Ever since the mainstream media declared Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 election, he’s been prattling on about how a nationwide mask mandate is vital to slowing the spread of the coronavirus. But has anyone noticed that the disease is spreading like wildfire in states that already have mask mandates?
The day after he made up his “President Elect” signs, Biden declared that he would call on governors around the country to impose mask mandates. One Biden official told NBC News that “If a governor declines, he’ll go to the mayors in the state and ask them to lead. In many states, there is the capacity of mayors to institute mandates.”
“It’s time to end the politicization of basic, responsible public health steps like mask-wearing and social distancing,” Biden said on Monday. “The single most effective thing we can do to stop the spread of COVID: Wear a mask.”
Really? Let’s look at the data.
As it stands, 33 states already have statewide mask mandates. These states account for three-quarters of the nation’s population.
What’s more, almost all the remaining states without a mask mandate have municipal requirements in place in major urban areas, according to a review by the AARP. In Florida, for example, several cities and large counties – including Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Hillsborough (where Tampa is located) – have them. So do numerous counties and cities in South Carolina, including Charleston and Columbia. In Tennessee, counties that are home to Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga have mask mandates in place. Anchorage and Juneau have them in Alaska.
Plus, just about anywhere you go these days has social distancing guidelines in effect. Just look down on the floors of any retail outlet, or at the plastic barriers now in place. Vast numbers of people are still working from home, and public transportation use has fallen sharply. In New York City, for instance, subway ridership is currently down about two-thirds from the same time last year. In Washington, D.C., it’s down more than 80%.
In other words, the nation has already done what Biden promises to do.
But guess what? The virus is still spreading, with daily new cases far above the peaks in the spring and summer.
Over the past week, in fact, there have been more than 764,000 new cases of COVID-19, according to Centers for Disease Control data.
And of those, more than 536,000 were in states with mask mandates.
The Biden folks will point out that the share of new cases in these states (70%) is lower than their population share (75%), suggesting the statewide mandates work.
And, of course, studies show that wearing masks – properly – can cut down on the spread, particularly from those who have the disease but don’t know it. The CDC now claims that mask-wearing can reduce the risk of contracting the disease.
But, even if every state did adopt a statewide mandate, the impact on the spread of the disease would likely be negligible. Our analysis of the data shows that if the rate of spread in the non-mandating states were the same as the mandating states, the total number of new cases in the past week would have been reduced by just 6%.
We’re not saying that wearing masks is a bad idea, or even that state-based requirements are an overreach.
What we are saying is that Biden’s claim that his plan would make a huge difference in the rate of new cases is entirely bogus. All you have to do is look at the numbers to understand that.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board