Joe Biden, or his handlers, are suggesting that, if elected, he’d implement a nation-wide mask mandate.
He says he’d make the case “with scientists” for every state, every county, every jurisdiction, to create and enforce mandatory mask laws. No scientist can, however, if objectively examining the data, agree with Joe Biden.
If Biden should be elected, he would not take office, of course, until January. He therefore assumes masks would still be necessary at this point. Yet they aren’t needed now, if they ever were.
The official CDC weekly count of deaths attributed at least in part to the coronavirus, showed 214 deaths for the week ending 12 September. These are early counts and will rise due to late reporting. In any case, attributed deaths have been dropping rapidly since the first week of August.
If the trend in fatalities continues, and there is no good reason to suspect otherwise, the number of deaths will fall to “background level” by October, or November at the latest. We use the phrase “background level” to relate that this version of the coronavirus will likely never disappear.
Even Anthony Fauci would agree with that statement. In a recent Cell paper with David M Morens, Fauci wrote “viral genetic descendants of the 1918 influenza pandemic virus are still causing seasonal outbreaks throughout the world, and still killing cumulatively millions of people a century later”.
This is true, and it is even true in the presence of flu vaccines. Flu variants stick with us. So do coronavirus variants, a cause of the common cold. This new one causing COVID-19 is therefore likely to be around for at least years to come.
But that does not mean it will be causing large numbers of deaths. Certainly not enough deaths to require, by threat of jail or fine, every single citizen to wear masks.
The efficacy of masks in preventing transmission of disease in healthy populations is anyway not proven. Most studies show mixed results, at best. A recent paper by Jingyi Xiao and others in Emerging Infectious Diseases analyzed ten separate studies, each examining the efficacy of masks. There was no benefit in preventing transmission of flu.
This is only one of dozens of such studies. At the least, there is no clear cut case for mandatory masks, and even evidence against their use.
Given that deaths have been dropping, and assuming the trend continues, why are people still nervous about coronavirus? Because of massive increases in testing, a subject we discuss in our upcoming book The Price of Panic: How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic into a Catastrophe.
Attributed deaths peaked in mid-April, a time when testing was at low levels. Attributed deaths began to fall by late April, fading to a low in late June, re-peaking in late July, and now dropping to very low levels.
But testing ramped up and up, and then up some more. According to the COVID tracking project, there were a peak of 926,441 tests on 24 July. On one day alone!
These tests are picking up minor and asymptomatic infections, or even past infections, or in the case of false positives no infections at all, yet the media is labeling all positive tests “new cases”.
When the public, and unfortunately many government officials hear “new cases”, they assume the worst. It is these non-case “new cases” that accounts for the continuing panic.
A similar situation happened in 2008 and 2009 with Swine flu. After deaths dropped to near zero in the summer of 2009, the NIAID funded a “FluChip”, a cheap and widely available test. “New cases” driven by increased testing soared throughout the rest of the year, but deaths stubbornly refused to re-peak.
Testing for coronavirus is only now coming down slowly, even as deaths drop far below traffic fatality numbers. (According to the National Safety Council about 746 people die on average every week in crashes.)
Masks are no longer necessary, if they ever were. Creating new crimes for not wearing them long after a pandemic has ended is not medically, or ethically, justifiable.
Update People showing the voluminous evidence from the medical literature (even that with p-values doing their best!) are now called “mask truthers”. It’s funny that here and elsewhere truth is being used as an insult. I mean, they could have said “mask deniers” or “math liars” or whatever. Instead it’s truth.
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