Issues & Insights

Los Angeles Will Soon Be In Shackles Again

If trends continue, Los Angeles County will issue an indoor mask mandate by the end of the month. Officials are of course saying they’re just following the guidelines. But they have no regard for freedom and refuse to acknowledge the data that show mask mandates are useless.

It’s as if they get a perverted thrill out of holding in their hands the raw power to dictate the terms of other people’s lives.

Los Angeles County reached the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s high community level last week. Which is “​​determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.” If it remains “there for the next two weeks,” the Los Angeles Times reported Friday, “the county will reissue an indoor mask mandate with an effective date of July 29,” not even five months since the most recent of its multiple mask mandates was lifted.

Though she’s likely to deny it, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, who is not a doctor, not a physician’s assistant, not a nurse, not even a receptionist at a doctor’s office, but a social welfarist, has been looking forward to July 29 for some time.

“I do want to encourage everybody to use your masks now,” Ferrer said a little more than a month ago. “We don’t have to wait until things get much worse.”

Some data show that fatalities have risen for three straight weeks and cases for four going back to late June, and hospitalizations have been growing. But what is the relevance of the numbers? How many are in the hospital for other reasons with COVID-19 and how many are there because they are sick from the virus? Same with deaths. How many of those who tragically passed on recently died from the disease, and how many simply had it when they died from something else?

Here’s a hint:

Of those who are admitted, they’re 90% of the time not admitted due to COVID. Only 10% of our COVID positive admissions are admitted due to COVID. Virtually none of them go to the ICU. …  It is just not the same pandemic as it was, despite all the media hype to the contrary. A lot of people have bad colds, is what we’re seeing.

Brad Spellberg, chief medical officer at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center

Now, on to the point regarding the futility of mask mandates:

  • Media outlet SFGATE compared the spread of the virus in Alameda County, which returned to forced mask use in early June (before later dropping it), to the nearby counties, which didn’t. The verdict? “Regional case data provides no discernible evidence that the (Alameda County) rule, which was lifted June 25, succeeded” in slowing the spread. The rises and declines in Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Francisco counties trended right along with those in Alameda.
  • New cases per 100,000 in states with no mask mandates have tracked almost perfectly in tandem with those that required masks. In fact, maskaholic states spiked much higher during the Omicron scare than the free states, the former peaking dangerously close to 300 cases per 100,000, the latter at just over 225. This isn’t unique to the U.S., either. International comparisons produce the same results.
  • Even before the coronavirus pandemic it was understood that masking was not effective against respiratory viruses. Looking at 14 randomized controlled trials, some of which were conducted before the current hysteria arrived in 2020, Jeffrey H. Anderson, at one time director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, found that three suggested, but did not provide, “any statistically significant evidence in intention-to-treat analysis, that masks might be useful.” Meanwhile, “the other 11 suggest that masks are either useless – whether compared with no masks or because they appear not to add to good hand hygiene alone – or actually counterproductive.”

Yes, we’re familiar with the Bangladesh study that the media has used to justify mask mandates. We are also familiar with credible voices that say its claims don’t hold up to scrutiny, note that it “has been criticized for its analysis methods and for overstating its findings,” and has raised multiple red flags.

So what can Angelenos jealous of their freedom do to resist the further trammeling of liberty? Start with civil disobedience. Refuse to comply with an order that has no legitimate legal standing, though doing so wouldn’t strictly qualify as civil disobedience, since there is no punishment for defiance. Ferrer has acknowledged “we have never issued citations for people who have decided not to wear their masks,” and Deadline reports she “did not seem keen on beginning that kind of enforcement.

(Which is an implicit admission that she doesn’t believe that masks work and is issuing a mandate for other reasons, such as, we humbly posit, to satisfy health activists and blue politicians’ authoritarian urges.)

We’d also like to see lawyers interested in preserving freedom go to court to head off the mandate before it’s ever issued. While we’d prefer a lawsuit filed with the intent to keep freedom alive and to chill mask mandate fever elsewhere, there’s enough data to make a compelling case on the numbers alone.

It also bears mentioning that the mask mandate is not an ordinance duly passed by the county board of commissioners, but instead is the whim of unelected functionaries working in a government agency. It should not carry the weight of the law.

We know the argument from many that says “it’s ony a mask, just a piece of cloth, why make a fuss over something that helps us all?” But because more than a few politicians and government officials don’t consider Americans to be a free people and instead see us as subjects, forced masking is much more than that: It’s at the top of the slippery slope that leads to a wholesale loss of liberty at the bottom.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

We Could Use Your Help

Issues & Insights was founded by seasoned journalists of the IBD Editorials page. Our mission is to provide timely, fact-based reporting and deeply informed analysis on the news of the day -- without fear or favor.

We’re doing this on a voluntary basis because we believe in a free press, and because we aren't afraid to tell the truth, even if it means being targeted by the left. Revenue from ads on the site help, but your support will truly make a difference in keeping our mission going. If you like what you see, feel free to visit our Donations Page by clicking here. And be sure to tell your friends!

You can also subscribe to I&I: It's free!

Just enter your email address below to get started.


I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • “It’s as if they get a perverted thrill out of holding in their hands the raw power to dictate the terms of other people’s lives.” I&I

    That perfectly sums up the essence of the Totalitarian regime ruling Los Angeles. Aspiring to rule Los Angeles the way the CCP rules Shanghai. This city and this state are like being Alice in Wonderland and wandering down a sewer hole filled with pathological liars, numbskulls and assorted jerks in charge. Hope I&I will take a look at what the California trucking regulations will be doing to give the screwing royale to port supply chains.

  • Ferrer is complete liar. California’s own UC medical program has revealed her lies. SHe is as good a reason as any to bring back the time honored practice of tarring and feathering.

About Issues & Insights

Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

We Could Use Your Help

Help us fight for honesty in journalism and against the tyranny of the left. Issues & Insights is published by the editors of what once was Investor's Business Daily's award-winning opinion pages. If you like what you see, leave a donation by clicking on donate button above. You can also set up regular donations if you like. Ad revenue helps, but your support will truly make a difference. (Please note that we are not set up as a charitable organization, so donations aren't tax deductible.) Thank you!
%d bloggers like this: