Against Masking

I was reasonable when COVID came out. I masked up and encouraged others to mask up. The virus was new, there was much we didn’t know, and there was a lot of data that showed if an infected person put on a mask, it could help at the margins to reduce the spread of COVID. At a time hospitals were filling up, we needed to improve the margins. It should be noted that part of the issue as well was we discovered asymptomatic people could spread COVID and not know they were infected. So if everybody put on a mask, we could reduce the numbers to keep hospitals overflowing.

A lot of people still argue with all of that and dispute it despite a mass of data. In fact, I await the people in the comments bickering over it. They can’t let it go. But now there is a vaccine and public health officials cannot let go of masks.

Here’s what we know now too.

Overwhelmingly, infections spread at small events where people were naturally not masking — gatherings in homes and small parties. And out in the wild, half the people never wore their masks properly.

The solution here in 2021 is not more masking, but vaccines and amazingly 168 million Americans are vaccinated.

It is now the choice of others. Governments should not impose mask mandates anymore. Schools should drop the mask demands. Even with the Delta variant, teenagers are not vectors for spreading COVID.

On top of that, it turns out the panic from the CDC that got cities across America to reimpose mask mandates turns out to be highly misguided. It turns out the data from Provincetown, MA is strikingly good for vaccinated Americans. The CDC overreacted. This piece has been endorsed by lots of major, reputable members of the medical community who take COVID seriously.

There were 60,000 visitors to Provincetown during the period in question. That would translate to 57,000 vaccinated folks and 3,000 unvaccinated folks.

How many tested positive for Covid? Current reports say about 750 vaccinated folks and 250 unvaccinated.

This means that 750/57000 vaccinated folks tested positive, or 1.3%. 250/3000 unvaccinated folks tested positive, or 8.3%. Being vaccinated gave you a more than 6-fold protection against Covid than being unvaccinated. This is similar to the protection figures published in the early spring of 2021, before the Delta variant had any impact in this country.

What about the hospitalizations? 6 vaccinated cases were hospitalized, out of 950 cases. That’s 0.6% of cases. Historically, 5% of Covid cases have resulted in hospitalization in the US. That’s a nine-fold improvement!

It’s worth also noting the author adds this data point about the CDC report:

This is a report from a period of time when 60,000 mostly gay men descended on a resort town to pack themselves into poorly-ventilated bars and clubs every day for several days. Virtually no one was wearing a face mask. A couple of clubs were requiring proof of vaccination for entry, but most were not. It rained a lot those two weeks, driving the hordes indoors even more than usual. How do I know all this? I was there! (I spent 99% of my public time outdoors, and wore a mask the few times I had to go indoors.)

For more perspective, consider this synopsis of the data from The Dispatch focusing on the fear porn headlines in the press of 125,000 vaccinated Americans getting COVID.

Let’s start with the 125,000 figure. What’s conveniently missing from that tweet-length snippet is a denominator: the total number of Americans who are fully vaccinated. According to the CDC, it’s currently 164,757,423. NBC’s tally of so-called “breakthrough cases” is likely an undercount, both because a few states didn’t provide updated data and some vaccinated people have likely been infected with COVID without being tested because they experienced no symptoms. But if we use their 125,000 figure as a baseline, that would mean 0.076 percent of fully vaccinated Americans (or 1 in 1,316) have experienced a breakthrough infection. As of July 26, per CDC data, 6,239 fully vaccinated Americans (0.004 percent) have been hospitalized with COVID-19, and 1,263 fully vaccinated Americans (0.001 percent) have died from it. 

Friends, mask mandates and muddled messages just take away incentives to get vaccinated.

The data does not bear out that schools need mask mandates. The data does not bear out that mask mandates are needed across the country. Republican leaders should lead on this issue.

At this point, the burden is on the unvaccinated. They have made a choice for various reasons from natural immunity due to previous infection to religious objections to whatever. It does not matter. It should not matter. What matters is masking up again is nonsensical based on overhyped data distorted by the American press.

Go live your life, folks. Get the vaccine or not, folks. And stand up against nanny state masking demands.