Editor’s note: The following column has been revised to remove factual errors about the distinction between the coronavirus and the flu. Further, it bears noting that Mr. Baker’s commentary omits references to subsequent studies that find masks do help reduce the spread, including this one from the Centers for Disease Control. As with all individual columns, Mr. Baker’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.
If you’re old enough you may remember that two or three decades ago there was mass hysteria about the danger of secondhand smoke, primarily from cigarettes, and how it was going to cause premature death on a massive scale numbering millions of people. An entire generation was at risk because little kids were going to be dying en masse from their parents’ smoking habit.
Intentional or not, the whole thing turned out to be one big hoax.
How about the AIDS hysteria of the ’80s? Remember that? Everyone was going to be wiped out by AIDS? “Oops, only kidding…” Turns out only a small portion of the populace was at risk from AIDS, and the predicted mass die-off never materialized.
Well, it’s déjà vu all over again.
The COVID-19 virus started making its appearance in late 2019 (hence the “19” part of its nomenclature). Within a very few weeks the hysteria was ginned up with dire predictions of millions of deaths in this country, generated by badly flawed computer models and Chicken Little worst-case predictions based on nothing more than mere speculation.
To this date there hasn’t been any controlled experimentation to support those assertions.
In fact, as I’ll soon discuss, what little actual “science” has been applied to this issue has reached very different conclusions. Further, the illness itself has a survival rate of about 99.9% for those who aren’t seniors or have significant underlying conditions, meaning that for the vast majority of people the illness is merely an inconvenience.
In my May 21 column (“COVID Compromising Constitution”), I discussed how masks other than containment/filtration systems were pretty much useless in preventing the spread of viruses, and the six months that have passed since then have borne out that statement. All we have to do is look around to see the reality.
We were told that masks and social distancing would “flatten the curve” almost immediately and only be necessary for the short term. Well, does “the curve” look flattened to you? Pretty much all domestic venues, whether they mask or not, are experiencing a significant “second wave” of infections.
This is in spite of the fact that in those jurisdictions that mandate wearing masks compliance is very high, estimated as being at 80% or better.
Does that make any sense at all to you? It sure doesn’t to me if masks allegedly work as well as they’re supposed to. The icing on the cake is how many of those mandating masking are regularly caught flouting their own rules. From Gavin Newsom to Nancy Pelosi to Gretchen Whitmer to Anthony Fauci to Dianne Feinstein, on and on, we see those poohbahs ignoring masks while they think no one’s looking. Probably because they know masking is nothing more than a thick slice of baloney.
But that’s merely the observable phenomena. Let’s cut to the tape of “the science.”
According to the Europe PubMed Central (https://europepmc.org/article/med/7379387) masks allow contaminates to flow around the edges of common surgical masks, rendering them ineffective.
Pubmed, part of the National Institutes of Health, also concluded masks were ineffective (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1157412/ ). A September 2020 study published by the National Library of Medicine (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7546829/) reached the same conclusion: “Surgical mask wearing among individuals in non-health care settings is not significantly associated with reduction in (acute respiratory infection) incidence in this meta-review.”
The World Health Organization states that, “At the present time, the widespread use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not yet supported by high-quality or direct scientific evidence.” (WHO-2019-nCov-IPC_Masks-2020.4-eng.pdf)
The recently released Danish study (https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-6817 ) concluded that “a recommendation to wear a surgical mask when outside the home among others did not reduce, at conventional levels of statistical significance, incident SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with no mask recommendation.”
As shown by the “real science” and confirmed by simple observation with our own eyes, masking has turned out to be one of the biggest scams ever perpetrated on this country.
Masks have become the American burqa, the symbol that one is a True Believer and not a heretic. It’s pure political Kabuki.
Further, continuing mask mandates under the premise that they’re going to magically become effective in battling this virus is the very personification of the Einsteinian definition of insanity: repeating the same action while expecting a different result.
It’s past time to accept that the masking emperor has no clothes, put an end to the nonsense, and move on to policies that make actual sense so our country can start returning to normal.
The way to do that is to take actions that only affect the very small percentage of people who are truly vulnerable to this illness and let everyone else get back to living their lives.
Brian Baker is a former Saugus resident.