by Brenée Goforth
Media Manager & Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
On June 24, Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper issued a statewide mask mandate. North Carolinians have been bound to this mandate for over 100 days but never truly got a clear answer on the state’s evidence for such an order. Recently, Dr. S. Stanley Young, an EPA Scientific Advisory Board member and applied statistician, requested and analyzed the ‘science and data’ the governor and DHHS have been using to defend their mask mandate. Our Jon Sanders covered his findings in a recent research brief:
Young petitioned the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under state health bureaucrat Mandy Cohen for the oft-proclaimed “data and science” behind Gov. Roy Cooper’s extraordinary order forcing face masks on healthy people…
Eventually, he heard back. What did he get?
“I presented my opinion to Dr. Cohen and her staff. After some prodding, I heard from Mr. Fleischman, a senior official on Mandy’s staff. He provided me with another study that dealt specifically with the COVID-19 virus. Here is what I found.
The study he sent was a meta-analysis that looked at transmission of the virus. A total of 19 randomized studies were summarized. Here is what they had to say, ‘Medical masks were not effective, and cloth masks even less effective.’ They also noted that ‘….respirators, if worn continually during a shift, were effective but not if worn intermittently.’”
Wait. DHHS’s own case for forcing masks is based on a meta-analysis that finds masks are not even effective? That’s even worse than what Cohen presented to the General Assembly just before the mask mandate — uncompelling research that, upon further review, wasn’t even applicable to North Carolina.
Maybe it also explains the recent CDC finding that 85% of symptomatic people testing positive for COVID-19 had always worn face coverings (70.6%) or often worn them (14.4%), with roughly the same proportion of symptomatic people testing negative (88.7% — always, 74.2%; often 14.5%).