President Joe Biden wasn’t too happy when Texas and Mississippi decided to reopen their economies and liberate their people from statewide mask mandates, calling it “Neanderthal thinking.”
But wait a minute, who’s following the science here, and who isn’t? While Biden is clearly in love with the idea of the government forcing Americans to wear masks and keeping heavy restrictions on businesses, the science is piling up showing that these measures are not very effective, if they are at all.
One Swiss group, for example, found 10 studies challenging the effectiveness of masks. One is a Danish review that compared a control group that followed social distancing guidelines but didn’t wear masks, while another group wore high-quality surgical masks. It found no statistically significant difference between the two groups.
An article in the New England Journal of Medicine, meanwhile, noted that “Focusing on universal masking alone may, paradoxically, lead to more transmission of COVID-19 if it diverts attention from implementing more fundamental infection-control measures.”
The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine noted last July that “despite two decades of pandemic preparedness, there is considerable uncertainty as to the value of wearing masks.”
Then there’s the fact, as we noted in this space back in November, that states experiencing the biggest spikes in COVID cases last fall already had statewide mask mandates in place. The Heritage Foundation drilled down the county level and found that “97 of the 100 counties with the most confirmed cases had either a county-level mask mandate, a state-level mandate, or both.”
So, it would seem to us that Texas and Mississippi have a reasonable, scientifically sound case for lifting their mask mandates, without having to worry that it will lead to a spike in COVID cases.
Score one for the Neanderthals.
What about lockdowns? The case for those is even weaker than masks.
The Foundation for Economic Education noted three scientific studies that concluded lockdowns were ineffective at stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
One, published in the prestigious journal The Lancet, concluded that “government actions such as border closures, full lockdowns, and a high rate of COVID-19 testing were not associated with statistically significant reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.”
Another from Tel Aviv University simply said “We would have expected to see fewer COVID-19 fatalities in countries with a tighter lockdown, but the data reveals that this is not the case.”
Other research determined that: “Full lockdowns and widespread COVID-19 testing were not associated with reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.” And that “a similar pattern – rapid increase in infections that reaches a peak in the sixth week and declines from the eighth week – is common to all countries in which the disease was discovered, regardless of their response policies.”
Then there’s this. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem recently noted that her’s “is the only state in America that never ordered a single business or church to close.”
“We never instituted a shelter-in-place order. We never mandated that people wear masks. We never even defined what an essential business is.”
Unlike much of the rest of the country, South Dakota’s new COVID cases peaked in November and have been declining ever since. On a per-capita basis, the state ranks below lockdown-happy mask-mandating states such as New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts in deaths per capita. Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis was pilloried for giving Floridians more leeway, has a lower death rate than 26 other states.
Score another one for the Neanderthals.
The science is also clear, as we’ve pointed out here, that schools can and should safely reopen. But you don’t hear Biden cajoling school systems to do so. In this case, science takes a back seat to the teachers’ union gravy train that finances so many Democrats’ election campaigns.
And guess what, in Texas, 91% of students are now back to in-person instruction, according to the Burbio index. In Mississippi, it’s 81.2%. But in allegedly science-loving blue states, the numbers are far lower. Only 13% of California students are receiving in-person instruction. In Oregon, 15.3% are in classrooms. Biden’s home state of Delaware is doing a better job, but still only at 59% are in school there.
What is clear in the science is that the school shutdowns are disastrous for students. As the American Institute for Economic Research notes, “virtual learning is particularly harmful to students from poor socio-economic backgrounds who do not have sufficient resources to support their learning.”
So the final score is: Neanderthals 3, Biden 0.
What Biden and his fellow leftists are worried about isn’t public health, or science, or even acting like evolved human beings. What they are really worried about is losing their ability to control people.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board