Mask fever is sweeping the nation again.
Los Angeles has two weeks before the possible resumption of a mask mandate. Never mind that the bay area showed last month that, once again, they don’t work.
In early June, during an uptick in COVID-19 cases, Alameda County was the only Bay Area county to bring back an indoor mask mandate.
You can guess how much good it did.
The case rate curves for Alameda and Contra Costa counties are near-identical. Because the neighboring counties are similar in so many respects, if masking policy had an impact on pandemic outcomes, one would expect to see some sort of discrepancy in the graph. San Francisco and Santa Clara had higher case rates than Alameda County throughout the current surge, including pre-mask mandate. Once the mandate was introduced, the three counties all followed the same trend line, casting doubt on whether the mask mandate did anything to curb transmission at the community level.
Of course, we already knew this from plenty of experiments over the last two years. Countries, counties and cities showed no significant difference from imposing mask mandates. The SF Gate article falls back on the argument that people are wearing cloth masks instead of effective N95s. A point that the experts selectively ignored for a year. But there’s no evidence that mask quality is the issue either. BA5 is infectious enough that the idea of prepping up stopping “community spread” is a joke. Hospitals aren’t overwhelmed so the argument for shutting everything down doesn’t work. And a slow rate of infection still means people are getting infected.
But theater doesn’t stop just because the public leaves. Public health theater is no different.