “masks at a population level are often not used correctly, people wear them over their mouth not their nose, they take them off to eat and drink”, but then asserts that “if it is used appropriately it is probably one of the best interventions you can use to protect yourself”. So, apparently, in Sridhar’s surreal ecosphere, if people wore masks perfectly all of the time, never tugged and fiddled with them and – uh – stopped eating and drinking, they would provide some benefit. If only we all lived in a parallel universe.

Sridhar clearly has an emotional attachment to mass masking in the community, perhaps because it chimes with her ideological beliefs about collectivism, the sense that we’re all in it together and must behave in socially responsible ways. Empirical evidence be damned if it does not support one’s political proclivities. This phenomenon is illustrated in Sridhar’s inquiry interview; when the KC states that the science had concluded that public use of face coverings achieved a “near non-existent” degree of benefit, and then asks her, “Is this the sort of debate and discussion that you think we should have bypassed?” Sridhar replies, “Exactly”. It is reasonable to propose that double standards are on display here; if robust studies had found in favour of masks, Sridhar and her ilk would have been screaming it from the Davos rooftops.

Ignorance around mask harms

Throughout the Covid event, there has been one common factor inherent to all the narratives beseeching us to cover our faces with strips of cloth and plastic: a failure to acknowledge the wide-ranging harms of masking healthy people. This omission – due either to ignorance or wilful avoidance – is evident once again in Sridhar’s Covid Inquiry testimony. For instance, in her attempt to defend her partisan championing of community masking, she asserts that “the cost is slight… so, for me, recommending masks seems a low-cost measure of something easy, like hand-washing, you can tell people to do”.

I sometimes imagine engaging in a prolonged attempt to impress upon Sridhar (or, for that matter, any other pro-mask zealot) the raft of negative consequences (physical, social and psychological) associated with routine masking. And, in this thought experiment, I then envision asking her the question, “What possible harms could there be from masking children and adults in healthcare, education and other community settings?” I suspect her response might be something like:

There are no appreciable harms to masking [awkward silence]. Okay, well apart from dermatitis, headaches, perpetuating fear, stunting infants’ cognitive and emotional development; excluding the hard-of-hearing, evoking fatigue, reducing lung efficiency, tormenting the autistic, increasing falls in the elderly, re-traumatising the historically traumatised, the inhalation of micro fibres, concentration impairment, reducing the quality of healthcare, discouraging patients from attending hospital, impeding school learning, the aggravation of existing anxiety problems, encouraging harassment of the mask exempt, enabling criminals to escape conviction, and polluting our towns and waterways .. [deep breath] what possible harms could there be?

I’m sure the Monty Python team would have approved.


Senate votes against vaccine-injured Australians

I am a vaccine-injured Australian, writing under a false name to protect my identity. The reason I do this is because I don’t want my claim to be affected. No one in power wants to believe me, they just want me to curl up and disappear. I am an inconvenience that threatens the narrative. But there are tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands, of Australians like me, and we are not going to go gently into the night.

Today, I watched as Gerard Rennick, an LNP Senator for Queensland, moved for an inquiry into the federal COVID-19 Vaccine Injury Claims Scheme. Senator Rennick is one of the only voices that stands up for us. He stands up for us loudly. But his calls for an inquiry were shot down by his colleagues.

According to the parliamentary Hansard, Senator Rennick specifically wanted an inquiry into the scheme’s eligibility criteria, the time in processing claimants’ applications, the differences between the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s assessments and specialists’ assessments reported in vaccine injury claims, the adequacy of the scheme’s compensation of claimant’s injuries, mental health and lost earnings, the risks that inadequate support and compensation for vaccine-related injuries might exacerbate vaccine hesitancy, and other related matters.

In speaking to his motion, Senator Rennick told his colleagues how, in Australia, the government has done a woeful job of acknowledging and compensating those people who it has injured through drugs that it has prescribed. He talked about the victims of thalidomide, and how Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s apology came 60 years too late. He talked about how Australians had suffered in the 1980s when the Red Cross and CSL Limited allegedly infected tens of thousands with AIDS and Hepatitis C. He talked about mesh injuries, and how his uncle had been left blind after taking a sulfa drug. He talked about how the pharmaceutical industry has a history of putting their wallets in front of people’s health. He said that Australians ‘were told the vaccine was safe and effective.’ He asked, ‘If we [politicians] aren’t here to protect the people, what exactly are we here for?’ He said that Australians ‘should not be made to suffer for following the advice of the government that said they would be protected’.

Later in the debate, another senator said that no one else had spent more time talking to vaccine-injured Australians than Senator Rennick. ‘He speaks with a good heart and from a place of deep conviction.’ And that’s right. Senator Rennick does. He talked about and said all the right things. He gave me and all those other vaccine-injured Australians a voice. He was fighting for us, and he was winning.

Then the Albanese government’s chief spokesperson in the chamber, Katy Gallagher, stood up.

Senator Gallagher used her speaking time to gaslight Senator Rennick, describing his views as ‘irresponsible’. She said that the government would consider the recommendations made to the Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee, which advocates for a national no-fault vaccine injury compensation scheme. ‘There is no need for another inquiry,’ she finished.

Except that’s exactly what the recommendations made to the Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee demand: a review of the COVID-19 Vaccine Injury Claims Scheme. How can you conduct a review if you can’t have another inquiry? How, Senator Gallagher, how? She said that the government had only received the report earlier this week, and implied that decisions were being rushed. No, Senator Rennick was just getting on with the job, fighting the good fight. Fighting for us.

When Rennick’s motion went to a vote, a division was required. The bells were rung. Coalition senators rocked up to support their colleague, as did Malcolm Roberts from One Nation, but it wasn’t enough. The Labor government, the Greens, Jacquie Lambie’s mob, and Lidia Thorpe all voted against the motion. It was defeated 24 votes to 31.

This is what the government thinks of us. We are the problem that, in their collective mind, deserves no solution. Australians are dying because they were forced to take an experimental drug and were told that if they didn’t, they would lose their jobs, their livelihood. They were ridiculed and shamed into submission. At least the Coalition seems to have the courage to admit it got it wrong, and under Senator Rennick wants to try and repair the damage as best it can. Why, now, is the Labor Government so frightened of uncovering the truth?

And I cannot believe that Senator Rennick won’t be on the LNP’s ticket at the next federal election. One of the last blokes with any real guts in Canberra, prepared to stand up to the powerful, has been, like we have, shoved aside.

This is a dark day for Australia, but it’s just another day in the last four years for me, for all those Australians injured by the Covid vaccines.