Most people would agree the pandemic and oppressive government lockdowns caused a dramatic escalation in mental health issues. A healthy person, confined to their home, with limited to no human contact, is likely to experience severe strain on their mental health.
While the virus itself has a low fatality rate for most demographics, lockdowns can push people of all ages over the brink. This article is not meant to criticize anyone who has chosen to isolate themselves or mask up. It merely explores the effects of mandates on the general population and is based on peer-reviewed studies and publicly available statistics.
Is America headed for another lockdown?
After the CDC recently revised its guidelines for vaccinated people, many local and state governments nationwide brought back mask mandates and restrictions for many Americans. Will lockdowns soon follow?
Politician Mitch McConnel warned, “These shots need to get in everybody’s arms as rapidly as possible, or we’re going to be back in a situation in the fall that we don’t yearn for – that we went through last year.” [source]
And what was that situation? For many, it was a state of lockdown. If the lockdowns worked so well the first time, why are we returning to such policies? A policy of lockdown is a blatant violation of human freedom, the U.S. Constitution, and what it means to be an American.
If lockdowns and masks are effective why is there a need for these mandates?
- Cloth masks (which are what most people wear) experience particle penetration of 97%
- Surgical masks experience particle penetration of 44% [source]
- The only masks scientifically proven to provide defense against Covid are properly fitted and worn N95 masks, which few non-medical professionals have.
- As a result, roughly a third of hospital workers report headaches with long-term N95 use [source]
- Despite having near-universal mask compliance since April of 2020 and some of the most strict lockdown rules throughout the U.S., by August of 2020, the state of Hawaii experienced roughly a 700% increase in cases over the previous month.
UPDATE: To see a list of studies that say masks both DO and DO NOT work, see the end of this article.
On September 11, 2020, the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report showed 85% of those who contracted COVID during July either:
- Always wore a mask when out in public or
- Often wore one the two weeks before their infection
The report went on to show that over 70% of those infected reported consistently wearing masks, while only 3.9% of those testing positive for COVID reported never wearing a mask.
Furthermore, for the sake of consistency, shouldn’t cars be banned as well?
According to the CDC, as of July 14, 2021, there were 288 alleged deaths due to COVID that week. Yet within the four days of May 28-31, the National Safety Council predicted that 415 people would die due to car accidents.
Why do we care more about one cohort than we do the other? Following COVID logic, massive roadblocks set up nationwide, a ban on all vehicles, drastic speed limit reductions, and mileage restrictions would make perfect sense. Wouldn’t it?
Confused? So is everyone else.
Now you have counties such as Los Angeles becoming the first major county in the US to reinstitute mask mandates. LA already has a history of backtracking on its COVID decisions, and here again, we have county officials toying with the confidence of their constituents.
People, vaccinated or not, must now wear masks in all indoor public spaces. Many business owners are asking customers to comply, and many aren’t. It seems as if the non-compliers have the edge here, however. Sheriff Alex Villaneuva has publicly stated he will not have his officers enforce mask mandates, pointing towards such mandates not being backed by science and a waste of police resources.
If you don’t have enforcers, what do you have?
Australia’s citizens forced back into lockdown with even harsher restrictions.
Though Australia’s infections and deaths are well below other developed nations, as of July 20, nearly half the population of Australia is back in lockdown. Now under extended lockdown, Sydney continues to see cases rise, and Melbourne is currently in the second week of its 5th lockdown. The recent highly policed lockdowns have fueled anger and given rise to anti-lockdown demonstrations.
Although the lockdowns do not seem to reduce infections, New South Wales Police recruited 300 military personnel to enforce the lockdowns. Australian authorities recently imposed harsher restrictions in Sydney, forcing people to wear masks outdoors and go no further than 3 miles from their homes.
In Queensland, citizens aren’t even allowed to go out on their balconies, and that they need to tape them shut in the fight against COVID. Chief health officer of Queensland, Jeanette Young, issued an order requiring photographic proof of one’s having done so. Now, residents have been acting as grassroots Gestapo, photographing and turning in citizens who refuse to comply.
Two hundred fourteen people were recently forced into quarantine simply because one individual ended up sick in a hospital. The forced quarantine happened in Adelaide, Australia, where a grand total of 4 people have died who have had a COVID diagnosis since last year.
Mental health is now Australian citizens’ biggest concern.
PwC’s recent Return on Action Report 2021 reveals one in four Australians now struggles with mental health issues. The survey used for the report, conducted in February 2021, showed concerns over mental health have now surpassed those of the tough economic conditions.
The authors of another report from The Grattan Institute said, “We are shut off from the rest of the world, and we have frequently been locked down to contain outbreaks.” They went on to say that though they don’t feel the hard-line approach to COVID-19 can be abandoned, “we cannot remain walled inside Fortress Australia indefinitely, cut off from the rest of the world and periodically cut off from one another.” [source]
Overall, the findings of these and other reports reveal that one in five Australians is experiencing high levels of anxiety and stress directly linked to the pandemic. As Covid continues to take its toll on the mental health of Australia’s citizens, the government announced a $17m Health Package to support those most affected.
For those who aren’t sure…
If perhaps anyone reading this is still unsure of whether the pandemic and its lockdowns are causing severe mental health problems and possibly damaging lives irreparably, please watch the following video for a real-life synopsis of how this has affected small business owners. [source]
Melbourne Photographer: Carly Söderström
Carly’s heart-wrenching video has since been removed from Facebook.
How have lockdowns affected America’s mental health?
Since its initial outbreak in late 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected the global community. In addition to the negative health consequences of contracting COVID-19, the implementation of strict quarantine and lockdown measures has also disrupted social networks and devastated the global economy. As a result, there is rising concern that the pandemic has taken a toll on the general population’s mental health. [source]
What are the main causes of stress and anxiety during lockdown?
- Duration of quarantine: Longer quarantine duration is associated with PTSD, avoidance behaviors, and anger. More than ten days showed significantly higher PTSD symptoms.
- Fears of infection: Participants in eight studies reported fears about their own health or fears of infecting others.
- Frustration and Boredom: Confinement, loss of usual routine, and reduced social and physical contact with others are contributing factors.
- Inadequate supplies: Having inadequate basic supplies (food, water, accommodations) and unable to get regular medical care and prescriptions.
- Inadequate information: Poor information from public health authorities, confusion about the purpose of quarantine, and lack of transparency from health and government officials are often main concerns. [source
And of course, don’t forget the fact that while the lockdowns bolstered giant corporations, they destroyed multitudes of small businesses and devastated the personal finances of many Americans.
What are we doing to our children?
Side effects include:
- difficulty concentrating
- reluctance to attend school
- impaired learning
Further alarming is when you realize five times more children committed suicide within the U.K. than died from diagnosed COVID last year.
Groups of doctors signed the Great Barrington Declaration, stating current policies are ridiculous. Neurologists say oxygen deprivation causes permanent neurological damage and a spike in childhood depression.
After over a year and a half, the CDC finally dropped the PCR protocol
For over a year and a half, top virologists, doctors, and healthcare workers worldwide stated the PCR test is inaccurate, too sensitive, and did not measure what it was supposed to. Many were labeled conspiracy theorists for doing so, facing professional admonitions, disgrace, and even job loss.
After all that, the CDC finally dropped the PCR protocol.
A large number of public policies directly impacted many as a result of PCR tests. Perhaps someone lost their job or was forced into unemployment. Another person’s children were not permitted to go to school. Someone’s father lay dying in the hospital, and no one was allowed to see him.
Why? Because cases were skyrocketing? No. The reality is faulty PCR tests resulted in elevated numbers. Don’t believe me? Three datasets analyzed out of New York, Massachusetts, and Nevada concluded: “Up to 90% of the people who tested positive did not carry a virus.” [source]
Children could not go to school nationwide. Reports said kids had to stay home for their safety and the safety of others because they are sources of infection. Then, John Hopkins conducted a study of 48,000 children.
The findings? Zero COVID deaths amongst healthy children.
As COVID-19 cases in the U.S. rise, deaths have remained relatively flat.
Updated daily, the CDC’s Covid Data Tracker is where you can access maps and charts tracking cases, deaths, and trends of COVID-19 in the United States. There is also a Weekly Review summarizing the weeks findings. As of July 23, 2021 the data shows:
- While average U.S. coronavirus cases rise by 322% over the last three weeks, deaths have risen just 27%
- Average virus-related has remained below 300 since June 25, showing the effectiveness of vaccines
- Most states are reporting record-low levels with a rate below 1.0 deaths per 100,000 people
What are your thoughts?
Are the new mask mandates and lockdowns necessary? Were they ever? Have you lost anyone to Covid, and if so, did it change your opinion of these mandates? Let’s discuss this (civilly, please) in the comments below.
Mask Studies – they don’t work:
- A May 2020 meta-study on pandemic influenza published by the US CDC found that face masks had no effect, neither as personal protective equipment nor as a source control. (Source)
- A WHO review of ten randomized controlled trials of face masks against influenza-like illness, published in September 2019, found no statistically significant benefit. (Source)
- A Danish randomized controlled trial with 6000 participants, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in November 2020, found no statistically significant effect of high-quality medical face masks against SARS-CoV-2 infection in a community setting. (Source)
- A large randomized controlled trial with close to 8000 participants, published in October 2020 in PLOS One, found that face masks “did not seem to be effective against laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections nor against clinical respiratory infection.” (Source)
- A February 2021 review by the European CDC found no high-quality evidence in favor of face masks and recommended their use only based on the ‘precautionary principle’. (Source)
- A July 2020 review by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine found that there is no evidence for the effectiveness of face masks against virus infection or transmission. (Source)
- A November 2020 Cochrane review found that face masks did not reduce influenza-like illness (ILI) cases, neither in the general population nor in health care workers. (Source)
- An August 2021 study published in the Int. Research Journal of Public Health found “no association between mask mandates or use and reduced COVID-19 spread in US states.” (Source)
- A large Spanish school study, published in March 2022, found that “mask mandates in schools were not associated with lower SARS-CoV-2 incidence or transmission.” (Source)
- A May 2020 article by researchers from Harvard Medical School, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, concluded that face masks offer “little, if any, protection”. (Source)
- A 2015 study in the British Medical Journal BMJ Open found that cloth masks were penetrated by 97% of particles and may increase infection risk by retaining moisture or repeated use. (Source)
- An August 2020 review by a German professor in virology, epidemiology and hygiene found that there is no evidence for the effectiveness of face masks and that the improper daily use of masks by the public may in fact lead to an increase in infections. (Source)
Mask Studies – they do work:
- A meta-study in the journal Lancet, commissioned by the WHO, claimed that masks could reduce the risk of infection by 80%, but the studies considered mainly N95 respirators in a hospital setting, not cloth masks in a community setting, the strength of the evidence was reported as “low”, and experts found numerous flaws in the study. Professor Peter Jueni, epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, called the WHO study “essentially useless”.
- A study in the journal PNAS claimed that masks had led to a decrease in infections in three global hotspots (including New York City), but the study did not take into account the natural decrease in infections and other simultaneous measures. The study was so flawed that over 40 scientists recommended that the study be withdrawn.
- A US study claimed that US counties with mask mandates had lower Covid infection and hospitalization rates, but the authors had to withdraw their study as infections and hospitalizations increased in many of these counties shortly after the study was published.
- A large study run in Bangladesh claimed that surgical masks, but not cloth masks, reduced “symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections” by 0.08% (ARR), and only in people over 50. But a subsequent re-analysis of the study by statisticians found that there was in fact no benefit at all. According to one reviewer, the Bangladesh study was designed so poorly that it “ended before it even began”.
- A German study claimed that the introduction of mandatory face masks in German cities had led to a significant decrease in infections. But the data did not support this claim: in some cities there was no change, in others a decrease, in others an increase in infections (see graph below). The city of Jena was an ‘exception’ only because it simultaneously introduced the strictest quarantine rules in Germany, but the study did not mention this.
- A review by the University of Oxford claimed that face masks are effective, but it was based on studies about SARS-1 and in health care settings, not in community settings.
- A review by members of the lobby group ‘Masks for All’, published in the journal PNAS, claimed that masks are effective as a source control against aerosol transmission in the community, but the review provided no real-world evidence supporting this proposition.
- A study published in Nature Communications in June 2021 claimed that masks reduced the risk of infection by 62%, but the study relied on self-reported online survey results and various modelling assumptions, not on actual measurements.
- A meta-study published in the BMJ claimed face masks reduced infections by 53%, but the meta-study was based on seven low-quality observational studies. In response, the BMJ published an editorial acknowledging the “lack of good research” and the implausibility of the result.
- A German study, published in PNAS, claimed that N95/FFP2 masks are highly effective against coronavirus infections, but the study consisted only of a mathematical model without any real-world or lab data (see section D above).
About the Author
Jeff Thompson is an avid fisherman who likes to spend time sailing on his boat and reading while at sea.