One of the unfortunate side-effects of hygiene theater is the insidious dehumanizing effect it inevitably creates. In the end, we all become late-model Howard Hughes. If masks were in fact efficacious, there could arguably be some benefit but when one actually reads the supposed "overwhelming evidence" it turns out to be a handful of extremely poorly-designed studies lacking statistical significance and a collection of post-hoc inferences. Which is why the WHO kept telling people not to buy up all the facemasks they could find, until such time as overwhelming pressure was placed on the organization and it reversed course, albeit still with (largely ignored) caveats. The media loves a simple story, and facemasks = safety is easy to sell. But being easy to sell is no guarantor of accuracy. Vaud introduced mandatory facemasks a couple of weeks ago (an odd decision given the near-zero mortality rate across Switzerland) and the paranoia and distrust levels have clearly risen since then. We really do need to stop paying attention to the mass media, as its business model (simple-minded sensationalism every hour, on the hour) serves us very ill indeed.

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Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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