Article by Heneghan and Tom Jefferson.
As it stands, there is simply no evidence-based case for face masks. It is possible masks may work in certain situations. But there is absolutely no certainty they work in all situations.
This matters. Mask mandates, no matter how localised, aren’t harmless measures. They affect social behaviour and help to reinforce a climate of fear. In this regard, they were indicative of the government’s mishandling of the pandemic, as it resorted to authoritarian behavioural interventions. Indeed, to ensure mask compliance, the government effectively prosecuted its own citizens [see link in original] for daring to breathe fresh air. In London alone, 4,000 people were issued with penalty notices of up to £200 for going maskless in 2022 alone.
Our hapless politicians followed the experts who claimed masks work with absolute certainty. And they ignored anyone who expressed doubts about the evidence. The result was a dubious policy that has caused plenty of damage.
Thankfully, it seems unlikely the public will be following Scottish healthcare workers and calling for the return of mask wearing. Although respiratory illnesses like Covid are always spreading, most people have decided against masking up again. As ever, there is profound wisdom in the crowd.