Even though masks are supposedly the only thing standing between you and killing your neighbors, states with the earliest mask mandates are also the states with the highest death rates.
I believe masks are more effective than not at stopping the spread of disease. Let’s get that out of the way. How could they not? Reducing the opportunity of minuscule water droplets to transmit from breathing has to reduce the exposure of other people to said water droplets.
Still, I am allowed to be skeptical of the political pressure being applied to force my wearing of them. That’s the first thing. The second is that data doesn’t really support the levels of mask zealotry we are witnessing.
Recall that just four months ago Anthony Fauci said this on general public masking: “Right now in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks…there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask…it’s not providing the perfect protection people think that it is.”
There are also remarks like this one, from an executive director of the World Health Organization, in which he shared the same sentiment as Fauci: “There is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any potential benefit. In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse of wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly.”
Are we supposed to think that after decades of amassing research and evidence around the efficacy of masks, which were decidedly unnecessary for the general public as late as early April, the WHO and CDC decided in a few weeks’ time to do a U-turn and suddenly suggest not wearing a mask was akin to pulling the pin out of a grenade and lobbing it through Grandma’s open window?
Minnesota, for example, just enacted a statewide mask mandate effective July 25th. This is a full four months after coronavirus has already swept through the country and in a state whose 7-day change in fatalities is around +1/100,000. The state has an overall death rate of 28/100,000, placing it squarely between New Mexico and Florida. Did you know that New Mexico and Minnesota share an identical death rate as Florida? I did not. Gee, I wonder what the gubernatorial politics are of each of those three states.
Turn on the news, and the spin is the same everywhere. Florida, Arizona, and Texas lead the way in pandemic scare tactics. Not surprisingly, they are all helmed by Republican governors. This, even though in the last week Delaware, a blue state, had the second-highest increase in new deaths at a rate of 6/100,000. Incredibly, Delaware has had a mask mandate in effect since April 28th and Arizona none at all.
I have a lot of COVID-related questions, but here’s one directly tied to that last Delaware mention: What science can they offer to back up the claim masks are effective enough to demand my compliance?
CNN and the Washington Post, no friends to truth or journalism, published in their own self-interest a list of states with mask mandates and tables of coronavirus tallies, respectively. Their motives are clear: The states that locked down early are blue heroes and the ever-rising tallies signify red leadership failures.
A merger of the two produces interesting and conflicting results, though. The situation on the ground is complex, but at the very least shouldn’t early mask adoptions result in fewer deaths? Isn’t that the whole point?
As we see, that is not the case. Indeed, the first 11 states to require masks, beginning with New Jersey on April 8th, are fully responsible for almost 80,000 deaths, or over half of all COVID-19 fatalities. It needs to be pointed out that fully all 11 of them are helmed by Democrat governors and their largest cities are run by inept Democrat mayors. These same Democrats also accused Trump of being xenophobic for shutting down air travel to China and the Washington Post even compared this to the flu early on.
But it’s the Trump Virus! It’s times like these I wonder if liberals will ever wake up to this nonsense and start voting for the only party that reflects their real values.
New Jersey, which initiated the country to mask mandates on April 8th, has both the second-highest total death count and also the second-highest death rate. They have seen around 15,800 deaths, producing a death rate of 151/100,000. Only New York is higher on both counts, with 29,700 deaths and a staggering death rate of 177/100,000. For comparison, Texas has a death rate 1/10 that of New York, and they are currently being lambasted by the press.
Following the leads of New Jersey and New York, the next three mask mandates went into effect in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, on consecutive days on April 18th, 19th, and 20th. Since then, they have seen death totals reach 3,400, 7,100, and 4,400. The subsequent death rate in Maryland is 57/100,000 (11th highest), in Pennsylvania is 56/100,000 (12th highest), and in Connecticut is 123/100,000 (4th highest).
Third on the list, in terms of both total deaths and death rate, is Massachusetts. The small state has accumulated 8,500 deaths, resulting in a death rate of 124/100,000. It adopted mandatory masks on May 6th.
In fairness to the truth, Hawaii also adopted draconian laws related to mask-wearing and has not seen the same level of caseloads and case fatalities. Since their April 20th mandate, Hawaii has only recorded 26 deaths, equivalent to a death rate of just 2/100,000. Of course, they are on an island and can much more easily restrict travel and movement. They can also scare the bejesus out of people.
How extreme was their governor? Failure to abide by his edict could result in a $5,000 fine and one-year prison term. Ironically, this comes at a time when Democrats increasingly push for a reduction in imprisonment and penalties for crime in general. Would the governor allow for Black Lives Matter to protest sans PPE? For comparison, according to their state criminal codes, a third-degree negligent homicide is punishable by up to one year and prison and a $2,000 fine. In other words, you can kill someone in, for example, an automobile accident, and faceless consequences than simply not wearing a mask.
Aforementioned, Delaware was the next state to chronologically enact mask laws. Since then, the diminutive state has seen 578 deaths, resulting in the 9th-highest death rate nationwide at 61/100,000. Rounding off the list is Rhode Island, home to 1,000 total deaths and the 5th highest death rate at 91/100,000. Rhode Island passed mask mandates on May 8th.
Admittedly, it would be absurd to suggest that the failure to statistically correlate mask mandates with lower death rates denotes the failure of mask-wearing to increased public safety. Right off the bat, common sense would lead rationale people to conclude masks are generally better than no masks. How could they not be? That’d be like saying washing hands is better than not washing hands. Preventative hygiene will almost always be more effective at limiting the spread of disease than not.
However, as time goes by the science is less and less settled. Has anyone conclusively stated how the disease spreads? Why are school children in Europe not transmitting the disease to one another or their teachers? Why is no one wondering the initial panic about deaths in March and April and now only confirmed cases in June and July? Why doesn’t it seem to matter that we wanted to just flatten the curve initially and now we all want a vaccine? What am I missing?
Moreover, if the disease is so deadly, why do most people only find out about it after a positive test, or how is it that individual states like South Dakota and Wisconsin, or entire countries like Sweden, haven’t been bombarded with outbreaks despite few prophylactic measures? Not only were we prepared to witness an apocalyptic ravaging of Florida’s retirement population, but I also have yet to hear a good answer as to why poor and crowded slums throughout Africa, India, and Asia are not decimated by now. I am positive they do not all wear masks. Are we supposed to believe America is the most vulnerable and ill-prepared country in the world vis-a-vis global pandemics?
Maybe I will be proven wrong in a year when mask mandates are proven to save lives. I’d hold my breath, but breathing is hard enough wearing this thing as it is.