Initially, my take on mask mandates, as well as masking in general during the COVID-19 pandemic, was that it was a byproduct of incompetent governance. Politicians knew they were largely impotent in the face of a global pandemic, but they still decided to maintain some veneer of control over the situation.
Over the course of the past few months, that view has significantly changed.
The science never added up – from the beginning, death rates were highest in states that had the strictest lockdowns, the first mask mandates, and the highest rates of compliance – only recently have red states caught up as a byproduct of seasonality.
Little evidence suggests that any of these mandates were effective in achieving their stated objective.
For the majority of the pandemic, blue states outpaced others in COVID death numbers by orders of magnitude. For instance, my state of New Jersey topped such lists for quite a while – and it’s certainly not because Gov. Phil Murphy was averse to locking us down or masking us up. Quite the opposite was true.
A University of Louisville study analyzing CDC data found that its “findings do not support the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 transmission rates decrease with greater public mask use,” Townhall reported in May. Similarly, a Danish study conducted last year found that COVID transmission was virtually the same between those who wore masks and those who did not.
However, the rhetoric early on was at least consistent – with no vaccine and little in the way of viable treatments, the case for implementing such restrictions at least somewhat made sense.
That time has come and gone. Three different vaccines are currently available to the public with remarkably high degrees of efficacy, and therapeutics are on the market. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 77.6% of America’s adult population, as well as a staggering 94.2% of Americans over 65, have been administered at least one dose of the vaccine. Vaccines are widely available and easily accessible; at this point, the unvaccinated remain so because they’ve consciously decided to take that risk.
For this reason, the pandemic in America as we know it is effectively over, and there is no imperative for masking – yet it continues, which begs us to ask the question: why? There’s no scientific evidence to suggest that masking is doing much in the way of protecting people – which is the entire pretense on which the concept was sold in the first place.
So, the only real conclusion left here is that masking is little more than a symbolic declaration of subservience. We’re still sending our children to school in masks, not because COVID threatens them with imminent death, but because we’re still obliged to slow the spread of a virus that posed to them a minimal threat to begin with. Universities – including my own – are still mandating masks, despite the majority of their students and staff being vaccinated.
None of this seems to serve any purpose aside from stroking the egos of college deans, school board members, corporate executives, and Twitter blue checks, all of whom seem genuinely convinced that they’re doing humanity a great service in deciding that your education, your child’s education, or your access to public accommodations should be contingent on whether or not you strap a piece of cloth to your face on the daily.
From their perspective, they’re “doing their part to slow the spread,” “listening to the experts,” “saving lives,” or whatever other feel-good catchall slogan the governors they undoubtedly voted in may have used to water this thing down as they self-assuredly signed those executive orders.
What we seem to have done is create a society of hall monitors – people and institutions so enamored with the false sense of moral superiority they derive from telling us what to do that they’re not going to allow that power to escape them once it’s outlived its purported usefulness.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.