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Saturday, August 22, 2020

Masks: What’s the Endgame? (EDITED!--All the Links Are Now Fixed!)

As of this writing, 34 U.S. states now mandate wearing a face diaper while in public. Let me make this abundantly clear to all of the mask apologists out there: masks are NOT going to halt the spread of the Wuhan virus. Even the CDC webpage devoted to promoting the mask mandate agenda declares that masks should be worn in order to “Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 (emphasis mine).” This is stated just below the title of the page!

The second bullet point in the list below the title says that “Masks may help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others (emphasis mine).” Let me also make this clear: yes, it is likely that masks do slow the spread of the Wuhan virus. If you can recall what we heard almost daily in the spring of this year, “slow the spread” was synonymous with “flatten the curve.” John Hinderaker at Powerline summarized “flatten the curve” well:
The point of curve-flattening is to prolong the epidemic, making it last longer than it otherwise would, as you can see in the curve-flattening diagrams. That way, more or less the same number will get sick and the same percentage will die, with one exception: our hospitals will not be overwhelmed by a crush of COVID-19 cases, and so ICU rooms and so on will be available for those who need them. That was the point of the shutdowns--to flatten the curve by stretching out the epidemic.
Thus, we can see that the purpose of the masks is the same as was the purpose of the shutdowns--to prolong the epidemic. As Mr. Hinderaker (along with countless others) points out, the purpose of prolonging the epidemic was to keep our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed. However, as Mr. Hinderaker also pointed out--all the way back in the middle of April--the health care demands of the Wuhan virus were “grossly overestimated.”

These demands were so “grossly overestimated” that billions of taxpayer dollars were unnecessarily spent--in other words, wasted--on “field hospitals” that were supposedly meant to help “handle” the pandemic as states fought to “flatten the curve.” Numerous hospitals that cost tens of millions of dollars each to build never treated a single patient. Others treated only a few dozen.

Additionally, the vast majority of existing U.S. hospitals were never overwhelmed with Wuhan virus patients. However, because they heeded the rampant Wuhan virus fear mongering, and in anticipation of mass numbers of Wuhan virus patients that never materialized, and because they shut down services to all except Wuhan virus patients, U.S. hospitals suffered unprecedented, albeit self-inflicted, financial devastation.

Of course, what was clear in the middle of April is crystal clear as we approach the end of August: the U.S. healthcare system can well handle the demands of the Wuhan virus. So why are millions of Americans daily walking around--often outdoors with no one within spitting distance--or, even more perplexing, driving around inside an automobile, wearing a mask?

Much of this has to do with the fact that we continue to be bombarded daily with Wuhan virus case counts. And as was the case in early May, the numbers are almost always lacking in context. For example, the top of The New York Times’ “Coronavirus in the U.S.” map and case count page reveals that the number of “total cases” in the U.S. is “5.6 million+.” Nowhere is it stated that this is a running total that includes millions of people who were infected in March, April, May, June, and July and are no longer carriers of the virus.

Given (using the NYT’s numbers) that the average number of new daily cases of Wuhan virus in the U.S. is around 46k and that the typical infection period is about 10 days, on any particular day, the actual number of Americans who have tested positive for the Wuhan virus and are still actively carrying it is likely between 400k and 500k. Out of a nation of about 330 million people, that means, given the current data--if it can be trusted--on any given day in the U.S., about 0.12% to 0.15% of the population has the Wuhan virus. To put that in perspective, that means if you’re in an arena with 10,000 people, 12 to 15 of them would have the virus. Why are the case counts never presented in that way?

What’s more, the vast majority of those who test positive for the Wuhan virus are in absolutely no real danger. This is certainly true of the young. According to the CDC, from February 1 to August 15, of those in the birth to age 24 range, a total of 320 Americans died “from the Wuhan virus.” In almost all of these tragic cases--if not every single one--the deceased suffered from significant “comorbidities”--and thus died with the virus instead of from it. Though, as a couple of cases in Georgia have recently highlighted, in order to further the lockdown narrative, the media is trying to pretend this isn’t the case.

Regardless, there are numerous things that are far more dangerous for young people than is the Wuhan virus. For example, according to the CDC, the leading cause of death for teenagers is automobile accidents. In 2017, in the 16-19 age group alone, there were 2,364 Americans killed in motor vehicle crashes. Again, such context is also almost always missing when the drive-by media report on Wuhan virus case counts.

Additionally, when it comes to case counts, it should be clear that, as there is more testing, there will be more cases identified. Also, as we get back to normal pre-lockdown behaviors, there will be more cases. However, given that hospitals remain quite underwhelmed with Wuhan virus patients, we are now much better at treating the virus, and most of us are in little to no danger from the Wuhan virus, no one should be making policy--especially widespread mandating of masks and social distancing--based on case counts alone. Yet, these policies are rampant across the U.S., even where young people dominate the population.

Thus, the mask apologists need to be asked: what’s the endgame? When do the mask mandates go away? What are we waiting on? Why will taking them off in December or January (or February or March) be safer than now? There likely won’t be a vaccine then, thus those who don’t get the virus now will get it then (if they’re going to get it at all). For the few who require it, the hospitals then will be as capable of proper treatment as they are now, and health outcomes of those who contract the Wuhan virus will likely be exactly what they are now.

In other words, for the overwhelming majority of us, masks and social distancing aren’t necessary. The science and the data are clear: the curve has been flattened and the spread has slowed to a manageable rate. Thus, in the vast majority of the U.S., the masks need to come off, the social distancing done away with, and America needs to be open for business, school, sports, and church. 

Copyright 2020, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith and Reason.
Trevor is the author of The Miracle and Magnificence of America

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