Efficacy against Covid-19 of Masks and Lockdowns

Another apology for an off-topic post again – but I’ll keep it brief.

I have carried out a literature review of the efficacy of masks and the efficacy of lockdowns against Covid-19, see the linked pdfs.

I don’t want to build them up to be more than they are. For lockdowns, in particular, there are more studies out there – I merely ran out of enthusiasm after 52. Also, I realised my initial idea, namely to gauge where the truth lies by seeing whether studies indicating efficacy or lack thereof came out as more numerous, was misguided. For example, a large number of studies making the same false assumption proves nothing.

The minimum one can take away from the exercise is that there is plenty of evidence that mask usage by the general public is not an effective protection, and that there is also plenty of evidence that lockdowns as practiced in most countries (outside of China and South Korea) were not effective. Whether this is true is another matter, but the widespread condemnation of those expressing such views as nutcases or irresponsible is certainly not justified.

I have not addressed the harms of these Non-Pharmacological Interventions, be they economic, psychological or sociological. In view of the severity of these adverse impacts, the scales seem to tip very clearly against the use of these NPIs.

8 thoughts on “Efficacy against Covid-19 of Masks and Lockdowns

  1. AJ

    You may be right on masks I don’t have any feeling about efficacy at all and they may be of limited benefit or even have no impact at all, but the assertions about lock downs seems extraordinary to me.

    I have not studied any papers at all and I don’t have the time to do so but in Britain last year we seemed to alternate between exponential growth and exponential decay in terms of deaths and infections. This periods of decay corresponded to lock down periods with a delay of a few weeks.

    You can question whether a lockdown is proportionate or appropriate. Its a judgement and a balance between deaths from Covid, indirect deaths and economic and other harms. We now seem to be accepting a level of infection and deaths following a positive Covid test that are far higher than those that triggered lockdowns, albeit in a context of a largely vacinated population, so its definitely and open question. However it seems quite clear that in Britain at least lock downs did have a very big effect on Covid infections.

    I don’t think you are a nutcase and questionning the efficacy of any measure is a reasonable thing to do, bit If you were to argue not to comply with a lock down then I would consider that irresponsible.

  2. April Harding

    I’m an economist who has worked in health policy for 20+ years. I undertook similar reviews last year… and quickly concluded the same thing. I shared a table showing the mask findings in an accessible form – a few people seemed to appreciate it. However, some people responded very emotionally- I suppose you know what I mean. I’ve never seen such irrational, out-of-proportion responses.
    Anyhow, I just wanted to say, thanks for preparing and sharing your reviews. I think it’s more worthwhile than ever for people to do this. Others may take heart and may start asking more questions about the ever less rational policies being deployed.

  3. Angelos Agathangelou

    Seen from the perspective of today F4J and the bankster shakedown of a decade ago were canary in the coal mine moments for this new world order.

    Our impotence and I dare say a few other similar indications of the impotence of the hoi polloi globally was the green light for what is happening today.

    My prescription is red pills by the fist full and calling out the Orwellian state of affairs with the mountains of inconvenient facts.

    Masks with holes 1000 – 50,000 times larger than virus particles and the outcomes for North v South Dakota eventually answered that issue.

    Lockdowns is about the basics of how our immune systems work i.e. human interaction strengthens us, married to the fact that for most people the evidence has shows us this new coronavirus is less of an issue than influenza.

    I was initially concerned about the psychological effect on the very young, but it is those that should know better, the grown up idiots wearing cotton muzzles [holes around 50,000 times bigger than the virus] that have me pointing and laughing out loud as I travel down the high-street on my motorcycle. It’s not a frightened laugh, although their ignorance does frighten me in terms of a possibly even more Orwellian future they’re goose stepping us into, It’s my weak attempt at a shaming tactic. It makes me want to take off my motorcycle helmet in protest at yet another encroachment on my freedom.

    It is good etiquette to talk publicly about these issues, especially at shops where the signs suggest that doing so is prohibited. Watch how society self-censors. Dare to look point and laugh and dare to discuss the facts when you are told not to.

    We have allowed our so-called public servants to destroy our nation.

    As a very public MHRA I was head hunted by the Bristol conservatives and what I discovered about them was that on the whole politicians are those we knew that told tales at school, or very stupid people more concerned with money than for their fellow citizens. They are owned by the highest bidder. You don’t get in unless you’re cut from the same cloth.

    At the time the South West England conservatives were owned by a Banker from Australia [I can see what he’s done to his country today], today it is clearly one of his friends in Big Pharma who are paying for the leaflets. That’s how cheap it is to buy a political party in the UK, pay for a few leaflets and the clever money buys both sides of our house of so-called representatives.

    That is the reality of our situation. If we don’t stand up to be counted, if we’re waiting on our corrupt politicians, then we are all doomed.

    I refuse to self incarcerate and over sanitize so as to destroy my own immune system and I refuse to muzzle [even with an effective mask] myself against such a marginal threat like Covid.

    We would go to war with China at the drop of a hat, but it was not China who orchestrated this fascist state of affairs on the British people [regardless of the fact that the USA bankrolled some crazy experiments with bats in China]. It is our health ministers and our government ministers who should answer for this attack on our people for nothing more than money to line their pockets and we should be more ready to go to war with our own government ministers than we were ever to go to war on their commands in the past for their ridiculous and false reasons.

    Who’s that know who’s supposed to be our health minister? Up against the wall! Boris, up against the wall! The prat from the WHO who works for Bill Gates and Bill Gates himself, up against the wall!

    Winter is coming and fuel is short, on top of the fact that our businesses and middle class are destroyed because we follow fools like we’re lemmings into a new fascist world order. It’s time to get pissed off, it’s time to hit back hard.

  4. Noel

    It is a medical fact that masks were never intended to shield the wearer from infection or anything else. They were designed to protect people from the wearer. Leaving aside how efficient they are in this respect, consider operating procedures. The surgeon and nurses wear masks to shield the patient. Your breath will not go through the mask material, but will be deflected by it so that your breath comes out not in the direction of the patient. That is true of hospital masks which are by no means close-fitting
    The patient does not wear a mask.
    Probably you see people walking around or riding a bike whilst wearing a mask. Almost certainly they think they are protected, but that is their ignorance. The only purpose would be to protect us.

  5. Douglas

    I took a different approach in trying to determine the efficacy of lockdowns. I looked at the empirical casualty data of areas (countries/states) that had lockdown compared to the same data for those places that did not, or the same place that did not at a different time.

    I think it is fairly conclusive that lockdowns reduced the immediate spread of Covid, reduced the numbers needing healthcare, and contributed to longevity in the population.

    There are some difficulties in quantifying the benefit, however, which is necessary because of the damage that lockdowns cause (to health directly and indirectly through poverty, etc.). Problems include the widespread (including the UK) policy to determine a death in which a person had Covid as being Covid-related, which inevitably gets summarised as being a ‘Covid death’ even in a motor accident. Similarly, the numbers of patients needing hospital treatment get played around with, even to the extent—in some places—that only during non-lockdown does anyone with Covid get listed as a Covid patient (even if they go to A&E for a broken toe) . Because of the difficulty with quantifying the benefit, I have not attempted to quantify the damage beyond recognising that poverty is generally recognised as a contributing factor to poorer health.

  6. Michael McVeigh

    “I have not addressed the harms of these Non-Pharmacological Interventions, be they economic, psychological or sociological.”. I believe that also the medical implications of lockdowns will be substantial.


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