Maskaholics anonymous

Politico Playbook reports that the White House is weighing its options in the case holding its mask mandate to be illegal. I thought that they had to go for it and protect their phony baloney jobs protecting public health consistent with the party line over the past two years, but they see the downside and the escape hatch afforded by Judge Mizelle’s ruling yesterday.

Politico has to let us know that they (at Politico) recognize the politics of the situation, of course, but that they have no doubt about the wisdom of the absurd regime we lived under until late yesterday afternoon. If the Biden maskaholics were to seek to squeeze the toothpaste back into the tube, “the administration would risk political blowback on a hot political topic heading into the summer travel season. And it would give voters a clear target of who to blame for mask mandates despite prominent Democrats’ efforts to distance themselves from the unpopular (if scientifically sound) policy.”

Thank you for the parenthetical guidance, you bloody morons. We get it. You are among the right thinkers and you believe!

For the moment, Philip Wegmann reports, the White House is giving it up. As of today, we are to understand that the federal mask regime we have lived under was blatantly illegal. Are they really going to let it ride?

Speaking of maskaholism, former New York Times science writer John Tierney reviews the record in the outstanding City Journal column “Maskaholics.” Tierney includes the graph below with his column. It was created by data analyst Ian Miller. Tierney comments that the graph should be required viewing for everyone still wearing a mask and every public official or journalist who still insists that mask mandates “control the spread[,]” such as Mr. Playbook above.

Tierney explains:

The graph tracks the results of a natural experiment that occurred nationwide during the pandemic. Eleven states never mandated masks, while the other 39 states enforced mandates. The mandates typically began early in the pandemic in 2020 and remained until at least the summer of 2021, with some extending into 2022. The black line on the graph shows the weekly rate of Covid cases in all the states with mask mandates that week, while the orange line shows the rate in all the states without mandates.

As you can see from the lines’ similar trajectories, the mask mandates hardly controlled the virus. By the time the mandates were introduced in New York and other states in the spring of 2020 (at the left side of the graph), infections had already been declining in those states, and the mandates didn’t prevent a surge later that year, when cases rose and fell in nearly identical trajectories regardless of states’ mask policies. The pandemic’s second year saw slight deviations in both directions, but those reflected the seasonality of the virus and the geography of mask mandates, which remained more common in northern states. Cases were higher in the non-mandate states last summer, when the seasonal surge in the South disproportionately hit Republican states without mandates, but those states went on to have fewer cases during the winter, when the seasonal surge in the North hit more Democratic states with mandates.

If you add up all the numbers on those two lines, you find that the mask mandates made zero difference. The cumulative rate of infection over the course of the pandemic was about 24 percent in the mandate states as well as in the non-mandate states. Their cumulative rates of Covid mortality were virtually identical, too (in fact, there were slightly more deaths per capita in the states with mask mandates).

Tierney adds the relevant history:

In their pre-Covid planning strategies for a pandemic, neither the Centers for Disease Control nor the World Health Organization had recommended masking the public—for good reason. Randomized clinical trials involving flu viruses had shown, contrary to popular wisdom in Japan and other Asian countries, that there was “no evidence that face masks are effective in reducing transmission,” as the WHO summarized the scientific literature. The pandemic planners at the United Kingdom’s Department of Health had reached a similar conclusion: “In line with the scientific evidence, the Government will not stockpile facemasks for general use in the community.” Anthony Fauci acknowledged this evidence early in the pandemic, both in his public comments (“There’s no reason to be walking around with masks,” he told 60 Minutes) and in his private emails (“I do not recommend you wear a mask,” he told a colleague, explaining that masks were too porous to block the small Covid virus).

But then Fauci, like the CDC and the WHO, bowed to political expediency and media hysteria. Mandating masks gave the illusion of doing something against the virus. When the initial spring wave in 2020 subsided, public officials and journalists claimed that the mandates had worked, and they kept up the pretense even when Covid surged again later that year despite the continuing mandates. The resurgence was blamed on people disobeying the mandates, never mind the surveys showing widespread compliance.

Tierney has much more in his incredibly timely column.

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