Leftist Holdouts Just Cannot Ditch the Masks
After two years, the media acknowledged that cloth face masks don't work to prevent the spread of COVID. Now our governors can align scientific consensus with policy.
After CNN and The Atlantic reported that face masks don't work, California and nine other Democrat governors revoked their state indoor mask mandates. That leaves only four states with continuing statewide mask mandates.
Has the evidence on masks changed? No. The CDC reviewed the scientific literature pre-pandemic and highlighted that ten high-quality randomized controlled trials (RCT) demonstrated that masks failed to prevent transmission of respiratory viruses. In May 2020, a Denmark RCT added to the literature showing that surgical masks don't reduce the spread of COVID. The scientific evidence continues to accrue of mask inefficacy and harm.
Miller's new book Unmasked uses public COVID data to trace how California, which strictly followed CDC recommendations regarding lockdowns, masks, and closures, fared no better than nearby states with fewer restrictions. He tracks rates of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in Florida and Sweden after experts predicted disaster that failed to manifest. He tracks countries and states initially lauded for high mask compliance with low case rates and then shows future surges up to 330,000%, which the media failed to report. While experts boldly asserted that face masks would save lives, all 50 states ranked by age-adjusted COVID mortality rates show no efficacy from statewide mask mandates.
Given the lack of scientific backing for masks, who is complying with the mask mandate? People like my parents watch the local TV news daily and believe that contracting COVID is a death sentence. Their fear drives them to do everything possible to minimize their risk of exposure. They prefer to follow the safest path. By blindly following, they lack any internal conflict, and their overwhelming fear of death gives them complete amnesia about the public health flip-flopping on mask guidance.
I've revisited quotes by NIH's expert Fauci in my Timeline listed below:
March 2020: "There's no reason to be walking around with a mask."
April 2020: People should wear cloth face masks. Experts "started to see substantial data that masks outside the setting of the hospital work to prevent infection and you from infecting someone else."
January 2021: Two masks are better than one. "It just makes common sense."
April 2021: "If you were vaccinated you don't have to wear a mask outside."
May 2021: "If you were vaccinated, you don't have to wear a mask outside or inside."
July 2021: "Even if you're vaccinated, it's prudent to wear a mask indoors."August 2021: "Instead of worrying about the type of mask, just wear a mask."
Even if you hadn't delved into whether masks helped curb infection, Fauci's advice on eating in a restaurant by flipping your mask up between bites, and his advice that the type of mask you wear doesn't matter, makes me question his credibility.
The CDC's Walensky agrees that "any mask is better than no mask ... and the recommendation is not going to change" despite the alignment of "science" saying cloth masks don't work.
What I can't understand is how expert scientists are willing to hold firm to a policy like universal masking (or no natural immunity) that stands on tenuous ground. Why tout masks as the best mitigation strategy when the scientific studies solidly indicate no benefit? Is this the doublespeak of Orwell's dystopia?
Walensky previously claimed that masks "reduce your chance of infection by more than 80 percent" without the need to cite data. When she later produced a CDC study with cherry-picked data and repeats that mask mandates reduced COVID outbreaks in schools, the media discredited her data. Does being named head of an agency make your pronouncements "the science"?
Now that we can publicly state that cloth masks don't work, will we double down on N95s (without data)? Biden released N95s from the Strategic Stockpile to allow every American the opportunity to claim free masks. Newsom also distributed N95s to school districts across the state. Distribution varied by school district — my child received an email that N95 masks were available in the office for him. My niece's school distributed the N95 in class, with each student given five N95 masks placed in five paper bags labeled with the days of the week — they were instructed to wear each mask on the labeled day of the week. Perhaps Newsom knew that schoolchildren masking would continue.
For California's Newsom, his change in mask guidance, which he claimed would always be based on "science, not politics," closely followed pictures gone viral of him and LAC mayor Garcetti maskless at an NFL playoff game. Fortunately for him, the media had just opened an off-ramp on masks that would placate most of his constituents.
Unfortunately for Newsom, his strong ties with the teachers' unions didn't allow him to remove the school mask mandate. Instead, California is one of seven states to continue to mandate school masking. After catering to the teachers' unions, California came in dead last for in-person schooling last year. Newsom can't gain an easy win with parents whose children have lost verbal and non-verbal communication skills and emotional and facial cues. While he can publicly state that cloth masks don't work, his policy with regard to schoolchildren can only be described as "anti-science."
In my private life, I was hoping that I would no longer need to suffer inner conflict for wearing a face mask. However, California's Santa Clara County (SCC) and Los Angeles County (LAC) are doubling down on the indoor masking mandates.
SCC's Dr. Sara Cody and LAC's Barbara Ferrer would rather adhere to the non-scientific color-coded "Blueprint for a Safer Economy" metrics adopted in August 2020 to guide the opening of various businesses and schools. This Blueprint replaced the April 2020 Resilience Roadmap, which was on the cusp of meeting benchmarks to allow schools to reopen. Roadmap criteria evolved each month with its initial re-opening benchmark requiring no deaths per 10,000 over 14 days...
To make masks optional, both want their counties in the "moderate" orange tier for at least seven days. Is the mask effective in the "red tier"?
Remember that LAC and SCC both mandated masks ahead of California, on April 10 and 17, respectively. Dr. Cody mandated that SCC schools open remotely at the start of the 2020 academic year. Newsom ended the shelter-in-place rule, announcing that California would reopen fully on June 15, 2021, without mandatory masks, that date likely selected by the teachers' union during summer break.
The media hold great power. The governors (and public health officials) are the tail, and the media (along with the teachers' union, AKA the CDC) are the dog that's wagging the tail.
Image via Pixabay.