Ian Liu, Vinay Prasad, and Jonathan J. Darrow – in their new paper published by the Cato Institute – find little evidence that the wearing of cloth face masks significantly reduces the spread of SARS-CoV-2 . A slice:
The available clinical evidence of facemask efficacy is of low quality and the best available clinical evidence has mostly failed to show efficacy, with fourteen of sixteen identified randomized controlled trials comparing face masks to no mask controls failing to find statistically significant benefit in the intent‐to‐treat populations. Of sixteen quantitative meta‐analyses, eight were equivocal or critical as to whether evidence supports a public recommendation of masks, and the remaining eight supported a public mask intervention on limited evidence primarily on the basis of the precautionary principle.
Here’s more from Vinay Prasad on masks . (HT Jay Bhattacharya). A slice:
Faith outpaced evidence when it comes to masks.
Since Monday, unvaccinated Austrians are not allowed to leave their homes except to go to work, to buy essential supplies, or to take exercise: it’s the world’s first “lockdown for the unvaccinated”. It was introduced in response to rapidly rising cases and a lack of excess capacity in Austrian hospitals. “It is not a recommendation, but an order,” announced  the Interior Minister Karl Nehammer at a press conference. “Every citizen should know that they will be checked by the police.”
It is, essentially, a ratcheting up of the regime of vaccine passports that exists already in many countries across Europe, whereby unvaccinated people are already excluded from restaurants, museums and theatres. But to place a minority of the population under partial house arrest does seem to cross a new line.
There may be limited utility at this point in blaming those in charge of the public health decisions that completely disregarded this potential (and foreseeable) damage to students. It also might be pointless to assign culpability to the academics who kept (and continue to keep) supporting tight restrictions and advocating for online teaching from the comfort of their homes while relegating students to social isolation. But what is undoubtedly useful, in light of this week’s report, is to look ahead as winter in the Northern Hemisphere approaches and more people begin putting restrictions back on the table.
Before making any decisions, we must acknowledge that we don’t need to run social and public health experiments on students anymore. We have data now about the harm we have caused to them. And we now know the threat that closing campuses and moving the whole student experience online can pose.
This Wall Street Journal headline is misleading: “Drug Overdose Deaths, Fueled by Fentanyl, Hit Record High in U.S.”  (DBx: Fentanyl was no more able, from May 2020 through April 2021, to enter, on its own, human bodies than it was in earlier years. The ‘report’ only fleetingly alludes to the role likely played by lockdowns and the associated Covid hysteria.)
Additional reasons: profound disruption of social relationships, access to healthcare & negative economic consequences related to lockdowns & pandemic mitigation measures.
In this Twitter thread, Jay Bhattacharya describes the appalling – but, sadly, predictable – treatment he received while testifying before Congress . (DBx: To all of you who were content to allow politicians to exercise unprecedented powers over humanity to control Covid-19, please recognize this reality: The powers that you were willing to see exercised were inevitably exercised by individuals such as the atrocious member of Congress who, in his discussion with Bhattacharya, resorted to red-baiting and what can reasonably only be supposed to be intentional misrepresentation.)
In response to this politician’s disgusting behavior, Martin Kulldorff tweets :
Why is a US congressman, @CongressmanRaja , attacking public health scientists rather than listening and learning from scientists?
(DBx: Alas, the answer to Kulldorff’s appropriate question is that politicians behave politically. The typical politician will listen and learn from scientists – both natural and social – only if and when that politician believes that such knowledge will further his or her political career. But if and when that politician concludes that his or her political career is better served by listening to, and ‘learning’ from, the likes of shamans, crystal healers, and other peddlers of irrationality, dogmas, and fraudulence, that politician will be all ears for such charlatans.)