While most of the pandemic restrictions have now been lifted, there are many Americans who still choose to use masks and face coverings. Oftentimes fully vaccinated adults can still be seen wearing masks when they are outside, while until recently masks were endorsed for airline passengers.
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa recently ruled that the mask mandate on public transport was unlawful and still, many are calling for masks to become a permanent rule on public transport, including trains, planes, and buses. Some High School students in Seattle are also advocating for the mask mandate to be reinstated.
According to some psychologists, children are also dealing with anxiety now that masks are no longer enforced, as they don’t want their faces to be seen by their classmates. This has been dubbed “mask dependency” and it is a psychological affliction termed in Japan, a country that has long enforced mask-wearing during the flu season.
Therapists have noted the difficulty of overcoming this addiction. Still, the case can be made that the mask mandates are not necessary to “control the spread.”
In fact, according to a graph by Ian Miller (data scientist for University of California Santa Barbara), the eleven states that did not enforce a mask mandate, had a very similar trajectory in cases as the 39 states where the mask mandate was enforced. The mask mandates, which began in 2020 at the start of the pandemic, remained in effect until the summer of 2021 and in some cases extended well into 2022.
The graph showcases the Covid cases in states without a mask mandate with the black line and the states with a mandate with an orange line. As it is clear from this graph, the number of cases in either condition is not significantly different. All of the states appear to follow a similar trajectory. Some may even see the results of this as showcasing that masking had little effect in controlling the spread of the virus. While during different seasons different states had surges, overall, the numbers from both lines when added up show that the mask mandates did not make any difference.
Ian Miller, the creator of this graph, is a data analyst who has been tracking pandemic trends for the Brownstone Institute. The collection of his findings is exposed in his book Unmasked: The Global Failure of COVID Mask Mandates. The book provides a series of reasons why the mask mandates do not hold any scientific backing and how the constant push for a mask mandate is a failure of the world and the public officials and journalists.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to note that both the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization had never recommended mask mandates. Their randomized clinical trials involving flu viruses had also shown that there was “no evidence that face masks are effective in reducing transmission.” This quote is one taken directly from the WHO summarized the scientific literature.
The United Kingdom’s Department of Health had also noted, “In line with the scientific evidence, the Government will not stockpile facemasks for general use in the community.” Anthony Fauci had even acknowledged this fact before succumbing to the pressures put on him by the media and politicians.
After the initial COVID wave in the spring of 2020, many experts stated that mask-wearing had worked. For this reason, mask mandates remained in place in the weeks to come. The extended use of mask-wearing at a time when COVID cases surged, also led to the commonly stated idea that most people were wearing masks incorrectly, or were not keeping to the mandate
Miller has created dozens of graphs to demonstrate that is not the case and that mask-wearing is not an effective way of reducing the number of infections. At the same time, key organizations like the CDC refuse to look at the long-term evidence and instead they place their attention on short-term trends to convince others of the importance of mask-wearing. Flawed research studies, like those of Arizona and Kansas, are used to show how mask mandates can reduce the number of infections, even though the evidence is not consistent in all counties. The CDC has now been facing criticism for the questionable research and false claims they have been putting out, especially about face coverings for school children.
The media has also not been paying attention or covering more rigorous studies that have been comparing the effects of masking in all 50 states in the first year of the pandemic. One study, in particular, noted that “mask mandates and use are not associated with slower state-level Covid-19 spread during Covid-19 growth surges.”
For those looking for further proof, another graph from Miller compares Germany’s and Sweden’s cases. Sweden is famous for not having lockdown measures or mask mandates. As the graph exhibits the looser policies in Sweden were as effective as the strict measures in Germany. In Sweden, less than 10 percent of people wore a mask, while in Germany over 80 percent of people did and yet, the two countries had very similar trajectories during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The evidence is clear, the masks were not what led to COVID’s decline, and in countries and states without mask mandates, the number of cases remained fairly similar to the number of cases in states with mask mandates.