It is a long-established conclusion from the scientific world that face masks achieve no appreciable reduction in viral transmission. We knew this in 2015-16 with regard to surgeons and their patients (hereand here). We knew this in 2020 from a gold-standard Cochrane review, an analysis of 14 studies on influenza and a healthcare investigation that concluded that masks “may paradoxically lead to more transmissions”. We knew this in 2021 based on the Danish mask study and two comprehensive evidence reviews (here and here). We knew this in 2022 in relation to primary schools and universities, and a debunking of premature pro-mask conclusions drawn from the Bangladesh study. And – as if more evidence was needed – at the start of 2023 we had the latest Cochrane review, yet again concluding that covering our faces with cloth and plastic does not significantly reduce the likelihood of contracting respiratory viral infections. Yet, despite this collective scream from the scientific community that the ‘MASKS DON’T WORK’, it seems that nothing will muzzle the strident protestations of the mask disciples, such as those at Independent SAGE.
A recent article in the Daily Mail led with the scary headline: ‘Scientists raise alarm over new Covid variant and call for return of face masks.’ Two of the scientists raising concerns were Professors Trish Greenhalgh and Stephen Griffin, the former announcing, “It’s, once again, time to mask up”, while the latter concurs – albeit more cryptically – with his recommendation of the re-imposition of a “mitigation-based approach”. Both Greenhalgh and Griffin are members of Independent SAGE.
When Independent SAGE was formed in May 2020, as an alternative to official SAGE, it claimed to be a group of multi-disciplinary experts whose mission was to offer the Government scientific advice on how to minimise deaths during the Covid crisis. In reality, it constituted a group of zero-Covid fanatics pushing extreme counter-pandemic measures: whatever non-evidenced, human-rights-infringing restrictions the Government proposed, Independent SAGE typically called for them to be longer and harsher.
A cursory inspection of the group’s membership explains a lot. The previously-mentioned Trish Greenhalgh is, undoubtedly, the most extreme spokesperson for the pro-mask cult, previously asserting that the search for rigorous scientific evidence was the “enemy of good policy“. The founding Chairman of the group, Professor David King, was the senior scientific advisor to the Government of Tony Blair, currently an influential advocate of globalist agendas promoting top-down control of the population. Another core participant is the lifelong member of the Communist party – Professor Susan ‘let’s-wear-a-mask-forever‘ Michie. Also, the current co-Chair of Independent SAGE is Anthony Costello, a Professor of Global Health and Sustainable Development at University College London and a former director at the World Health Organisation. Given the histories and affiliations of these group participants it was predictable that they would grasp the next available opportunity to call for the return of community masking.