by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
Here’s a favorite scene of mine from the movie “A Few Good Men”:
DEFENSE: Your Honor, we renew our objection to Commander Stone’s testimony, and ask that it be stricken from the record. And we further ask that the Court instruct the jury to lend no weight to this testimony.
JUDGE. The objection’s overruled, counsel.
DEFENSE. Sir, the defense strenuously objects and requests a meeting in chambers so that his honor might have an opportunity to hear discussion before ruling on the objection.
JUDGE. The objection of the defense has been heard and overruled. …
LT. WEINBERG: “I strenuously object?” Is that how it works? Hm? “Objection!” “Overruled.” “No, no, no, no. No, I STRENUOUSLY object.” “Oh! Wow. You strenuously object. Then I should take some time to reconsider!”
Gov. Roy Cooper plans an update today, and at least some are suggesting he plans to force face masks on people. Let’s hope not.
Prior to Spring 2020, established research had demonstrated using randomized control trials (RCTs, the research gold standard) that face masks don’t prevent infection from respiratory viruses. Since then, however, politicized science based on novel computer modeling and observational studies not accounting for biases and confounders and some even admitting they’re to give the impression of a security they’re not actually delivering has insisted that, no, actually, masks work this time.
Also since then, Cooper’s own experience with masks mandates (see above) proved they don’t stop infections. After he instituted his face mask order last year, not even once in the 12 times he extended or tightened it against people were cases lower than when he originally leveled it.
Furthermore, his own cited research for the order could not justify the use of such extreme orders. I went through them, one by one, here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. No one in our media would dare undertake such a review.
Nor would media dare point out the obvious: forcing masks amid mass vaccination is counter to everything people were promised.
It’s even counter to what we were promised when those other promises were broken. At 63 percent of adults partially vaccinated, that’s close to Cooper’s standard of “two-thirds of adult North Carolinians have received at least one vaccine dose.” If you account for natural immunity from previous infection (i.e., the known more durable immunity), the estimated proportion of adult North Carolinians with immunity is now not only past two-thirds, it’s over three-fourths (77.5%).
Instead, families, employees, schoolchildren, small business owners, travelers, shoppers, you name it are being made to fear a return to forced masks, a new round of lockdowns, being declared “nonessential” again, and worse, possibly being banned from education, access to government services, dining out, grocery buying, and even the ability to escape this state over their vaccination status.
City Journal on August 11 published a comprehensive review of mask studies using RCTs — fourteen of them. Read the whole thing. I’m skipping to the end (emphasis added):
In sum, of the 14 RCTs that have tested the effectiveness of masks in preventing the transmission of respiratory viruses, three suggest, but do not provide any statistically significant evidence in intention-to-treat analysis, that masks might be useful.
The other eleven 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.
Of the three studies that provided statistically significant evidence in intention-to-treat analysis that was not contradicted within the same study, one found that the combination of surgical masks and hand hygiene was less effective than hand hygiene alone, one found that the combination of surgical masks and hand hygiene was less effective than nothing, and one found that cloth masks were less effective than surgical masks.
At the height of their forced-masks stridency, state health bureaucrat Mandy Cohen actually said the following, verbatim: “mask mask mask mask mask mask. Um, right. They work, they work.” Reality, however, overruled — just as established science had suggested.
These city and county leaders, school boards, university officials, bureaucrats, governors, president, and unquestioning media can strenuously object that mask orders will work this time around, but it’s not as if reality is going to change suddenly just because their politics needs it.