Dangerous Rituals: Face Masks – More Harm Than Good

This is a slightly modified version of an article that first appeared in Nexus magazine and the accompanying text to my contribution at the “Long Night of Masks”, the MWGFD Mask Symposium

Face masks are nocebos

Face masks are extremely powerful, ubiquitous nocebos. Nocebos are psychological stimuli that cause harm via psychological, neurological or immunological processes.

Face masks, in fact, trigger fear. This is because their presence is coupled with the message: “A powerful killer virus threatens us always and everywhere! We must all protect ourselves!” This message is a message of fear. For the very first public-media response to the pandemic was to spread fear [1]. Once fear is firmly installed, it is very quickly evoked again and again. The face masks are a visible symbol of the pandemic and psychologically conditioned stimuli that induce fear. And they do so extremely quickly and without our being able to resist them – because the emotional evaluation of sensory stimuli always occurs temporally before the conscious semantic analysis. This is because all sensory channels have an anatomically direct pathway to the amygdalae (sing. Amygdala), the small paired brain centres in the diencephalon responsible for threat evaluation. When “threat” is registered there, the entire mental apparatus is primed to perceive, act and explore behavioural alternatives accordingly. Worse still, involuntary physiology, autonomic processes such as blood pressure regulation, heartbeat and immune modulation, is also affected accordingly.

How quickly and unconsciously this can happen is shown to us by a now famous psychological experiment conducted some years ago:

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A middle way in difficult times

Sailing between the Scylla of gullibility and the Charybdis of conspiracy theories in the Corona crisis

Thoughts on Mattias Desmet’s new book, The Psychology of Totalitarianism (London: Chelsea Green, 2022, 231 pages, €32.50, hardcover)

In the corona crisis, one sees two main camps: those who largely believe the mainstream narrative of the coronavirus to be true, and those who question this narrative – sometimes loudly, sometimes quietly. The first group, for the sake of simplicity, I will call below the believers, the others the doubters.

The doubters usually have one major problem: namely, understanding how it is possible that so many of their – quite intelligent – contemporaries subscribe to such an obviously false narrative that the believers believe to be true. I locate myself among this group of doubters. Many in this group then look for explanations and very often end up with one or another conspiracy narrative. Such a conspiracy narrative then explains that some group – the pharmaceutical industry, the financial industry, sinister groups in the backrooms of politics, a Satanist gang, the World Economic Forum (WEF), a secret world government, the “elites” – instigated the whole thing to further their own agenda. I can well understand why people seek such theories as explanations and often find them plausible, but I personally find them rather inadequate as explanations most of the time.

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The World Economic Forum (WEF) and the “measures” (NPIs) During the Pandemic

Our new study is published

For some time now, I have been conducting expert interviews documenting how various experts from science, the media, politics and civil society assess the pandemic, what factors they see at work, what their views are. Every now and then the idea comes up, that the World Economic Forum (WEF), which Prof. Klaus Schwab set up many years ago, could play a role.

I thought for a while about whether and how this theory could be tested. In the end, I came up with the idea that one could use the number of Young Global Leaders (YGL) that the WEF has trained over the years as a parameter and relate it to the intensity of “non-pharmaceutical interventions” (NPI), popularly and hereafter referred to as “measures”. This is what we, my colleague Johannes Klement and I, then did, at two points in time: at the beginning of the corona crisis, i.e. in March 2020, and at the second peak in the winter of 2020/2021. The study is now published in the peer-reviewed online journal “Cureus” and can be freely downloaded [1]. (Cureus is an interesting journal, by the way; our immunology survey was already published there [2]. It is a journal based in California and started by physicians who proceed without “conflict of interest” and very openly. It is peer-reviewed, usually with 3, at least 2 reviews.)

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Covid-19 Vaccinations Do More Harm Than Good

Now We Have It in Black And White

In July, Mörl, Günther and Rockenfeller published a high-profile paper in the peer-reviewed online journal Frontiers in Medicine [1]. They compared the number of adverse events in the five pivotal trials of the Covid-19 vaccine with the number of adverse events in the control groups, as well as the number of severe Covid-19 cases in both groups, and calculated a harm-benefit ratio. If this is less than 1, then the vaccines do more good than harm. If it is greater than 1, they do more harm than good. Only two studies had a harm-benefit ratio smaller than 1, but very close to 1 (0.9 and 0.6). The authors point out that it would probably be reasonable to expect a harm-benefit ratio much smaller than 0.1, that is, ten more severe courses among control cases than among vaccinated people.

Clearly, this is not the case. In the BioNTech study, the ratio is actually very large at 25. This means that 25 times more serious side effects are registered in the vaccination group than in the control group. In the Moderna study, the ratio of 1.1 is about the same, but also far from favourable. They do not interpret the Sputnik pivotal study because the ratio there is negative, which is hardly credible.

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Why People in Germany Get Vaccinated

Our vaccination motivation study is now published in BMJ Open

On January 6th, 2022, I had referred to the preprint of our study “Why do people consent to receiving SARS-CoV2 vaccinations – A representative survey in Germany” and discussed it in detail there [1].

Now it has been published in British Medical Journal Open (BMJ Open) [2]. The content has not changed from the preprint, so I won’t go into detail about the study again now. Only one additional analysis was added at the request of a reviewer.

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