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Take off the masks and start breathing easier now – it’s time to face the facts

The pandemic has eased, but the need for many Americans to cover their faces has not. Fully vaccinated adults still wear masks on their solitary walks outdoors, and officials have imposed mask requirements on some city residents and students. Some airlines and railroads have required passengers to wear masks for nearly two years eventually dropped their requirements in response to U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s ruling Monday Declare the Biden administration’s mask mandate on public transit illegal. It’s welcome news, although long overdue.

A simple remedy might help some maskaholics. It’s a graphic that should be mandatory for anyone still wearing a mask, and for every official and journalist who still insists mask mandates “control the spread.” The black line on the graph shows the weekly rate of COVID cases in all mask-mandated states that week, while the orange line shows the rate in all non-mandated states. Eleven states have never mandated masks, while the other 39 states have enforced mandates. Mandates typically began early in the 2020 pandemic and lasted at least through the summer of 2021, with some being extended into 2022.

Graphic on states with and without mask requirements.
States without a mask requirement saw only a slight increase in cases in a few months.
NY Post illustration

As you can see from the lines’ similar trajectories, mask requirements barely controlled the virus, and if you add up all the numbers on these two lines, you realize that mask requirements made no difference. The cumulative infection rate over the course of the pandemic was around 24% in both mandate and non-mandate states. Their cumulative COVID mortality rates were also virtually identical (in fact, mask-required states had slightly more deaths per capita).

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If that didn’t convince you to take off your mask, you can find many more reasons in “Unmasked: The Global Failure of COVID Mask Mandates” by Ian Miller, the Brownstone Institute data analyst who created the chart. Miller’s book documents how mask requirements have been implemented without scientific justification, how they have failed worldwide and how officials and journalists have made themselves look ridiculous with pretenses.

Bowing to political expediency and media hysteria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization recommended masking the public, even though randomized clinical trials had shown that “there is no evidence that face masks are effective in reducing transmission.” The WHO has summarized the scientific literature. The mask requirement created the illusion of doing something against the virus. As the first spring wave of 2020 wore off, officials and journalists claimed the mandates had worked, and they stuck to the pretense even as COVID surged again later that year despite the ongoing mandates.

This pattern of magical thinking persisted throughout the pandemic. Again and again, journalists and public health officials would single out a state or nation that allegedly had tamed COVID by forcing citizens to wear masks – and then those masks would promptly fail to prevent an unprecedented wave of infections. In the summer of 2020, Politico praised Rhode Island’s “wear-your-damn-mask” policy in an article titled “How the Smallest State Engineered a COVID Comeback.” A fall survey found that 96% of Rhode Island residents were wearing masks, the highest in America, but this winter the state suffered one of the worst COVID surges in the country.

Meanwhile, the media’s pet pundits continued to predict doom for states that never mandated masks, like Florida, or that ended mandates in early 2021, like Iowa. Over the course of the pandemic, both states have performed better than the national average on both measures of COVID mortality and all-cause mortality (the number of deaths from all causes above normal).

media narrative

Instructions on a federal mask mandate are still displayed on a screen while Rhode Island TF Green International Airport worked to update its signage on Tuesday, April 19
The Biden administration extended the mask requirement for airlines on March 19.
David Goldman/AP

The media narrative on masks spanned the world. “COVID-19 consumed India until almost everyone started wearing masks,” proclaimed a Wall Street Journal headline in late 2020, but then India’s infection rate soared to four times the previous peak. “The Czech Republic has a life-saving COVID-19 lesson for America: Wear a face mask,” USA Today announced at the start of the pandemic, but since then the Czech Republic’s death toll has been one of the highest in the world.

If you’re still not convinced to take the mask off, consider another graphic by Miller. It compares Germany, whose tough policies have made it a media darling, to Sweden, which is widely vilified for refusing to lockdown or mandate masks. Sweden’s initial COVID surge has been blamed on these lax guidelines, but Sweden stuck to them and actually advised against masks in most situations. As the chart shows, surveys during the pandemic showed less than 10% of Swedes bothered to wear masks. In Germany, on the other hand, more than 80% did, but look at the similar trajectories of daily COVID deaths in both countries from the summer of 2020 to March of this year.

The masks in Germany obviously “didn’t beat COVID”. From the beginning of the pandemic until this spring, the cumulative rate of COVID mortality in Sweden was slightly higher than in Germany (by about 15%), but the rate of all-cause mortality was slightly higher in Germany (by about 8%). Just like in the US, the mask requirements in Germany brought no net benefit, but plenty of inconvenience and direct damage. Covering up may give maskaholics a false sense of security — but they could breathe easier if they just faced the facts.

Excerpt courtesy of City Journal.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/19/feel-free-to-fly-maskless-breathe-easier-already/ Take off the masks and start breathing easier now – it’s time to face the facts

DUSTIN JONES

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