Masks & harms 

A risk assessment pertaining to the risks of mask-wearing, contrasted to the risks of not wearing a mask, has not been carried out or presented by this government during the last 7 months.

We are concerned that multiple experts across the world have warned of the risks of mask-wearing, and that requiring anyone, especially children over the age of 11, to wear a mask, is physically damaging and storing up problems for the future health of our nation.

A recent peer-reviewed paper examined the impact on human health, both immunological as well as physiological. In this meta-analysis, face masks were found to have no detectable effect against transmission of viral infections Study here which found: “Compared to no masks, there was no reduction of influenza-like illness cases or influenza for masks in the general population, nor in healthcare workers.”

This 2020 meta-analysis found that evidence from randomised controlled trials of face masks did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza, either when worn by infected persons (source control) or by persons in the general community to reduce their susceptibility.

Another recent review found that masks had no effect specifically against Covid-19.

It is reasonable to conclude from the above that the risk of harms to people from not wearing masks is minimal to the point of non-existent. Conversely, the wearing of masks does present several risks to health, some of them profoundly serious.

A 2018 study found that healthcare workers’ surgical masks measured by personal bioaerosol samplers, were found to harbour for influenza virus. Various respiratory pathogens have also been found on the outer surface of used medical masks, which could result in self-contamination as discussed here.

Surgical masks have also been found to be a repository of bacterial contamination.  The source of the bacteria in this study was determined to be the body surface of the surgeons, rather than the operating room environment.   Given that surgeons are gowned from head to foot for surgery, this finding should be especially concerning for laypeople who wear masks.  Without the protective garb of surgeons, laypeople generally have even more exposed body surface to serve as a source for bacteria to collect on their masks.

When it comes to cloth masks, this trial concluded that healthcare workers wearing cloth masks had significantly higher rates of influenza-like illness after four weeks of continuous on-the-job use, when compared to controls.

The increased rate of infection in mask-wearers may be due to a weakening of immune function during mask use.  Surgeons have been found to have lower oxygen saturation after surgeries even as short as 30 minutes see here, and low oxygen induces hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1).  This in turn down-regulates CD4+ T-cells.  CD4+ T-cells, which are in fact necessary for viral immunity. Hence masks make the fighting of viruses more difficult, whilst doing nothing, or a bare minimum, to reduce the spread of the same. Not an outcome desired if one is trying to reduce illness from viruses.

Masks also add to a sense of fear if seen worn by those in public and prevent effective communication between people by prohibiting the use of nonverbal cues.

Masks are extremely damaging to the development of the young, particularly babies who learn from the facial expressions of their parents and others. Young children look for emotional cues from caregivers to interpret novel or potentially threatening situations. That is, children rely on their caregiver’s facial expressions and tone of voice to regulate their response toward people and new situations. The development of this emotional communication is referred to as social referencingand occurs between infancy and the early preschool years. Research study social referencing in babies that are just starting to crawl using the “visual cliff,”

This emotional communication is being stunted by mask wearing and will have ramifications far into the future, leading to a generation that lack the social skills to both work and behave appropriately and productively. This is entirely unacceptable in view the efficacy of masks is tenuous, and the need for them is non-existent for most of the general population, given the risk factors of Covid to the same.

In addition to the above, the requirement of masks has been sold by the government without proper and clear advice to businesses and the wider public, that many people simply cannot wear them due to hidden disabilities. This has led to a dramatic rise in illegal discrimination against an already marginalised group within employment, access to health services, and general access to businesses. This simply cannot and must not continue.