As Predicted, Masks are Coming Back

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Originally published www.brownstone.org by Ian Miller

It's hard to believe that we're still having to deal with masks and mask mandates in the summer of 2022. 

As data became available, it was obvious by 2020 that masks and mask mandates did not work.

By 2021, it was positively confirmed that masks and mask mandates did not work.

Endless research and data accumulated over the past two years of nearly every jurisdiction on earth trying and failing to use masks to "slow the spread" of COVID should have been enough evidence.

It's at least encouraging that many even in the scientific or medical community have moved on from masking, tacitly acknowledging that there are no benefits.

But as feared, there are seemingly limitless amounts of politicians, health officials and local administrators willing to reengage in COVID theater.

Just in the past few days, a number of cities and school districts have announced their intentions to reinstate mask mandates.

Los Angeles, the San Diego Unified School District, Athens, Georgia, Lincoln, Nebraska…all have returned or will soon return to masking to some degree.

There apparently is no amount of evidence or data that will convince committed pro-masking fanatics to permanently abandon their faith.

But it's even more absurd considering that several countries where mask mandates are still in effect, or where universal masking compliance is still commonplace, have been experiencing dramatic, remarkable surges.

The evidence from 2020 wasn't enough. The Delta and Omicron surges in 2021 also weren't enough. You'd be wrong again if you believed another surge in 2022 would be enough.

While many states or countries have moved past the pandemic, those desperate to keep it going are ignoring the reality currently unfolding across the world right in front of their eyes.

Los Angeles

It's been covered before, but it bears repeating that Los Angeles already provided one of the clearest data points that masking and mask mandates are completely ineffective.

When the public health department did spot checks in December 2021 to measure compliance, they found that over 95% of employees and customers at over 1,500 businesses were wearing masks.

Cases in the county immediately exploded, breaking records and reaching more than double the winter surge of 2020-2021:

You'd think that would be enough to permanently end the city's commitment to masking, but of course you'd be wrong.

The city recently reached the CDC's "high transmission" level, which is a created metric based on entirely arbitrary criteria.

While the overwhelming majority of the US has long since concluded that the CDC's recommendations are probably best disregarded, Los Angeles has tied their mask mandates to the utterly meaningless guidelines.

And so, after just a few months of blissful, mostly maskless existence, the city will almost inevitably head back to forced masking in just a matter of days.

What's also infuriating about LA's devotion to mitigation fiction is that a month and a half after the mandate was lifted, cases remained low:

This is another key point that's not made often enough.

It's not just that mask mandates do not prevent cases from rising or stop surges in their tracks, but lifting mask mandates also makes no difference whatsoever.

LA ended theirs and cases didn't surge. As was the case with Texas in March 2021, after Joe Biden called lifting mandates "Neanderthal thinking."

This has happened over and over and over again, and yet the myth of masking persists.

Schools

While general mask mandates have long since fallen by the wayside, the continuation of forced school masking has become the most pernicious trend of 2022 COVID policy.

Earlier this year, it was already abundantly clear that masking in schools was not supported by copious amounts of data. 

Then, just recently, an extremely important masking study was released, comparing two neighboring school districts in North Dakota.

One district had a mask mandate, the other did not. Their population demographics were similar, vaccination rates were similar, their enrollment was similar. 

The comparison was about as well-matched as a non-randomized controlled trial can be.

And the results showed, once again, that masks do not make a difference. 

Even as far back as May 2021, research conducted on schools in several states confirmed that there was no difference whatsoever in student case rates regardless of masking policy.

With the labels on this chart purposefully hidden, it's impossible to tell which of the three lines represents universal masking, staff-only masking or where masks were not required for anyone:

Student case rates are essentially identical, no matter the policy.

School masking is completely unnecessary. There is no significant benefit to it, no matter how hard you look.

Instead of taking this as good news, that students can learn in person, as normal, without the burden and harms of masking, officials like those in San Diego have appealed to authority and reinstated mandates.

And their suggestion for children who are uncomfortable wearing masks is as laughable as it is offensive.

What's the advice of the literal President of SDUSD for any child who doesn't want to wear a mask? Don't go to school.

After years of evidence showing school closures have had catastrophic impacts on mental health, learning loss and set children back years, they want kids to miss more school.

This thinking is remarkably simplistic and unnecessarily panicked.

"CDC, Fauci and The New York Times say school masking works and is necessary, therefore as a 'smart,' science following local school board member or administrator, I will continue to mandate masks whenever I deem necessary, forever."

It's hard to stomach the comparative futures of American classrooms; students in sane, rational, evidence-based states like Florida will forever be free to learn as they should, while the "science followers" will permanently force ineffective and horrifying damaging policies on kids.

Until school masking is banned, desperate and incompetent officials will always return to the policy we know doesn't work.

As long as they "do something," in their minds, they will be cleared of blame.

The Examples

But most importantly, we now have several countries experiencing near record surges despite their masking policies or compliance.

The most obvious is New Zealand, which still has a mask mandate that covers nearly all indoor public spaces.

How's that working out for them?

Cases have risen dramatically yet again.

Their population adjusted case rate is now among the highest on earth, despite the mask mandate and their exceptionally high vaccination rate.

What's the excuse for this? What's the explanation? This is exactly what mask mandates are supposed to prevent, we're told; runaway case growth leading to surges.

Beyond cases, deaths have officially reached a new high:

The common sentiment that mask mandates are needed to lessen pressure on hospitals or "save lives" is endlessly contradicted by reality, yet it's still repeated by public health authorities convinced of their own infallibility.

And it's not just New Zealand.

One of the most cited examples of masks "working" to prevent COVID cases has been Japan.

Their near universal compliance and seeming early success made them an obvious reference for the anti-science masking lobby.Forbes, for example, specifically stated that their high rate of mask-wearing was responsible for preventing the spread of the virus.

Well compliance hasn't changed, but case rates sure have:

Japan provides one of the best indicators of how utterly meaningless compliance actually is.

Survey data has measured the rate of mask-wearing at essentially identical levels for over two years. Yet cases have risen and fallen at will.

Now the country appears to be heading towards yet another new record that will be ignored by those pushing for endless mandates.

Singapore is yet another example of a location experiencing rapid case growth with extremely high mask-wearing rates.

Despite claims by the former US Surgeon General that the city controlled surges with masking and mitigation, the latest outbreak is once again heading towards record highs:

Naturally getting 92% of residents fully vaccinated didn't help either.

Countries all over the world are seeing huge surges despite mask mandates and high levels of compliance.

Instead of taking these lessons to heart, the same lessons we learned in 2020 and 2021, local officials are going back to what we know doesn't work.

Not only do we have history to refer to, it's currently not working.

The fears that were raised throughout the past two years; that pretending masking works would lead to indefinite rolling mandates, appears to be coming true.

While the return to mandates is seemingly somewhat limited, this is only summer. When the inevitable fall and winter surge returns, how much worse will it get?

It's even more important now to continue to document how useless masking is at preventing the spread of COVID. The longer institutional misinformation goes unchecked, the more ingrained it becomes in the minds of decision-makers across the country.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
Sayer Ji
Founder of GreenMedInfo.com

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